Why Wike, others may dump PDP

By Tunde Joshua (Politics Editor) and Chris Ezeonoh (Port Harcourt)

Despite open confession by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to back the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, at the polls in 2023, facts emerged that the Rivers State helmsman and his allies may dump the political grouping after all.

A former information minister, Prof Jerry Gana, who raised the possibility in Port-Harcourt, while flagging off construction of the flyover at Mgbuoba Road, said stakeholders loyal to Wike may together with the governor dump the party and support any other presidential candidate to win the 2023 election.

This is despite the reconciliatory process initiated in Port- Harcourt to iron out differences between the two politicians. Gana, who was very blunt made the comments before the flag-off and hinged the condition for doing so on failure by the party leadership to resolve the lingering crisis in the opposition party and the inability to reconcile Wike with Atiku.

He urged Nigerians to help rescue the nation from the brink of collapse as a result of alleged lack of good governance by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The party chieftain assured that the crisis rocking PDP notwithstanding, the major opposition party remains the most credible and dependable platform to rescue Nigeria.

He, however, warned that Wike and like minds will not hesitate to team up with a trusted platform in 2023 should the peace talks in PDP fail. Gana said: “ we want to assure you that the problems with the PDP, we shall resolve them and if it does not resolve, this leader, the governor here, together with all of us, we shall tell the people of Nigeria where to go. They are not babies.”

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The former Information minister had earlier predicted that with age on Wike’s side, the governor will “someday become president of Nigeria.” He stressed that Wike was disappointed by some situations leading to and after the PDP convention but with God on his side, he will still lead the country someday. Commending Wike for his giant strides in infrastructural development in the state, he said: “look at what this governor has done.

You know what was happening in this state. The governor gave good and focused leadership and now you are in peace. We want to transfer this peace to the rest of Nigeria.

It is possible and it must be done, therefore I like to assure the good people of Rivers State and Nigerians that they should give that opportunity to the People’s Democratic Party so that we can be at the center and give a government that cares for the people because the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government. “If you cannot secure the people, you cannot provide peace and stability, then you are not a good government because governance is about people’s security, people’s welfare, people’s future, people’s everything that is really important to them.

“Therefore, don’t make the mistake of wasting your vote, don’t let it go to the other side. You know who I mean. They have failed woefully, embarrassingly failed, therefore don’t even go there. Gana further knocked the APC administration for allegedly ruining the legacies left by the 16 years of PDP governance.

He went further to highlight the many alleged woes of the APC administration. “I want to appeal to the Commander-in-Chief together with all the leaders at the top that the people of Nigeria deserve much more than this.

We cannot continue to lose our security operatives. Nigeria’s military forces are more than enough to defeat these bandits, they are more than enough to be able to do it, but they need the kind of qualitative leadership that will give the kind of order that is proper, that will provide the resources that will provide the kind of equipment they need to deliver.

“Let me also appeal that the national economy of Nigeria is about to collapse. Unless something is really done urgently, the national economy is about to crumble. Inflation is at a very high level, food prices rising every day and the common man is suffering.

The economy is not doing well at all and therefore we appeal to the managers of this economy. “Even before we take over, for the few months that are left, there are a number of things that ought to be done so that the national economy does not collapse. We need to invest in production. Nations grow riches through productivity.

You cannot harvest if you don’t produce. “The economy is not producing, because insecurity is not allowing people to go to the farm. Therefore, we appeal that this matter will be taken very seriously in terms of growing the productivity of the nation in the industry and in other vital areas. Nobody should allow the economy of Nigeria to collapse.”

And amid moves made to reconcile Atiku and Wike, the governor has allegedly opened another front in his battle against the former vice president’s perceived supporters in the state. In the heat of the cold war between h the duo, the governor in a state wide broadcast had threatened to seal off hotels and eateries found to be harbouring ‘cultists’ and ‘criminal elements’.

The move was seen as a ploy to descend on the opposition and anybody who may seem to disagree with the governor. The Trumpet gathered that some filling stations and hotels in Port Harcourt belonging to persons close to a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara have been allegedly sealed off by police operatives from Government House.

Opara, a former close ally of Wike is said to have fallen out with the governor over his support for Atiku along with other high profile members of PDP in the state like Senator Lee Maeba. Apparently confirming the fears of observers on his new battlefronts and plot to clamp down on perceived political opponents in the state, Wike on Friday reechoed his threat to deal with anyone that might be linked with any association with ‘criminals’ in the state.

The governor who issued the threat at the flagoff of the 12th flyover at the Mgbuoba, Ozuoba -Ada George Road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, in Port Harcourt stressed that his administration has invested hugely in achieving the prevailing peace, and nothing would be tolerated in returning the State back to the dark days of insecurity.

Wike said: “Now, let me tell anyone who cares to listen, whether you’re in PDP, APC, you’re in SDP, you’re in Accord or any other party, if I catch you trying to breach the security in this state, you’ll go in for it. “I will not allow anybody to destabilize this State. We have suffered insecurity and God has helped us together with security agencies to maintain peace.

For me, whether it is true or not, I must make sure that I take action.” Wike said, sadly most people do not take the warning issued in his last state broadcast seriously. According to him, he had warned that any hotel or event centre where criminals, cultists are allowed to gather to plot the breach of peace would be demolished. “So, if you know they’re using your hotel, or they’re using your drinking joint as where they’ll be holding meetings, think twice now.

“There is no amount of propaganda, if you like go to social media that they’re clamping down on you, that’s your business. I will not allow anybody to destabilize this state, because we have suffered insecurity and we have spent money. “You can’t begin to arrange for cultists to meet in your event centres, or in your hotels.

Pray that I don’t have any hint about that, if I do, I will bring down your hotel, I will bring down the event centre and I will arrest those people found there and I will prosecute them, heaven would not fall.” Wike pointed to how committed his administration has been to providing the best for Rivers people by developing the State with quality infrastructure.

The governor stressed that this is the first time in Nigeria an administration that has less than 10 months to the end of tenure, is still awarding contract and commissioning projects. “It has never happened anywhere and it can only happen by the grace of God, with us here. While others are thinking of what they will use to campaign, we don’t have to think about that.”

The governor said it is not in doubt that Rivers is currently the only state that the PDP is sure will deliver its gubernatorial candidate in the 2023 election. This is because, Wike said, Rivers people are already at home with the PDP and its commitment to the development of the state.

“That is why we are proud to say this is the only State, for now that PDP can be sure of returning its governorship candidate as governor. He explained that one of the reasons that the PDP is delighted to have chosen, Mr. Siminalaye Fubara, as its governorship candidate, is because he is aware and knows what is going on in government. “Because you must be part of the system to understand the system to continue from where we are going to stop. Not people who just have the idea of wanting to be governor because they want to syphon our money.

Thank God that we didn’t give them the ticket.” Meanwhile, the much awaited peace talk kicked off in Port- Harcourt Friday afternoon as representatives of both Atiku and Wike camps met behind closed doors. Details of the meeting were not provided but two of the PDP chieftains at the meeting expressed hope that the process which was initiated at the meeting will achieve the aim of uniting the two leaders and restoring peace to the party ahead of next month’s kickoff of campaign activities.

The Trumpet authoritatively gathered that part of the issues discussed includes the demand for inclusivity by the Atiku camp. The team loyal to the presidential candidate, it was learnt wanted Wike’s team to back-pedal on the demand for the resignation of the national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.

Atiku argued that the status quo should remain with the party leadership position while promising that if elected president, his government will accommodate all stakeholders while Wike’s other demands will adequately be taken care of. The Atiku team, it was further learnt argued that any attempt to remove Ayu will have ripple effects as the position of the national secretary, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu will be threatened.

It was suggested that Ayu will automatically relinquish the seat if the party’s candidate wins the presidency because both positions cannot reside in the northern part of the country. On the other hand, Wike’s team considered it as not well thought out rigidness of Atiku in not coming down to personally pacify Wike but vowed to let go of the demand for Ayu’s removal if the national chairman personally visits Wike to mend fences.

Speaking on behalf of the Atiku camp, the governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri said they are fully aware of the expectations of Nigerians that PDP should regain power in 2023 and are fully prepared to approach the election as a formidable party. Fintiri said “yes we are aware that Nigerians are anxious and waiting for us to take over in 2023. “We have met as leaders and members of the same political family and have open discussions, it is a work in progress and we will continue.”

Speaking in the same vein, former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko simply said “this is a reconciliatory process. There are issues discussed and we will further discuss” Others at the meeting were; Aliyu Indabawa, former PDP governorship candidate in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke.

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