Chief Adolphus Wabara, the newly appointed Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees and former Senate President, has begun critical moves to save the main opposition party from impending collapse.
As a result, he is leading a delegation of the PDP BoT comprised of former governors, ex-deputy governors, ex-ministers, and other top party chieftains to meet with three of the PDP governors who are upset within 48 hours.
The meeting is intended to appease the disgruntled governors and lay the groundwork for future negotiations that will halt moves by ruling All Progressives Congress governors to woo PDP governors to their side as the race to the 2023 election heats up.
After its presidential primary election, which produced former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its candidate, the PDP has been embroiled in a major internal crisis.
Governor Wike Nyesom of Rivers State, who finished second to Atiku in the primary, accused the process of being rigged and demanded that the party’s chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, step down to make way for a candidate from the South.
Following the primary, Delta State governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s selection as Atiku’s running mate is said to have enraged Rivers State governor, who was reportedly eyeing the vice presidency.
Ayu has insisted that he will not resign, and the development has further polarised the party, with Wike and some disgruntled governors making the exit of the PDP chair a condition for supporting Atiku in the 2023 election.
Already, some APC governors and their presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, are reportedly courting governors to join the ruling party.
Wabara stated that he would lead the PDP BoT team to meet with the disgruntled governors within the next 48 hours.
“We are beginning our moves by paying official visits to some of our leaders who claim to be dissatisfied.”
“Within the next 48 hours, we will meet with about three governors to hear their concerns and convince them that what matters is that we will win in 2023.” For the time being, I’m avoiding press releases and interviews unless I have something important to tell Nigerians, my party’s supporters, or the rest of the world.
“You’ll hear from me later.” But we will begin consultations and intervention tomorrow, and we will meet with the three governors in 48 hours.”
The PDP BoT met with Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Monday.
According to a press statement obtained later from the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State governor, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Wabara’s visit to the governor was intended to ensure the party’s victory in next year’s elections.
According to him, the BoT wishes to investigate the problems in the PDP, hence the decision to move around to call on governors and other stakeholders of the party in order to ensure the party’s victory in next year’s elections, while maintaining that the PDP has a conflict resolution mechanism to handle its problems.
Following the meeting’s executive session, Ikpeazu and Wabara spoke to journalists.
Former governors of Enugu and Kogi states, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, were members of the PDP BoT who were part of the delegation. Eric Acho Nwakanma, former deputy governor of Abia State; Saminu Turaki, former minister of special duties; Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun, former national deputy chairman of the party; Hajia Zainab Maina, former Minister; and Dr Esther Uduehi are among the others.
Ikpeazu was quoted as telling the BoT delegation that if the PDP is to win the presidential elections in 2023, it must muster the courage to make decisions that will stabilize the party.
The governor promised to assist the BoT in resolving the party’s problems in order to ensure the PDP’s victory in 2023.
The governor emphasized that the “PDP must remain angry and hungry for power,” adding that the party must correct the mistakes that led to its defeat in the 2015 election.
George is enraged.
However, Chief Bode George, a former Chairman of the PDP’s Board of Trustees, has stated that peace has yet to return to the party because key issues fueling the party’s crisis have not been resolved.
In an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday, George revealed that Walid Jibrin, the immediate past Chairman of the PDP BoT, was forced to resign and was replaced by Wabara, describing last week’s vote of confidence in Ayu by the party NEC as “shenanigan.”
He was responding to questions about why he had not spoken out since the PDP primaries and whether peace had returned with the decisions made at the most recent NEC meeting.
“That is why I said I won’t release anything until I see all the plans,” George explained, “because in politics, we like them to resolve issues amicably.” But if it deviates, I’ll react accordingly.
“I am not convinced that peace has returned to the PDP.” All of their shenanigans from last week aren’t going to work. How many people attended? The northern Peoples Democratic Party outnumbered the southern Peoples Democratic Party. Where has the national PDP gone?
“I left the meeting when people were making arrogant remarks.” I felt very uneasy because instead of telling the man the truth, they would say, ‘nobody likes you.’ So I got up and walked away because I didn’t want anything to ruin my day. I’ve been a member of this party since 1998, and I’ve never seen it like this before.
“That is why I said they are attempting to divide the party (between the North and the South), which is extremely dangerous.” They removed the chairman, the Board of Trustees, the conscience of our party, from the meeting that I left. Why? The man in charge of mediating and reconciling the situation was forced to resign.
“With all of this spin they’re dishing out to the public, ask him (BoT chairman) who invited him for a discussion.” Who promised him that he would be given a job once he left? Is that accurate?
“Why are people acting as if everyone else is a fool?” He did not voluntarily resign. That’s why I said it was terrible. It’s getting progressively worse. In Nigeria, there is far too much deception and lying.
“The country is stuck in one place, not moving in any direction.” We must transport everyone. We need to feel a sense of belonging and commitment.”
‘Ayu must leave.’
Meanwhile, the PDP in the South-West demanded Ayu’s resignation on Wednesday, raising the prospect that the opposition party’s crisis will last for some time.
The governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, stated the region’s position at a stakeholder meeting in Ibadan attended by the PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
Later, Makinde’s CPS, Taiwo Adisa, issued a press statement titled “2023: South West PDP resolves to back Atiku, insists Ayu must go,” in which he stated that the S’West PDP had resolved to back Atiku and his running mate in the 2023 election, but that Ayu must resign.
He suggested that Ayu resign so that a chieftain from the south could take over, noting that this would give people in the south a sense of belonging in the party.
Makinde, who was named chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, described Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal as the forum’s chairman in his earlier address at the venue.
The governor stated that the APC’s eight-year rule had sharply polarised the country and that the issue of where power resides must be addressed carefully so that people from the South do not feel like aliens in the party.
Makinde explained that the insistence of governors Nyesom Wike, Samuel Ortom, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as well as himself, that the PDP play a politics of inclusion by allowing the national chairmanship post to be moved to the South should not be interpreted as a problem with the party or the presidential candidate.
He stated that the governors had put the presidential primary election issue behind them.
“I want to thank everyone for coming to this meeting, and I think at this point, we have to tell ourselves nothing but the truth,” Makinde said.
“What we’ll do here is tell ourselves the truth. Yes, others have spoken here about the positive side of things, but our party does face challenges and issues. The good news is that we have the ability to address these issues.
“Of course, I’ve seen people abuse me on social media, claiming that this is about Wike, Makinde, Ortom, and Ugwuanyi, but the truth is that we don’t have a problem with our party or our presidential candidate.”
“If there are obstacles, we must bring them to the table so that we can address them and ensure that our journey is smooth and that we arrive at our destination.” As a result, this is not about individuals.
“I’ve heard some people discuss what happened during and after the presidential convention when someone was chosen as vice-presidential candidate. The truth is that those are issues of the past. They have occurred, and they have occurred, but this is where we are.
“Are there issues arising from those that we must address in order to be successful at the end of the day?” Yes, they are correct, and we will address them. Integrity and honour must be ingrained in our national consciousness.
In response to the demand, Atiku stated that the party’s constitution would have to be amended in order for that to happen.
Atiku stated that the party’s constitution must be followed in order for the South-West PDP’s demand to be granted while urging them not to let the issue derail the party’s train from the 2023 elections.
“The most important event facing us today is the election of 2023 and how to win,” Atiku said. Based on what I’ve seen in Lagos and Ibadan, I believe we have a good chance of winning the elections and taking over all of the South Western states.
“In addition, the new Electoral Act has improved our electoral processes while making it more difficult for people to write results.” They can no longer do it, and they can no longer rig. They will not be counted if they send thugs to steal ballot boxes. So, the era has come to an end. The most important thing for you to do is to ensure that you are registered to vote and that your vote is protected.
“The PDP is Nigeria’s oldest political party, dating back to the restoration of democracy.” Over time, the PDP has developed its own constitution, electoral processes, zoning of offices, power sharing, and other policies that will ensure the party’s and the country’s unity. I have no objections to where any of the party’s members come from, but it must be done in accordance with our constitution, regulations, and practices.
“As a result, what Governor Makinde is requesting is feasible under our constitution, rules, regulations, and procedures.” As a result, whatever changes we make must be guided by those institutions. That is why we cannot act outside of the constitution unless it is amended to reflect our desires.
Senator Okowa, the vice-presidential candidate, stated that Nigeria was sick and that Atiku was the prescribed drug to cure it and bring it back to life. He predicted that the PDP would win the remaining South-West states in 2023.
Senator Ademola Adeleke, the governor-elect of Osun State, the acting National Chairman of the PDP, Iliya Damagun, former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and Senator Biodun Olujinmi were all present. They emphasized the importance of the party moving forward as a united front, adding that the PDP had demonstrated its readiness to win the presidency and free Nigerians from the hardships brought on by the APC.
Senator warns political party
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Orker Jev, the Senator representing Benue North West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, has stated that the decision of some party chieftains to keep Ayu in office is intended to avoid further problems within the party.
On the phone with one of our correspondents on Tuesday, Jev said the national chairman was ready to step down at any time but was hampered by the party’s constitution.
“We have a constitution in the party, and the constitution states that if Ayu leaves, the deputy national chairman of the party from the north takes over, so the party cannot move to the south.” It means that the crisis will continue.
“Ayu is willing to resign at any time, but this must be negotiated or the party will be jeopardized.” Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has already stated that if Ayu leaves the party, he will follow suit.
The senator, on the other hand, advised that the people should sit down and work things out before the national chairman steps down.
“Ortom is in a quandary because he has been Wike’s friend, and it was as a result of this that he (Ortom) facilitated the election of Ayu, and he cannot just leave Wike, so also he cannot dump Ayu,” Jev said of Ortom’s role in the crisis. Ortom, too, is looking for a way out of this.”