Fresh details have emerged about the meeting between the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and select members of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees when the latter visited him in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Acting BoT Chairman, Adolphus Wabara; former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki; ex-Kogi State Governor, Ibrahim Idris, and four others were in Port Harcourt earlier in the week in search of peace following a lingering crisis that showed no sign of abating.
However, there are indications that the BoT might advise the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign as all entreaties made to Wike so far have fallen on deaf ears.
A former national officer of the party said Wike, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved governors, left the PDP BoT members speechless after narrating all that had transpired, including how the PDP standard bearer had disappointed the Southern bloc of the party over and over with many unfulfilled promises.
The PDP chieftain, who served in the Uche Secondus-led executive, told our correspondent that the governor vowed not to have anything to do with the PDP Campaign Council unless the embattled national chairman resigned from office.
Before Atiku selected Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate, Wike was said to have nominated a former governor of a South-South state to serve as the vice-presidential candidate but the party’s standard bearer reportedly insisted on the Rivers State governor.
The source said, “Wike told them Atiku disappointed him. He said he didn’t bargain for vice president; it was Atiku who begged him. When he eventually agreed and he expected them to work something out, he came back to say he had picked Okowa.
‘’But when Atiku chose Okowa, he didn’t come back to them (Wike and other governors) to say anything. And the speech he made when he was unveiling Okowa was very disappointing,” the ex-PDP official quoted Wike to have said.
Continuing, the party chieftain said, “Wike also told them that Atiku came to London and assured him that Ayu would resign to balance things. He also complained about the gang-up and sharing of positions which they had already done. Ayo Fayose and Dan Orbih were present during the meeting.’’
According to him, “By the time he told them all that, they (BoT members) were speechless and they were convinced that Wike had been wronged. He told them how he took care of the party when all of them left and how he never abandoned the party for a day.
“After hearing all that transpired from Wike, they asked him the way forward. Wike replied that the only way forward was for Ayu to resign and that if Ayu does not resign, nobody should talk to him about PDP again. He vowed not to leave the party but at the same time he would not work for Atiku.”
The PDP chieftain also said Wike told the Wabara-led reconciliation committee how Atiku’s loyalist insulted him publicly and the former vice-president failed to caution them to order.
“Wike complained that there was a time Sule Lamido, Babangida Aliu and Tom Ikimi—all Atiku loyalists—were abusing him and Atiku refused to checkmate them until it got out of hand,” he added.
Meanwhile, a member of the BoT Reconciliation Committee, Shuaibu Oyedokun, has disclosed to The PUNCH that a meeting of the advisory body would hold as soon as the committee’s report is ready.
Having visited all the governors in Wike’s camp as well as Atiku and his running mate, Oyedokun said the committee was now set to compile its report, preparatory to presenting it to the BoT.
“After compilation, we will submit our report to a larger BoT meeting which will consider it before submitting it to the NWC. The working committee will in turn present it to NEC (National Executive Committee),” Oyedokun said.
In a separate interview with The PUNCH, former Jigawa State Governor and NEC, Lamido, came short of ruling out an immediate solution to the crisis saying, “It (reconciliation) is a continuous process up to the elections and even beyond.”
Like Lamido, a former National Vice Chairman (South-West) of the party, Eddy Olafeso, wants Nigerians to be patient with the party, stressing that the crisis would become a thing of the past in no distant time.
On when NEC was likely to receive the report of the reconciliation committee, Olafeso stated, “When they are done, they will give their report to the NWC and from there to NEC for deliberation. The party is one and we have established positions. We are on course in the desire to reconcile all members of our party.’’
Wike de-recognises Omehia
Meanwhile, the crisis between Wike and some of his estranged political friends took a new twist on Thursday as the Rivers State House of Assembly passed a motion delisting Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state.
Following the development, he is required to refund all the financial entitlements he had received, estimated at N600m benefits and N96.5m monthly pension as of September 2022.
Omehia, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives; Austin Opara, and a former lawmaker representing Rivers South-East senatorial district, Lee Maeba, are staunch supporters of the PDP presidential candidate in Rivers State.
The trio had fallen out of favour with Wike when they paid a solidarity visit to Atiku after he secured the party’s ticket as the presidential standard bearer for the 2023 elections.