A few days into the official commencement of political campaigns, Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it will not allow some factions to deter its programmes.
This is as top chieftains of the party condemned the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and his faction over their actions lately.
Naija News reports that Wike, and some PDP stakeholders, including the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, have been calling for the resignation of the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
Wike, who has been aggrieved by PDP leadership following the conduct of the party’s national convention months ago, had insisted that Ayu must resign from his position before he will back the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
In his submission, Governor Makinde, who spoke during a meeting with party stakeholders in Ibadan, insisted that the demand of southwest leaders is that Ayu should resign to let another person take his position from the region.
PDP has, however, finalised plans to inaugurate its presidential campaign council on Wednesday, September 28, turning blind eyes on the withdrawal of some party big wigs and prominent campaign council members led by Wike.
For no reason, the party told journalists that it will not delay its programmes.
Wike Appropriating The Attribute of God To Himself Not Necessary
At a different interview with journalists over the rising crisis in the PDP ahead of the February 2023 election, party chieftains rejected the calls for Ayu’s removal as the chairman of the party.
The party chieftains told The PUNCH that Wike’s consistent rejection of Ayu and other demands by the Rivers State governor was unnecessary and also beyond his capacity.
According to one of the chieftains, Wike is acting like he is God.
Naija News understands that the statement comes from a National Working Committee member, Timothy Osadolor.
Reacting to Wike camp’s withdrawal from the campaign council, Osabolor said their actions would not affect the party’s chances in the polls, adding that the governor and his people are just members among thousands of others.
“Sometimes the butterfly thinks he is a bird but he can never be a bird. Wike thinks he is the all and all of the PDP but he is not. Appropriating the attribute of God to himself is not necessary and it is far and above his capacity. Nigerians are not interested in who lost the primaries but those who have the solutions for the myriad of problems bedevilling the country,’’ the media platform quoted the party chieftain as saying.
On his part, former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, said, “Whatever the party says, that is our position.”
Feeling less worried about the crisis, a former governor of a North-West state who pleaded for anonymity urged the party chairman, Ayu to remain calm, stressing that the vast majority of PDP members are behind him.
“The chairman was elected, not appointed and he was elected for a fixed term. He cannot be removed simply because a few powerful stakeholders want him out. So, I advise him (Ayu) to remain calm. This challenge will be over in no distant time,” he assured.
Another member of NEC, Dr Eddy Olafeso, echoed the position of the party spokesman, calling for respect for the party’s constitution in the move to find a common ground.
He said, “There are thousands of prominent people in our party. Yes, those who pulled out of the campaign council are very important to us but the party is more important than individuals. The truth is, the party must not be trampled upon in a haste to please a number of people.
“We know the genesis of what is going on. People are trying to cause divisions in the party at this moment and this is very unfortunate.”
Speaking on whether the party would appoint replacements for Wike, Makinde, and others who pulled out of the campaign council, Olafeso said: “The party will not wait for anybody. We won’t encourage absolutism and unilateralism. Our campaigns will commence with immediate effect as soon as the council is inaugurated next week.’’
It Doesn’t Work That Way Mr Wike
On his part, former presidential aspirant and publisher of Ovation International, Chief Dele Momodu admonished the Wike-led group to embrace forgiveness and desist from making Atiku look like a weakling.
“Forgiveness is nothing new. It is recognised in every religion that when people offend you and come to you, which I think Atiku has done, the rest is within the party and the aggrieved members.
“My own worry is that we seem to be putting so much pressure on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as if he can unilaterally remove the chairman of the party. Even if he (Atiku) should do that, a lot of us will feel vilified. He cannot do it (remove Ayu) but all he can do is speak with Dr Ayu and we don’t know what is going on between all of them.,” the party chieftain said in an interview on Arise Television programme.
Responding to a question, he noted, “I know nobody will want to be seen in that light. Like anytime Governor Wike says you must go, you must go; it becomes a psychological thing as well for the party. It doesn’t work that way.
‘’Some of these things we have discussed privately with some of our party members and we believe that nobody should attempt to make our candidate look so weak or like someone that just can be pushed around.
“I mean, can I go to Governor Wike’s state and just tell him to go and sack the state’s party chairman? He doesn’t have the power to do so. It can’t happen. So, that is my position.”