IKPEAZU: I’m not leaving PDP, just concerned about South East
As controversy continues to trail the activities of Governor Nyesom Wike of River State and three other governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has said that he has no intention of leaving the party. Ikpeazu, who spoke in a telephone interview, yesterday, said that what was important for him was for the PDP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to decide on how they are going to include the South East in the scheme of things within the party.
Ikpeazu who stated that his party was willing to vote the PDP in the February 23 presidential election, said that as of now, the PDP has not made clear what positions are available for the South East, should the party emerge victorious in the 2023 election. Ikpeazu, Wike, Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State have formed a quartet of governors who have met Atiku, the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi at different times in political negotiations. They are believed to be working against Atiku and are negotiating for better deals within and outside the party.
Ikpeazu clarified further that although the quartet have engaged in different discussions with other parties, his focus remained on the PDP and how the South East would be accommodated in a favourable way after the elections.
According to the Governor: “Forget all talks of leaving the PDP. I am not leaving the PDP and I don’t think other governors are planning to do so. But the point is that the South East was denied tickets of the presidency in both the PDP and APC. That leaves us unsure of where we are going, what roles we will play in after the 2023 elections. That is my concern. That is what I am fighting for. Our votes are for the PDP if we receive assurances of our position in 2023 from the PDP, where I belong in the first place.
“It is not about playing hard with the PDP. It is about knowing what we will be given after the elections. These are things we need to sort out early before we commit to anybody. It is not enough for us to vote for the party. It is about where we are going to be positioned after the election. You don’t run blind in politics. Yes, truly, we are not happy with the outcome of the primaries but that does not mean I am planning to leave the PDP. That does not mean my faith is shaken in the party. But it is about working things out properly. That is my personal concern. The South East cannot continue to be treated as an outsider in the politics of the country. If we don’t have the presidency and the Vice presidency, we are asking for something better, something good for the zone. We can’t just vote or deliver our state for the fun of it. We must be sure of why we are voting.”
Ikpeazu gave indications that the discussions were continuing and that the position would be made clear in the coming days. He said the governors are continuing their negotiations with both the party and Atiku. But he said his support should not be taken as a given because the modalities would have to be clearly worked out.
“I said it on Thursday in Umuahia and I insist that I am not leaving the PDP. My concern is the South East post elections. We deserve better treatment.”