Following what party leaders termed as conflicting signals from Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, on the crisis in the party, an uneasy calm appears to be infiltrating the Peoples Democratic Party, or PDP.
After a number of violations of a gentleman’s agreement between the camps of the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Wike, requesting them to refrain from making divisive remarks, SwageNews learned yesterday that party leaders are unsure on how to tackle the problem.
In the wake of the PDP presidential primary and attempts to remove the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, Atiku and Wike have had a tense relationship.
This occurred on the same day when Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State, urged Peter Obi, a presidential candidate for the Labour Party, and Rabiu Kwankwaso, a candidate for the New Nigeria Peoples Party, to set aside their ambitions and join the PDP.
Governor Wike, however, advised Makarfi yesterday to quit disparaging him and concentrate on making sure he wins Kaduna for the PDP in the elections in the following year.
To find a solution to the conflict between Atiku and the governor of Rivers State, the leadership of the PDP in Edo State has urged the party chairman to urgently arrange a meeting of all PDP governors.
Atiku’s loyalists stand their grounds, will not bend
When questioned by reporters some of former vice president’s supporters criticized the governor’s remarks, saying they seemed purposefully distorted to leave everyone guessing.
The leaders believe that Atiku should call the Rivers governor’s bluff by “cutting our losses, move on and concentrate on building the party ahead of the 2023 elections.”
It is heartbreaking that this subject has drawn out for so long, said a party leader who asked to remain anonymous out of respect for the accord.
“It was agreed the last time that all parties desist from further making inflammatory remarks.
“It was borne out of this that Atiku caused a statement to be issued by his media team urging his supporters to bridle their tongues but this act of goodwill is not being returned in kind. This is quite unfortunate.
“I must say at this point that Governor Wike has made up his mind about what he wants to do. Bending over backwards to accede to everything he has asked for will be shooting ourselves in the foot.
“Personally, I rather we cut our losses, move on and concentrate on building the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
“We just made significant inroads in Kano with the defection of former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and his teeming supporters. These are the kinds of things we should be celebrating.”
Another party source said: “My reading of the situation is that there are other local issues in Rivers politics that are being elevated to the national.
“Comments being made by the governor, with due respect to him, appear deliberately skewed to keep everyone guessing. The truth is we cannot wait forever, something has to give.
“The truth is that whichever decision you take in politics, not everyone will be happy or accept it for one reason or another. Our presidential candidate has demonstrated good faith.
“However, it will be disastrous for anyone to contemplate a leadership change at this time, the issue of anyone removing Iyorchia Ayu as national chairman before the election does not arise.”
Atiku still open to reconciliation
In response to the question of whether Atiku is still open to making amends with Wike, the source stated, “Atiku wants to reconcile with Wike but he is in a dilemma and Atiku’s dilemma is that Ayu was one of those who helped him win the ticket.
“Atiku wants to reorganize the party but Ayu and his loyalists are resisting the move, insisting that the former Vice President must protect and stand for them. He is confused. He knows what Wike can do and he doesn’t want to lose Wike but the interests around him want him to damn Wike.”
Olafeso is optimistic about a conflict resolution
Former Vice Chairman (South West) of the PDP Dr. Eddy Olafeso expressed confidence in the party’s future and predicted that the current conflict will soon be resolved.
Olafeso said: “There is no war in the PDP, it is alignment and realignment and communication that is still in progress. I don’t think our party has any crisis, the majority of the people are on the same page. Our concern at this moment is the state of the Nigerian nation and the possibility of providing answers to all the myriads of problems that are facing Nigeria.
There is ongoing communication and that communication will be concluded. However it is, there is no place in the whole world where you don’t have such disagreements but we have an internal mechanism to resolve that. At the appointed time, it will be resolved.”