There is palpable tension in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) considering Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s constant parley with leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 general election.
Despite claiming to be a true believer in PDP, Wike’s body language is tilting towards supporting the presidential candidate of the ruling party, Bola Tinubu.
For months now, Wike has implicitly remained opposed to the presidential candidate of his party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar despite efforts by the party to pacify him over the emergence of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as PDP’s vice presidential candidate.
According to him, the former vice president failed to fulfill the promise (zoning formula), leading to the current crisis rocking the party.
Wike who insisted that Iyorchia Ayu must step down as the national chairman of the party said “This fight, we will fight it to the end”.
The Rivers Governor said the issue at hand is that of justice and fairness, stressing that having produced the presidential candidate of the party, the North should not also hold on to the chairmanship of the party.
Following this, Wike alongside four other governors (the PDP G5 Governors) withdrew from the Presidential Campaign Council set up by Atiku.
On his part, Atiku believes Ayu cannot be forced to resign as the party’s National Chairman since the process for his removal must be done constitutionally as against the proposition by the Wike’s camp.
“On the calls for the resignation or removal from office of our national chairman, however, I must reiterate what I have said severally in public and in private; the decision for Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr. Ayu and, neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him.
“As to the calls for the removal of Dr. Ayu from office, however, I will state that, as a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, and our party being one set up, organised and regulated by law and our constitution, it is my absolute belief that everything that we do in our party must be done in accordance with, and conformity to, the law and our constitution.
“If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal.
“In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate this removal from office, has already passed a vote of confidence in him,” Atiku said.
Wike, however, has been meeting APC chieftains amidst the wrangling in the PDP. Recently, he invited APC’s former National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole to commission a flyover project he built in Rivers State.
In October, Wike endorsed APC flag-bearer in Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his second term in office over his party’s governorship candidate in the State, Olajide ‘Jandor’ Adediran.
The Rivers Governor in August 2022, also invited Femi Gbajabiamila, an APC lawmaker who doubles as Speaker of the House of Representatives to commission the official residences of the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
He also met APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu in London in the same month, with details of the meeting still sketchy till the time of filing this report.
Wike seems to be unperturbed by the opinion of people about his romance with APC despite his strong criticism of the party over the last 8 years. Should he continue with this perceived anti-party, the chances of the main opposition winning the 2023 election may get slimmer, if not worse at the end of the tunnel.