The differences between the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State Governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike might not have been resolved afterall. This is in spite of the assurances given last Friday by former Information and National Orientation Minister, Professor Jerry Gana that the two politicians agreed to set a committee within 48 hours to draw up a framework for reconciliation of their differences.
Last Friday, Abubakar and Wike met for the first time since the former appeared to have overlooked a committee report that preferred Wike as vice presidential candidate and rather settled for Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
Wike, who came second behind Abubakar in the PDP presidential primary, was upset that the candidate discarded the recommendation of the committee jointly set up by the party and Abubakar.
The crisis that decision provoked also brought about complaints that the leadership of the party is lopsided in favour of the North. At a meeting he hosted last Sunday in Abuja, Wike and his group demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, as part of their conditions for reconciliation with Abubakar. Ayu is from the North Central, while Abubakar is from the North East.
But at a meeting on Tuesday, the National Working Committee of the party passed a vote of confidence on Ayu, while the Board of Trustees (BoT) set up a committee to meet with Wike and his allies.
But Wike’s camp alleged that Abubakar was playing “a divide and rule” in the leading opposition party. They said that the former Vice President started by-passing Wike and reaching out to other prominent PDP leaders from his state of Rivers in a bid to isolate the governor ahead of next year’s polls.
To check Abubakar, Wike is said to have tightened his grip on the Rivers State chapter of the party.
Also, he has refrained from extending invitations to PDP national leaders for the commissioning of projects across the state this week, but rather extended the gesture to some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress and other parties.
While Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu was invited to inaugurate the Orochiri-Worukwo flyover, a former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, is expected in the state on Monday for the inauguration of the Ogbum-Nu-Abali Eastern Bypass dualised road.
Other invitees are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who will inaugurate the House of Assembly quarters on Friday and former Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who will commission the dualised Azikiwe Illoabuchi Road.
On Sunday, Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi paid a visit to Wike in Port Harcourt reportedly for a partisan discussion, which focused on 2023 general elections, and unity among political leaders in the South to ensure power shift to the region.
Sources said the visits to Wike by APC governors have unsettled the PDP national leadership.
PDP BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibril said efforts were being made to resolve the Abubakar/Wike rift.
Abubakar has allegedly been having secret meetings with some Rivers State PDP leaders, including former Senator Lee Meeba, former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Austin Opara and former Governor Celestine Omehia.
It was further gathered that the recent dissolution of the Governing Council, Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic and the removal of Meeba as its Chairman was part of the fallout of the alleged meeting with Atiku.
The governor, it was gathered, also took some drastic steps to reorganise the leadership of the PDP in local government areas where their former leaders showed signs of disloyalty.