BY IKECHUKWU AGADA
Barring any last minute change of mind, the law of retributive justice may likely play out in the PDP following indications at the weekend that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his men have perfected plans to coronate Mimiko as National Chairman of the yet to be floated ” New PDP” in the likely event that Atiku refuses to drop Ayu.
It was gathered that Governors Wike and Ortom left the country on Friday for a destination in Europe and may be joined by Governors Seyi Makinde and Okezie Ikpeazu respectively for a brainstorming session. Atiku may likely receive the Jonathan treatment where some stakeholders created new faction of the party, if the crisis in PDP is not properly managed.
The Wike camp has been having crisis of confidence with the PDP and the Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, since the emergence of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as Atiku’s running mate. The aggrieved party leaders have continued to insist on Ayu’s replacement with someone from the South to create a North/South balance in the PDP, ahead of the 2023 polls.
Findings show that Atiku’s stance on Ayu’s resignation has unsettled the Wike camp and they have vowed to make a big political statement that will shake PDP. All entreaties to appease Wike by Atiku and his men met brick walls.
Further findings show that they have resolved as one of their options to float “New PDP” and install Mimiko as the National Chairman in their bid to cause change of guards. It was gathered that the Rivers governor is not only pushing for Ayu’s resignation but also the removal of the National deputy chairmen to create room for Mimiko’s emergence or they will achieve it in the new party.
A reliable source said: “They are unrelenting. They are exploring different options to force Ayu out. But they would prefer the national chairman to just resign quietly. They already pencilled down Mimiko as replacement.
This is why Mimiko is with them.” When reminded that Ayu’s removal and his replacement outside the provision of the party’s constitution could lead to litigation that would further derail the PDP, the source said: “The Wike camp doesn’t care. Their interest is to make a statement that they can’t be ignored. They want to dictate what happens,” he said.
Wike had last week, announced that he has no plan to quit the PDP over his stand-off with Ayu and the party’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, noting that he would remain in the party and continue his fight for ‘inclusivity’.
The camp of the Rivers State governor, which include Governor Ortom; Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor Ikpeazu, Governor Makinde amongst many others last week announced withdrawal from the PDP Presidential Campaign Council pending the replacement of Ayu as Chairman of the opposition party.
However, while the PDP chairman has repeatedly said that he would not resign, Atiku has maintained that he cannot force Ayu to quit his position, except through constitutional means.
The Camp believe that Ayu would eventually be forced to throw in the towel. Stakeholders in the PDP have continued to kick against the move to remove Ayu before the 2023 polls, saying it would not be in the best interest of the party.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, told the media that conversations were on at different fora to resolve all contentions in the party. Ologunagba expressed optimism that in no time all PDP leaders would close ranks for the task of rescuing the country.
“Reconciliation is a marathon and the party will continue to reach out to every stakeholder. And that is ongoing. Consultations are going on different levels. We believe that there is need for every member, every stakeholder to be involved in the mission to rescue Nigeria. So, conversations are going on. And it will continue and that is the essence of reconciliation. There is no cause for alarm. We assure Nigerians that at the end of the day the party will be united for the sake of Nigeria and to ensure that the rescue mission begins in earnest,” he trumpeted. When proded further to know if the Wike team are ready to shift grounds in any form, he said that in the event they can”t install Mimiko as replacement, they may accept the deputy national chairman (North) Umar Damagun, to take over as acting chairman until after the 2023 general elections.
He said: “They may accept the option of Ayu going and the deputy national chairman North becoming acting as national chairman until after the election, as last option.”
Dissecting the PDP crisis, this writer and analyst believe that the Wike camp is backed by some latent powerful forces who are giving them oxygen from behind the scenes obviously to settle scores with Atiku and scuttle his mandate. Toying with the idea of suspension or expulsion of the Wike Camp will be counter-productive and may ignite serious political reaction that will consume PDP.
As campaign resumes in the coming days, all eyes are on major political parties to run issue-based campaign devoid of bitterness and calumny.