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We’ll resolve Atiku, Wike feud, BoT chair assures

By Leo Sobechi, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja), Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna)
19 August 2022   |   4:23 am
Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin, yesterday, called on members of the party to remain calm and refrain from creating bad blood and confusion over the crisis rocking PDP.

PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State governor Nyseom Wike

• Wike, Atiku camps meet again today in Port Harcourt
• I’m not going to look for anybody, if you need Rivers votes, you must come home, says Wike
• BoT plans follow-up meeting Wednesday, says Jibrin

Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin, yesterday, called on members of the party to remain calm and refrain from creating bad blood and confusion over the crisis rocking PDP.

Jibrin assured that all efforts were on to reconcile Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as he noted that what is happening in the major opposition party should not be seen as a problem but a misunderstanding, which will be resolved amicably.

The BoT Chairman solicited support for the reconciliatory committee set up to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party, particularly Wike.

He also charged the two parties to adhere strictly to the party’s Constitution in their attempts to make their grievances known.

“I wish to call on all members of PDP and all Nigerians to remain calm. At this period leading to the 2023 elections, we should concentrate on how to win all positions to be contested and seriously adhere to the provision of the party’s Constitution.

“My strong advice is for us to give strong support to the present reconciliation committee set up to resolve all issues. Thereafter, the BoT, the highest advisory organ of the party, will give more encouragement leading to greater success of PDP,” he said.

As the bipartisan reconciliation committee set up by Atiku and Wike meets today, Jibrin said the political recriminations that trailed PDP’s presidential primary and nomination of presidential running mate could not be compared to what he described as “the ugly situation” in the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).

He, therefore, explained that the BoT plans a follow-up meeting with former presidential aspirants and aggrieved members next Wednesday to smoothen out all outstanding issues and initiate steps to constitute campaign structures.

Speaking to The Guardian on what to expect from today’s meeting and the way forward for the party, the BoT chairman said the Port Harcourt meeting would put paid to all claims and counter-claims.

While accusing APC of amplifying the differences between Atiku and Wike, Jibrin declared: “I want to assure everyone that all plans are on ground to bring all members together as one and united family.

“Of course, what is happening in PDP can never be compared with the situation in APC, especially their plans in trying to bring religious division with issues of Muslim-Muslim President and Vice President.”

He added that after next week’s meeting, the BoT would accordingly come up with strong recommendations with the special committee for the reconciliation of aggrieved members, especially Wike.

MEANWHILE, Wike has again talked tough on the crisis, saying those interested in Rivers votes must come to the state. He said the state would no longer be Father Christmas, doling out votes without negotiating Rivers’ interest.

Apparently referring to the unsuccessful moves for reconciliation, Wike said Rivers remained strategic in any election and that he would not go and look for anybody.

Wike’s reconciliation team was in Port Harcourt, Rivers capital, on Monday but waited in vain for members of Atiku’s committee, who failed to turn up for the crucial talk.

Wike said: “I believe that they must know us because we have what it takes to deliver. They must come. I’m not going to find anybody. You must come here. You can’t take 600,000 votes away from my local government or 3.2 million votes from my state just like that.”

He insisted that the days were gone when supporters offered their votes and did not get anything in return.

“If we were Father Christmas before, we won’t be Father Christmas again? You must tell me what is there for me if I should vote. So, nobody should bother himself. At the appropriate time, we will talk to our people and our people will understand. If you say we don’t exist, we will tell you that you don’t exist.”

He spoke yesterday at the flag-off of the 11th flyover project, which was performed by former Cross River governor, Donald Duke, at the Rumuola- Ikwerre Road-Rumuokwuta Roundabout in Obio Akpor Local Government Area.

Wike stressed that Rivers is too strategic politically to be ignored by any serious-minded politician, who desires to win an election.

He harped on the futility of the claims by those who professed to know the PDP presidential candidate, yet were not at home where votes could be mobilised to secure electoral victory.

He said: “This local government alone, Obio Akpor, where I come from, we registered not less than 600,000 voters. This local government beats two states in their electoral strength. So, we are not a state that you can take for granted.”

The governor added that politicians in the state were renouncing membership of their political parties in droves to join the Rivers PDP.

Recall that the former spokesman of APC in the state, Chris Finebone and other APC stalwarts, last week, resigned from their party and joined PDP.

Wike explained that the ongoing collapse of the membership strength of other political parties in the state is an electoral advantage for the PDP.

He said: “We have collapsed every other party. Everyday, people from APC are joining our party. We are here doing that and some people are in Abuja; ask them how many persons they have brought to the party.

“It’s not to say I’m supporting our candidate. How many people have you brought to help your candidate? We are here everyday bringing people to our party and you are there following your candidate from Abuja to Adamawa. Is it there you’ll win the votes? Come back home.”