Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike shunned a reconciliation committee by the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to pacify and woo him and other aggrieved members of the party.
The initiative was instituted by Atiku in order to mend broken walls in the party and win the 2023 presidential election.
PDP landed in another crisis after Atiku chose Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.
Wike, Okowa and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom had appeared before the screening panel set up by the PDP to nominate a vice-presidential candidate to the PDP presidential flagbearer.
Okowa was nominated by the PDP presidential candidate after rumours earlier claimed that Wike had been selected by the party advisory committee as the vice-presidential candidate.
Findings indicated that Wike was dropped because the PDP feared he might work against Atiku’s ambition following his loss as the party presidential candidate and running mate to Atiku.
Signs that the PDP might run into stormy waters became pronounced with the defection of some of Wike’s supporters from the party in the last 24 hours.
Aside from the resignations of two allies of the Rivers State governor – a former minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe and an ex-commissioner in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua, a mass exodus of party members are said to be looming.
Sequel to the ominous signs in the party, Atiku was said to have constituted a team to appease and fully bring back Wike into his campaign council, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a PDP chieftain who was privy to the decision said, “Atiku wanted to tell Wike about his choice of Okowa one-on-one but then, he heard that Wike had returned to Rivers. That clearly showed good faith. Even though Wike was not the selected candidate, Atiku wanted to accord him respect by letting him know before the news got to the public.
“Atiku has set up a reconciliatory committee to reach out to Wike and mend the cracks. Atiku understands the need to go to the 2023 elections with a united front. Everyone will be pacified. Not only Wike but every aggrieved person within the party.”
But a PDP chieftain in Rivers State and former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbomna Nwuke, described the Atiku reconciliation committee as a contradiction.
Speaking on Tuesday, he said, “On one hand, somebody says he (Wike) is one who talks too much, who probably is uncontrollable. And then, on the other hand, you want him to help your cause. You want victory and you think he can contribute to your victory. Is that not a contradiction?”