Single term for Atiku, Ayu’s removal top PDP peace deal

Europe meeting not partisan, to salvage Nigeria, Wike claims

Consultation continues, says Ortom

By Tunde Joshua & Chris Ezeonoh,

A positive step towards resolving the lingering crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was taken during a parley between its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, The Trumpet has authoritatively gathered.

Atiku was said to have given in to terms presented at the meeting held Thursday at Carlton Hotel in London.

Top of the demands by Wike, it was learnt, was for Atiku to do a four- year single tenure if he wins the presidency.

The second equally tough demand was the repeated call for resignation of PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.

But, according to a source, Atiku put a caveat that he will further discuss Wike’s terms with his team, while a consolidated meeting between the duo will be held soon. The former Vice President was at the meeting with Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, who leads his reconciliation team.

A source in the party told The Trumpet that Atiku could not have unilaterally acceded to demands by Wike without consultations.

He said: ” the presidential candidate still has to consult despite the fact that he held the meeting personally with Wike.

“Don’t forget that the two sides raised a negotiating team which met last week in Port- Harcourt. He (Atiku) needs to brief his team on whatever demand Wike put on the table and decisions have to be taken before the next meeting. So, it cannot be true to say he totally gave in to Wike.”

The source said since negotiation is ‘give and take’, the issue of the agitation for Ayu’s removal could also be negotiated.

He said: “the call for the national chairman’s resignation could be resolved in the larger interest of the party. There are delicate conditions to be considered. Our major competitor, the APC is far ahead of us in constituting their national campaign council while we are still neck deep in crisis.

“Calling for Ayu’s removal now is dicey. If he is removed today, do we have the time on our hand to convene a mini-convention for the purpose of choosing his successor? If we should adopt other option of allowing either of the deputy national chairmen to take over in acting capacity, it will further aggravate the crisis.

“If the deputy chairman North is allowed, the problem of balancing between north and south continues and if we ask the deputy chairman south to take over, then the national secretary, who is also a southerner has to step down.

“You see that we will continue in a circle of crisis. So, it better that the Wike team soft-pedal and not be rigid on the call for Ayu’s removal.”

The Trumpet, however, gathered Wike might have plotted another plan to remove Ayu by instigating his sympathisers within the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to institute a probe of the party’s finances under the chairman.

The pro-Wike members of the NWC are said to be calling for an external auditor to probe how much was got from sale of nomination forms ahead of primaries in May this year and how the funds were expended.

However, neither Wike nor any of his allies gave an insight into the meeting with Atiku on their arrival Friday in Port – Harcourt.

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom simply told journalists that reconciliation is not a one-off process but ongoing.

On the Europe meetings, Ortom noted that they met with prominent persons in the past few days because of their belief that Nigeria is in distress and requires concerted effort to rescue it.

He stated that they had fruitful talks with those they had met and it was beyond partisan politics, because well-meaning Nigerians need to work together in ensuring that Nigeria survives.

He remarked:”For us, we are looking at the larger picture. Nigeria today is in distress. It is about what can we do. No man or woman alone can get it right for our country.

“We are looking at how we can harness ideas and put ourselves together to ensure that we get out of the present challenge we are in Nigeria today.

“From top to bottom, consider what has happened from 2015 and where we are today. So, what we are doing is a concern that we have for our country, Nigeria.

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“This is beyond partisan politics. We are looking at how we can come together and find a way of ensuring that Nigeria survives. Nigeria is on drip, Nigeria is on oxygen and it is about how can we get out of this.”

Wike, on his part, said the meeting held with presidential aspirants of other parties like Peter Obi of Labour Party and Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress as well as former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was were attempts to chart a new course for the country.

He said his team is more interested in a better Nigeria, and they are consulting widely with those who mean well for the country.

The Rivers governor noted that all is not well with the country and they are seeking remedies that will restore enduring hope in Nigeria.

He stated: “I can confirm that this is the first time as a team that we are meeting with presidential candidates. We met with the presidential candidate of APC and we met with our leader, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

“We also met the presidential candidate of Labour Party. We also met with our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it’s worth, consultation is ongoing.

“Whatever we are talking about is for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. It is not parochial and tied to one person or group of persons. We believe that with what is going on, it will be for the interest of Nigerians at the end of the day.”

Wike decried the situation where standards, training and competence have always been traded for mediocrity.

The governor said leadership should not be about one individual and the interest of his family, but everybody.

“Consultation is still ongoing. Never mind some people who do not believe in the existence of this country,” he said.

Wike, thereafter, fired back at a former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, for dismissing his political relevance.

He said: “leadership is not about you and your family. Leadership is about everybody. It’s unfortunate that we are in a country now where a man finishes eight years as a governor and brings his own son as a governor too and as member of National Assembly.

“It’s only in this part of the world that you can see that, when we are talking about poverty everywhere. These are people who do not mean well for this Nigeria.

“The only identity they have in this country is religion and ethnicity, nothing more. It’s either, I’m a Christian or I’m a Moslem, I’m a Fulani or I’m an Igbo. Nigeria cannot move forward except they think it will be them. That’s where we are.

“We are in a country where someone with primary school certificate can be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. That tells you how bad this country has become.

“But with our consultation, all these will be a thing of the past. No amount of intimidation or blackmail will deter us. We are determined to right the wrong.”

Wike team member and Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, emphasised that they are on a mission and determined to find a way of rescuing Nigeria.

He pledged that they are mindful of what society to bequeath to the present generation, their children and grand children.

“And this is a country with great potential and we have to protect it well. We think that we need to engage across board.

“We are also looking at speaking with civil society organisations and those who have ideas, with Nigerians in the diaspora. All the resources available in this country have to come together at this time to see how best we can move Nigeria forward,”the Abia Governor stressed.

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