The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is not ruling out the possibility of last-minute reconciliation between Governor Nyesom Wike and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The hostility involving the Rivers helmsman and the former Vice President, who has kept his cool, started shortly after the May 2022 special convention in Abuja.
A strong contender, Wike refused to take his loss to Atiku lightly as he unleashed a series of tirades against “our enemies”, a veiled reference to the winner and associates.
The vociferous politician has used every platform – flag-off or commissioning of projects, the media, interviews, public gatherings – to attack PDP leaders.
Reiterating his stance on power shift to the South during a speech last November, Wike informed his supporters that he would, in January, announce the flagbearer they should vote for on February 25.
The governor repeated the comment in December with a vow to go round the country to campaign for any of Atiku’s opponents he aligns with, declaring “nothing will happen”.
“All of you who have been in suspense…saying all kinds of things, abusing me, wait, January is here,” Wike said while commissioning a flyover in Port Harcourt.
Speculations are rife that Wike, accused of anti-party activities, is supporting Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, though some presume he prefers Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP.
Months after his boast, the former Minister of Education is yet to openly endorse a candidate less than two weeks to the presidential election. The PDP is optimistic about a peaceful resolution.
“Talks are not done on the pages of newspapers, 24 hours is a lifetime in politics,” National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba told DAILY POST Sunday night.
The former House of Representatives member noted that the state of the nation since the APC assumed power far outweighs personal interests, urging citizens to oust the ruling party.
“Our candidate has made it clear that he is open to reconciliation. What is at stake is beyond individual interests, it is the country’s interests. We must come together and clean this mess.
“People are going through a lot…insecurity, no cash, no fuel. All these happening under a party that came to defraud Nigerians. The crisis is complicated by bad policies; this is not what we asked for.
“They printed money, we don’t know how they did it, no adequate information; now the money is not in circulation. What happened? They approved naira redesign but the new notes are not available.
“Are they not the people..their party…keeping the money? There are reports of about N22.5billion allegedly hidden in a Government House (in Northwest). The PDP believes Nigeria is in a bad shape.
“So, regarding reconciliation between Atiku and Wike, we will continue to have conversations,” Ologunagba stressed.
Wike finished the 2022 Abuja contest as the runner-up after Governor Aminu Tambuwal stepped down for Atiku just before voting commenced at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium.
The Sokoto helmsman, who currently heads the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, is Director General of PDP Presidential Campaign Council, PCC.
Intriguingly, at the 2018 convention in Port Harcourt, the former Obio/Akpor LG Chairman supported Tambuwal who likewise finished second behind the Wazirin Adamawa.
After the outcome of the last primary, Wike and loyalists started a cold war with Atiku and the PDP leadership led by former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu.
The ex-Minister of Internal Affairs remains the National Chairman despite G5 governors’ initial opposition to a Northerner occupying the seat after another Northerner won the presidential ticket.
Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) met variously in France, Spain and the United Kingdom, a voyage ex-diplomats criticised.
The governor is also at loggerheads with former ally and Ayu’s predecessor, Uche Secondus for siding with Atiku and his camp.
“We will take every might we have. All of you going to Abuja to hold meetings with our enemies…I’m going to finish you to the last,” he threatened at an event.
In response, Secondus, who last September accepted Atiku’s appointment as a Technical Adviser in his campaign, averred he would not bow to Wike.
“Wike you cannot crush anybody. I cannot fight or join issues with you, only God can crush,” the former PDP National Chairman said in a statement.