The war of words between the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and his party’s national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu is not abating. And it may not any time soon.
Only yesterday, Wike threatened to assist the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lose the 2023 presidential election. He spoke at the commissioning of a road in Omerelu community of Ikwerre Council.
The governor was responding to Wednesday’s comments by Ayu that those asking him to step down were children.
In an interview with BBC Hausa, Ayu had said: “I have not violated any rule; in fact, I am working to bring reforms to the party. I am truly not bothered by the unnecessary controversy being generated. When we started PDP, these children were not around. They are children who do not know why we formed the party. We will not allow any individual to destabilise our party.”
However, in his response, Wike described Ayu as a ‘greedy’ man who was only after his interest. He said it was obvious that Ayu wanted the PDP to lose in 2023 and he was willing to assist him achieve that.
According to Wike, “you can imagine what power can do. You can imagine the ingratitude, how people can be ingrates in their lives. I thought as chairman of a party, which wants to win elections, your business is to bring peace to your party.” He continued, “your business is not to divide your party, nor to show arrogance to your party.
“Yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party. The children brought you to make you chairman. Ayu, you were impeached as Senate President. Ayu, you were sacked by President Obasanjo in his administration as minister twice. Arrogance cannot take you anywhere. Now we have seen that you don’t want the party to win election, we will help you.
“Ayu, you said you founded this party, but you left the party in 2007. You founded a company, you left the company, people stood and brought up the company to what it is today, you have no moral right to still come and claim that you founded that company, you left with your shares. You abandoned PDP at one time, moved to another party and therefore cannot have equal stake with those who stayed back to rebuild the party.
“You must show integrity, as you sell our party to Nigerians that we want to take over power. You must therefore convince Nigerians that we have the integrity to do so. You are the driver that will drive the vehicle to convey us to go our destination. If the driver has no integrity and cannot show honesty, how do you convince Nigerians? If you tell Nigerians something and cannot do it, is it when you enter into power that you will do it?”
Wike explained that Ayu had, by self-volition, promised to relinquish his chairmanship as a Northerner if an aspirant from the North emerges as presidential candidate of the PDP. The governor told Ayu to be a man of honour and keep his promise by relinquishing that position.
Performing the inauguration of the project, former Southwest Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Olabode George, declared that the issue of the national chairman must be addressed before commencement of campaign for 2023 general elections.
According to the life member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Ayu’s utterances show he is ‘immature’.
“When a serving national chairman of our party is calling elected governors children, does he think that children don’t grow? We need to watch our language. It shows to me that it is him who is immature,” he said.
George aligned with Wike that Ayu should vacate his position for a Southerner to occupy. “We are not begging for it; we demand it, because it is our right,” he declared.
He argued that it is unfair that the PDP chairman; presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; and PDP BoT chairman, Walid Jibrin, are all from the North.
“It is an antithesis and against the norm and culture of PDP for those positions to be occupied by persons from one section of the country. Party members from the South are already feeling alienated. PDP is not a private company. So, before we start the presidential campaign at the end of this month, the national chairman must go to the South. That is what Governor Wike is saying and as a life member of the BoT of our party, I support this position 100 per cent.”
George also called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo, erstwhile military Head of States, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, to channel whatever agenda they have towards saving Nigeria’s political dispensation in 2023 by appealing to Ayu to immediately resign and allow a candidate from the South to step in.
George, while reacting to the meeting among the trio held in Minna, Niger State, this week, said: “Such agenda, especially by Chief Obasanjo, should focus on how to save the soul of PDP, the platform that made him president in 1999 to 2007. Generals Babangida and Abubakar should also be concerned because of the roles they played previously in the party.
“The three former leaders should realise that the biggest threat confronting Nigeria today is the arrogance of power, which some people from a section of the country within the PDP are demonstrating. It is totally unacceptable for the Northern stakeholders to produce the presidential candidate, national chairman, BoT chairman and other sensitive positions. PDP will lose the 2023 election if it dares goes into this election with the current structure.”
MEANWHILE, PDP has berated the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for parleying with former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying that the move will not help the candidate next year.
PDP, in a statement by the party’s national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, were trying to clean up their past misdeeds against Nigerians, by having a meeting with the former president.
Ologunagba added that Tinubu and the APC vilified the Jonathan administration in the build-up to the 2015 election but are now distancing themselves from the abysmal performance of the Buhari-led administration, arguing that the APC candidate is trying to hoodwink Nigerians, by using photo opportunity with the former president ahead of next year’s election.
He said: “Nigerians are scandalised over the disgraceful and hypocritical attempt by Tinubu and other APC leaders to distance themselves from President Muhammadu Buhari over the abysmal failure of the Buhari-led administration in which they are principal actors.
“Nigerians have not forgotten how Tinubu callously vilified Dr. Jonathan, spewed hate against his administration and reportedly funded a near riotous protest, which was inflamed by concocted economic lies, propaganda, and false statistics to discredit the Jonathan-led PDP administration.”
Ologunagba added that “Nigerians can equally recall how Shettima, as governor of Borno State, sabotaged and frustrated Jonathan’s administration in its effort to curb insecurity in Borno.
“What is expected of APC leaders at this moment is to apologise unreservedly to Jonathan, the PDP, and Nigerians for the life-discounting situation they have foisted on our nation in the last seven years. After that, they should quietly quit the stage, take valedictory pictures with terrorists, political thugs and election riggers since they cannot have any space among well-meaning Nigerians,” the PDP said.
AMID the crises rocking the PDP, it is set to unveil its campaign council. And as a prelude to the unveiling of its campaign council, the meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) is being planned to hold next week.
The PDP, in a press conference addressed by Ologunagba, made it clear that all party leaders were concerned about how the party could win the 2023 general elections to enable it rescue Nigerians from the current socio-economic decay.
Ologunagba stated that issues of insecurity, economic woes ravaging the country are more worrisome.
According to Ologunagba, the task of rescuing Nigeria from the socio-economic decay is a subject that all leaders of the party had agreed on.
He disclosed that in a matter of days, the PDP would announce its national campaign council, which would be comprised of members from all segments of the party.
Ologunagba also said that the defection of many from APC to the opposition party across the country had confirmed the resolve by Nigerians to strengthen the PDP for a change in leadership next year.