The political feud between the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar seems to have some deep t.by making amicable resolution difficult to achieve.
This was in spite of the strenuous efforts by the leadership of the PDP and its presidential candidate to paper the cracks arising from the presidential nomination and the vice president pick including last week’s meeting in London by former vice president Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike.
It was gathered that Governor Wike may have resolved to scorn any and every moves to pacify him to support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar thus, determined to continue to deploy the present hide-and-seek tactics even after the reconciliation meeting in London.
Specifically, Wike was quoted to have frequently told his close allies particularly the trio of Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Samuel Ortom of Benue and Ikpeazu of Abia State that t. is no way he can reconcile with Atiku when he is actively hobnobbing with his political enemies that include former National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara, Senator Lee Maeba, Mr. Celestin Omehia, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State among others and their supporters.
Wike was believed to have also openly complained that Atiku has openly accepted them into his fold as a way of proving to him that he has other people that can work for him outside himself.
It was further gat.d that it was to make thiings difficult for Atiku that Wike decided to increase his demands to six points in their London meeting, top of which is the removal of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu as National Chairman of the PDP and insistence that he should be allowed to produce a replacement.
Wike, it was gathered equally demanded a signed commitment from Atiku to serve for only one term just as he wants to be allowed to also nominate principal officers of the National Assembly and some ministers if PDP wins the 2023 presidential election among others.
A source privy to discussions with his allies before the meeting, quoted Governor Wike to have also said that; “Atiku wants me to support him, yet he has surrounded himself with my enemies both in Rivers State and elsew.. Is Uche Secondus not with him? Godwin Obaseki, Austin Opara, Celestine Omehia, Lee Maeba, and all those fighting me are in his camp, yet he needs my support”.
“We will place one hurdle and condition after another until the election time. If he does not accept my nominated candidate to replace Ayu (the Party national chairman), another round of controversy would brew up. “I know that he (Atiku) will not be able to accept or meet all the conditions. The bottom line is that he will not want to do away with those people and once the conditions are not met, this stand-off will continue because I cannot support him with those working with him and working against me,” Wike was quoted by a . close to him at the London meeting.
Curiously, Governor Wike, who championed the election of Prince Secondus as PDP National chairman after the court sacked Senator Modu Sheriff was also the arrowhead of Secondus’ removal last year apparently to pave way for his ambition as presidential candidate of the Party. Wike and Secondus are both from Rivers State.
It was also gathered that most of the demands Governor Wike is making are smokescreen to conceal his real anger of the fact that Atiku is in league with those he presently perceives as working against him especially the election of the Accountant General of the Rivers State, who he anointed as governorship candidate of the PDP for Rivers State.
However, checks by our correspondent indicated that while Atiku is desirous of genuine peace, he and his close allies are in the know of some of the moves by Governor Wike as the presidential candidate is believed to be deploying his experience in politics and as a good Party man to bend backwards to accommodate all interests since a political party is a mass movement in which everybody is considered imported as against a closed shop or club with determined membership.
A chieftain of the PDP who does not want his name in print owing to the plea by Atiku for members of the Party to stop commenting on the Wike’s matter, said that it is not possible for the PDP flagbearer to suddenly disconnect from longtime associates and friends with some dating back to 30 years, all because another member says; “a friend of my enemies is my enemy”.
He further said; “Recall that Wike posted on his . and Twitter handle shortly after the presidential primaries in Abuja stating; I made a vow to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that I will support whoever emerges from the PDP Presidential Primaries. And I am not going to go back on my word. We cannot abandon the PDP, we will be fully supporting Atiku Abubakar, why has the music changed just few days after? Personal interest? I think that majority of party members are presently more concerned about rescuing Nigeria first before any personal interest” he said.
It was also gat.d that while the trio of Governors Makinde, Akume and Ikeazu are part of the Wike’s team, they are however not too comfortable with the hard stance of the Rivers governor as stretching it further may have consequences for their own election as well.
Governors Ortom and Ikpeazu are contesting for the Senate whose election is taking place same day and time with that of the presidency thus, may find themselves in a tight corner on how to separate their election from that of the presidential candidate.
Similarly, Governor Makinde is going for a second term and the outcome of the presidential election is most likely going to have an effect on his re-election either way it goes.