Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and four other aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, on Sunday met in Enugu following the visit of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to Wike’s private residence on Thursday in Abuja.
The other governors in attendance were Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and the host, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
The meeting is coming three days after Atiku held a private meeting with Wike where the presidential candidate pleaded for his support ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku met with the Rivers governor as part of his renewed efforts to resolve the lingering crisis between him and the five PDP governors led by Wike.
However, the Abuja meeting ended in a deadlock as Wike reportedly insisted that there would be no peace deal until the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, resigned from office.
Wike insisted that Ayu must resign if his camp must reach a truce with the party’s flag bearer but Atiku said he had no power to remove the chairman.
The PDP presidential candidate said if the chairman must be removed, due process must be followed by the party’s constitution.
Recall that Wike and some of his colleagues and allies boycotted the inauguration of the party’s presidential campaign council in Abuja last Wednesday.
Others who also boycotted the event include Prof Jerry Gana; former governors Ayo Fayose, Jonah Jang, Donald Duke and Olusegun Mimiko. A former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, was also absent.
According to PUNCH, findings on Sunday revealed that in continuation of their determination to remove the PDP national chairman from office, the five aggrieved governors of the party led by Wike met in Enugu, the Enugu State capital for a strategy meeting.
Speaking with The PUNCH, a member of the PDP National Working Committee said in confidence that the governors met solely to strategise on how to make the party and indeed, Nigeria better.
“The big five governors are meeting, strategising for a better PDP, a better Nigeria where probity, equity and justice reign supreme,” he said.
Pressed to disclose the specific agenda of the meeting, the NWC member who is one of those who recently refunded N28.8m into the party’s account stated, “They are united for a purpose to ensure Ayu is sacked for the unity of our party,” insisting, “Ayu must go.”
The governors, he noted, deserved special praise for championing the cause of justice and equity, not only for the PDP but for Nigeria as a whole.
“A leader on his own said he was going to quit if a northerner emerged as the PDP’s flag bearer. A northerner emerged but he did not want to go. It is a pity that some have chosen to shut up but these ones (governors) are insisting on the right thing to be done; we have to congratulate them.
“PDP is for all. No one, however powerful, owns it more than others. This is the message they are trying to pass. We will get there,” he maintained.
Also, a frontline member of the aggrieved governors’ camp, who also confirmed the meeting, revealed that they met to review the conditions given to Atiku during his meeting with Wike in Abuja on Thursday.
“The meeting in Enugu is to review Atiku’s visit to the Rivers governor in Abuja. They had told him at the meeting that Ayu must go and that the condition is not negotiable. They also gave him some other conditions.
“Atiku agreed that Ayu would go but due process must be followed to avoid a constitutional crisis. So, the aggrieved governors are meeting to fashion out plans for Ayu’s exit and also review some of the conditions they gave to Atiku. They will also look at some of the things Atiku said at the meeting with Wike,’’ he explained.
The National Vice-Chairman, South-East zone of the PDP, Chief Ali Odefa, could not be reached on the phone on Sunday but a reliable source, who works with him, said, “Yes. It’s not a lie. Four governors alongside Wike were here in Enugu for a crucial meeting. The purpose of that meeting we don’t know yet.”
Reacting to the development, a former National Auditor of the PDP, Raymond Nnaji, described the game the governors are playing as extremely dangerous, adding that if they pulled the party down, it would equally affect them individually.
He said, “The governors have candidates they will put in office, otherwise they will have a problem. All these things they are doing is just a waste of time. If PDP fails in the national (election), all of them will fail. It will have a bandwagon effect; there is no way they can make changes now.
“Ugwuanyi, for instance, is the senatorial candidate for Enugu North, there is no way he can decide to go to another party or support another party now.”
When asked why they are not supporting the PDP presidential candidate, Nnaji said, “They are just playing games; that is the way I see it. They are looking for a way out of their problems because they have created problems thinking that they will make the changes but it is not working. So, if they pull the house down everybody will lose, including them.
“So, the meeting in Enugu is nothing but to play games. I believe they want to show that they are still intact. The party shouldn’t be afraid of their meeting. Let them continue to meet.”
The governors were said to have equally considered the proposals offered to Wike by both the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, and Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi but could not immediately confirm this, PUNCH reports.