Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said he has no issue with the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
He said he only has issues with the party’s national chairman’s position, insisting that Senator Iyioricha Ayu must step down for a southerner.
Wike stated this after Atiku rescheduled his campaigns to allow fresh envoys dispatched to Rivers to placate the governor to ensure he becomes involved in the simmering party dispute.
The Wike group, which is made up of five governors and other key party figures, had avoided the campaign council because Iyorchia Ayu, the national chairman, would not step down.
Atiku and the campaign train were scheduled to visit Kebbi State on Wednesday and Zamfara today (Today), according to the campaign schedule that was available to the public.
However, due to the party’s increased attempts to entice Wike’s camp to support the Atiku project, the campaigns for the two states were been postponed.
On Thursday, while hosting Cross River State PDP candidates for governor, senator, the House of Representatives, the House of Assembly, and local government party chairmen at his private residence in Rumueprikom, Rivers, Wike said attempts to reach an amicable resolution to the crisis rocking the PDP had been thwarted by “rent seekers” in the party.
The governor claimed that no one could persuade him to reconsider his position that Southern Nigeria should be given the PDP’s national chairmanship position.
The governor explained that some vested interests, whom he described as “hyenas and rent seekers,” have remained obstinate and opposed to justice, fairness, and equity in the party during the meeting, which was attended by the party’s South-South national vice chairman, Chief Dan Orbih. This has led to what appears to be an unresolvable crisis in the party, the governor said.
“We have finished presidential primaries, we have a presidential candidate. Is Wike saying remove the presidential candidate? Is Wike saying remove the vice presidential candidate? So, what are you begging me for? All I am saying, and I will continue to say is that you have taken the president, give us (national) chairman.
“Nobody wants to speak the truth. If I am saying remove the presidential candidate, if I am saying remove the vice presidential candidate, then you will say why is he doing this.”
“He (national chairman) said, if the presidential candidate comes from the north, he will resign , which means he has had this in mind. Now, the thing has come to reality, now resign, no. And people are saying go and talk to Wike.
“I’ve accepted the presidential candidate, I have accepted the vice presidential candidate, what’s the problem again. You, fulfil your part. Let the South have something, that is all I’m preaching. You cannot have presidential candidate, national chairman, director general of the campaign.”
According to Wike, it is hypocritical for some people in the PDP to criticise the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, while supporting that a particular region of the country should retain the presidency for another eight years.
He maintained that for the sake of holistic peace, PDP should adhere to the tenets of its constitution, which explicitly recommends that when a presidential candidate emerges from the north, the national chairman should be from the South.
He said the quest for the chairman of the PDP to be zoned to the South will persist until justice, fairness and equity prevail in the PDP.
“This is period that power game is being played. If you don’t have it now, forget it. If anybody tells you, let (Iyorchia) Ayu resign after election is conducted, then you are a foolish person. This is the time decision is being made. This is the time the presidential candidate, national chairman and the leader of campaign will sit, when election is won in February, before the president is sworn in, decisions would have been made.”
The governor disclosed that he has commenced full blown politicking ahead of the 2023 general elections, adding that those who want to undermine him and his allies will be doing so at their own peril.