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PDP Crisis: After Failed Reconciliation Bid With Wike, Atiku Moves On

pdp crisis after failed reconciliation bid with wike atiku moves on
pdp crisis after failed reconciliation bid with wike atiku moves on
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Pending a dramatic change of events, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has moved on with preparations for the 2023 election after failing to reach a truce with the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike-led camp.

This is coming on the heels of reports that the Rivers governor, along with his counterparts in Oyo, Benue and Abia, are again in the United Kingdom waiting to hold meetings with rival presidential candidates who they could support instead of Atiku, the flagbearer of their party.

Reports of the negotiations between Wike’s camp and Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have however started to unsettle governorship candidates of the APC in Benue, Abia, Rivers and Oyo.

The APC candidates who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday through their spokespersons and state party officials expressed doubt that the presidential candidate of their party would rely on opposition governors in his campaign rather than them.

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Meanwhile, the PDP is expected to hold its much anticipated National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week to ratify the party’s presidential campaign council ahead of the September 28 flag-off of campaigns.

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It was learnt yesterday that the party intelligentsia which had stalled most of its plans because of the Atiku/Wike rift has gone back to the drawing board to re-strategise in the face of emerging reality that the reconciliation process might not work out.

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A party source told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the reason why the PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, went on the offensive last week against Wike and others was because of Atiku’s resolve to move on.

Ayu insisted on completing his four year tenure instead of to resign as demanded by the Wike camp, noting that as of when he joined others to form the PDP in 1998, the governors were still children.

Wike had in turn described Ayu as being ungrateful to them for supporting his emergence as chairman, warning that they will help PDP lose the 2023 elections.

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The party source however added that the party is mindful of the Wike group seeking to reprise the 2015 scenario where some party leaders stayed back in the party but worked for the then opposition party.

He said, “We are getting prepared to head into the elections with the mindset of certain scenarios. We are mindful of the options before the Wike camp, they have the option of dumping the party, staying put and working against the party, and remaining indifferent to the party activities.

“We don’t see the likelihood yet of the governors leaving the party but we are mindful of the possibility of a repeat of the 2015 scenario where some PDP leaders worked for the APC.”

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When asked if the prospects of sanctioning the governors for anti-party activities might come up, the source said, “That’s a different issue altogether but events are still unfolding.”

Meanwhile, Atiku met yesterday with governorship candidates of the party from across the country.

The former vice president, alongside his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, met with the candidates at his residence in Asokoro, Abuja.

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Those in attendance were governorship candidates from Kaduna, Plateau, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, Kano, Sokoto, Delta, Yobe, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kwara, Benue, Borno, Ebonyi and Zamfara states.

The meeting was held behind closed doors at the Abuja residence of Atiku.

A source at the meeting told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the presidential candidate urged the candidates to close ranks and work for the success of the party in their domain.

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The source who did not want his name in print said, “The whole meeting was a way for the presidential candidate to assure the candidates that there is no cause for alarm and that the party is in course to win the election.

“He understands the impact the recent misunderstanding within the party has had among party leaders and so he decided to hold this meeting as a way of rallying the party to victory”.

Atiku’s meeting with the candidates comes after the party leadership had last week declared that it was set to unveil the campaign council.

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In an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, the PDP national public secretary, Hon Debo Ologunagba, had said the party cannot be held down by any individual.

“This party respects every member of the party. The party even Governor Wike agreed that Nigeria is the issue. This party is PDP and not one man’s party,” he said.

Disclosing that all the organs of the party are working towards one goal, Ologunagba said, “We must be conscious of every interest so that we don’t miss it. We are carrying everybody along.

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“We are gradually getting to our destination. We have differences, we don’t have a crisis. We have a disagreement of choice. No crisis in PDP, we have differences, which is human nature.

“We need to come back together to rescue the party. Leaders and stakeholders of the party are united on this. The party is solid and moving ahead with its programmes to rescue the nation”.

Some of the names being touted to emerge as the party’s director general for the election are Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal and former Senate president, Bukola Saraki.

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It was learnt that some party leaders are considering a southerner as campaign DG to douse the notion that the party is being run solely by the North.

While the Oyo State governor Seyi Makinde, was earlier being considered for the position, it was learnt that one of governors from the South South, not Wike, is also being looked out to head the campaign.

Another source said, “The challenge is that since the impasse within the party started the governor has remained quite indifferent to what is happening within the party. He was also tipped for the running mate position but it didn’t work out. So since then he has adopted a passive approach to what’s happening in the party.”

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This Is Not Personal – Makinde

The leadership of the PDP in Oyo State however declared that the interest of Governor Seyi Makinde in the party’s crisis was not personal but for the progress and development of the party, especially at the polls.

The party’s public relations officer, Dr. Akeem Olatunji, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the criss became necessary for the party’s success at the 2023 general elections.

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Noting that it was not an APC matter, he said there was no way for both governors Wike and Makinde to be working for the interest of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.

According to him, the crisis is targeted at strengthening the party’s chances by blocking all loopholes and other means through which the opposition can defeat the party.

Olatunji, who noted that major political positions were zoned to the north, stressed the need to balance the positions with the southern zone in a view to garnner support from the electorate in the south.

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He argued that this would be beneficial not only to the party’s presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku but all the contestants on the platform of the party and also enhance its chances at the polls.

Also, the APC spokesman, Olawale Sadare, who described the report that Tinubu might be in support of a second term for Makinde as insinuation, said the party’s presidential candidate was a party man to the core.

He said Tinibu cannot work for Makinde unless other parties would be willing to support his presidential ambition.

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Sadare added that Tinubu was not only working for the party at the poll, but for all contestants under the platform of the party.

Only APC, Not Ortom Can Mobilize Support For Tinubu In Benue – Fr Alia

Back to the negotiations between Wike and Tinubu, the APC governorship candidate in Benue state, Fr. Hyacinth Alia has said only the APC and its candidates can mobilize support for their presidential candidate.

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Reports emerged that Wike, Seyi  Makinde of Oyo, Samuel Ortom of Benue and Okezie Ikpezu of Abia were willing to support the candidacy of Tinubu in exchange of the former Lagos governor’s backing for PDP governorship and senatorial candidates in  their respective states.

Kula Tersoo, the head of media for the Alia campaign, told LEADERSHIP Sunday yesterday that his principal and state party officials were not aware of any negotiations between Tinubu and Ortom.

He said Alia is the candidate of the APC and they believe Tinubu is an experienced politician and would not do anything to hinder his presidential campaign in the states.

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On negotiations and meetings, he said they are rumours.

The APC in Benue, Tersoo added, has no reason to seek clarification from the party headquarters on the alleged meetings between their presidential candidates and opposition figures.

Tonye Cole Upbeat Of Tinubu’s Support

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In Rivers State, the APC has said its governorship candidate, Architect Tonye Cole, enjoys the support of the party’s presidential candidate, Senator Bola Tinubu, in spite of the fact that he is holding clandestine meetings with Wike

Acting state publicity secretary of the APC, Comrade Darlington Nwauju, disclosed this yesterday in an interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday in Port Harcourt.

Nwauju said President Muhammadu Buhari recently declared that he will support only candidates of the party in the 2023 general election, pointing out that he doesn’t expect Tinubu not to toe same line.

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He said, “You heard what the President said some few days ago that he will not support any candidate out of the APC candidates. So, that is it.

“The president is the leader of the party as far as the APC is concerned. So, every other person that is operating under the party will toe the line of the president.

“I also read a statement that was issued by the presidential candidate supporting and endorsing what the president said.”

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