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Atiku raises team to woo Wike

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The  Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has set up a  committee to pacify and woo the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and some other aggrieved members of the party.

The initiative was instituted by Atiku based on the need to go into the 2023 general elections with a united front.

The opposition party has been rocked by crisis following the choice of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate.

Wike, Okowa and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom had appeared before the screening panel set up by the PDP to nominate a vice-presidential candidate to the PDP presidential flagbearer.

Okowa was nominated by the PDP presidential candidate after rumours had it that Wike had been selected by the party advisory committee as the vice-presidential candidate the day before.

But findings indicate that the PDP feared Wike might work against Atiku’s ambition following his loss as the party presidential candidate and running mate to Atiku.

Signs that the PDP might run into stormy waters became pronounced with the defection of some of Wike’s supporters from the party in the last 24 hours.

Aside from the resignations of two allies of the Rivers state governor-a former minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe and an ex-commissioner in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua, a mass exodus of party members was also said to be looming.

Sequel to the ominous signs in the party, Atiku was said to have constituted a team to appease and fully bring back Wike into his campaign council, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a PDP chieftain who was privy to the decision, said, “ Atiku wanted to tell Wike about his choice of Okowa one-on-one but then, he heard that Wike had returned to Rivers. That clearly showed good faith. Even though Wike was not the selected candidate, Atiku wanted to accord him respect by letting him know before the news got to the public.

“Atiku has set up a reconciliatory committee to reach out to Wike and mend the cracks. Atiku understands the need to go to the 2023 elections with a united front. Everyone will be pacified. Not only Wike but every aggrieved person within the party.”

Corroborating the development, a top Atiku confidant stated, “Our people (PDP members) are still aggrieved and when you are doing mediation, you don’t give the impression that you are not sincere but it is a serious undertaking.“His Excellency, Governor Wike is strategic to Atiku’s victory, make no mistake about it. Whatever anybody may say, that is a party man through and through. He understands the times we are in and that was why he threw his hat in the ring; that is why he wants to be president because he feels that he has what it takes to lead the country so also the other candidates who contested.

“Now, that the contest is over, we really have a responsibility to bring everybody together. You don’t go to a battle with a disunited army. Wike is the kind of man you can go to battle with, you don’t leave him behind. You do all you can to bring him on board. The enemy is not within PDP; the enemies are those who have enslaved us; people that have impoverished us.”

Asked about the composition of the reconciliation panel, the source declined to release their names, noting that the job of the members was sensitive.

According to him, the team would approach those known to have Wike’s ears and get them to talk to the Rivers State Governor to close ranks with Atiku.

On the timeframe for the committee’s work, the source added, “No timeframe, it is an ongoing process. We are working very hard and I can assure you that a lot of work is going on. I know because I have spoken with one of those involved.”

The media adviser to Atiku, Mr Paul Ibe, could not be reached for comment while the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, declined to speak.

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POLITICS

PDP crisis: Party govs move to reconcile Atiku, Wike

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Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) party have decided to intervene in the rift between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the party’s presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State visited Governor Wike in Port Harcourt, Rivers State last Thursday as a way of placating the latter.

Fintiri, who is chairman of the reconciliation committee, had said the committee will achieve the desired result for the success of the party, ahead of the 2023 elections.

He also disclosed that Nigerians will not forgive PDP if it failed to produce the next President, considering what he described as the rudderless nature of the Nigerian state under APC.

A source, privy to the meeting, noted that the PDP governors will meet this week in Adamawa State to resolve the protracted rift between Atiku and Wike.

“I am aware the governors are talking among themselves and as you know, they hold their meetings from one state to another. Fintiri has not hosted and this is his turn to host and I can tell you authoritatively that the governors are talking among themselves about the need to hold that meeting urgently. Since the convention, no meeting has been held.

“Some of the PDP governors believe that if Fintiri is hosting the meeting, he is seen as a neutral person that can pull all the sides together.”

Wike not against reconciliation

Asked whether Wike is not disposed to a peace parley, the source, a former member of the National Working Committee, NWC, said: “Wike is disposed to peace. If you look at his position, he has said that the problem is not Atiku but the people around Atiku. Whether that is true or false, that is his position.”

Ex-northern gov, ex-military brass frustrating peace moves — PDP Source

Also, indications emerged yesterday how a former northern governor and an ex-military top brass are frustrating moves to reconcile Governor Wike and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

This is on the heels of the claim by a Board of Trustees, BoT, member of the party, Professor Jerry Gana, that some forces within and outside PDP were frustrating reconciliation efforts.

Multiple sources within the PDP stated that while the Wike camp insists on Ayu stepping down, the Atiku camp, backed by these forces, may not want Ayu to be shown the way out.

But countering the anti-Ayu forces, a former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, yesterday, faulted those calling for the removal of Ayu, noting that it is too late to change Ayu as elections are around the corner.

But a source familiar with the crisis, said these forces warned that they “will continue to thwart the reconciliation move if it does not favour them.”

The source said: “The powerful forces frustrating the peace moves are a former northern governor and former military general from the north. They do not want the arranged winning formula to change.

“Ayu too is adamant. Wike has given his condition and one of the conditions is what will the South be given to campaign with? Another condition is that Ayu must resign and the position of national chairman must come to the South.

“Ayu also gave his condition that he will not be the only one to go, and that all members of the National Working Committee, NWC, must resign. In as much as you have an internal set-up that will thwart the reconciliation move, the party is not ready.

“For Wike, he has given his conditions and if the party is not ready to meet those conditions, he will sit on the fence.”

It’s insult to give S-West DG position

Asked his position on the proposed plan to pick the Director-General of the campaign council from the South-West as a way of placating the region, the source said: “Is D-G a position? It is not a position in any way, it is nothing. The D-G is like an appointee of the candidate, it is even an insult. We are not talking about the D-G but the South having something tangible.

“In fact, it is an insult to the South. They are looking for someone from the South-West that can boost their campaign but nobody will answer them. That is the problem the Atiku camp will have.

“They can as well pick a D-G from the north. This is simple. If Atiku wants to win and he does not want any problem, he must do the needful but, as I said, some powerful forces are on his neck too.

“These forces are preventing reconciliation.  The day Atiku forms his campaign council and is presented, that may be the end of the PDP. They can’t form the council now because they are anticipating that the crisis will be resolved soon but the condition has not been met.”

It’s risky for Ayu to go few months to polls — Ekpenyong

Speaking on the crisis in the party, a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, urged all feuding parties to sheathe their swords, adding that those calling for Ayu’s resignation “should understand that it is too late into the election for that to occur.”

While he warned that propaganda could destroy the party, the PDP leader said:  “The goal should be to unify Nigeria first and every other thing will follow thereafter.

“I’m appealing again to Mr Project, my brother, Governor Wike, to remember his words at the convention ground where he said he will support whoever emerged as the presidential candidate of the party. “He also promised the PDP National Assembly members during his consultation that he won’t leave the party, no matter the outcome of the convention. He is known as a man who keeps to his words. He shouldn’t disappoint those who believe in him.

“Also, those calling for the resignation of the party chairman, especially our time-tested leader and former National Vice Chairman, South-West, Chief Bode George, should understand that it’s too late into the election for that to occur.

“It will cause a lot of confusion that may hurt the party during the election. Such issues should be left till after the general election, as the party stood by other zones to produce presidents, even the South-West during their turn.

“We should all reciprocate and stand by the North-East to also produce a president.

“We should all bear in mind that in politics, you win some, you lose some. I appeal to all sides to sheathe their swords. The election is close by. PDP must convince Nigerians that it can manage the resources of the country in the best interest of the people.

“We should avoid arrogance and name-calling, propaganda that can destroy the party. The Board of Trustees must rise to the occasion and the warring chieftains should calm down.

There have been mistakes, which will be amended after the general election when we win.

“For now, the major goal should be how to rescue the nation from collapsing as the heroes of the party come together to defend this nation. We should also come together as party men and women to defend our nation from the hands of this failed government.

“Let the sacrifices of our party heroes, those who have gone and those still with us not be in vain.”

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Senate ticket: APC justifies expulsion of Umahi’s rival

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APC expels Ann Agom-Eze

The All Progressives Congress (APC), Ebonyi State Chapter, has said it expelled a factional senatorial candidate of the party for Ebonyi South, Mrs. Ann Agom-Eze, due to alleged gross misconduct.

The state party chairman, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, stated this while briefing journalists in Abakaliki on Sunday.

Okoro-Emegha said, “Mrs. Agom-Eze has recklessly disparaged herself too by eating back her words in an effort to satisfy her paymasters.

“How can a woman who voluntarily wrote, signed and submitted her letter of withdrawal from the senatorial primary that gave the Federal High Court, Abakakili the impetus to order for a fresh election still denies it in a broad daylight?

“Do you know that she also sworn an affidavit to that effect and all these documents are substantially available, including at the national secretariat?”

He added, “Since her expulsion from the party started in her Umudomi ward in Onicha Local Government Area of the state, even as your state party chairman, I cannot interfere with the decision because politics is a grassroots engagement.”

Meanwhile, a group, Ebonyi South Concerned Citizens, has kicked against Agom-Eze’s expulsion.

The group alleged that the state government, through its agents, coerced the Vice Chairman of Umudomi Ward, Mr Nwitte John-Eze, to sign a letter expelling Agom-Eze on Saturday.

According to the group, the same letter was, on Wednesday, rejected by the Ward Chairman, Ogbonnaya Ogboji.

The leader of the group, Ugochukwu Orji, stated this, on Sunday, in statement, titled, “Suspension saga about Princess Ann Agom-Eze: A mere fallacy, move that increases Umahi’s desperation.”

Agom-Eze came second in the APC senatorial primary for Ebonyi South zone held on June 28, 2022 and was joined in a matter challenging the state governor, David Umahi’s supposed qualification to still contest the ticket, after participating and losing the party’s presidential primary.

The matter, our correspondent gathered, is still pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

The Special Assistant on Media and Strategy to Governor Umahi, Mr Chooks Okoh, described as baseless and unfounded, the allegation that some people were offered N1million to sign Agom-Eze’s suspension letter, adding that she should approach the party leadership and sort herself out.

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PDP Crisis: Dele Momodu warns Wike to apply brakes before it’s too late

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Former presidential aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dele Momodu has urged Governor Nyesom Wike of River State to thread softly before it becomes too late. 

The remark is coming amid internal wrangling between the Rivers governor and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Abubakar Atiku. 

“Many politicians survive only on power. My Brother, I love you. But someone must be able to tell you the truth. No General fights on too many fronts. Please, apply the brakes, before it is too late,” he said. 

Momodu made the plea in a statement titled, “My Kobo Advice to Governor Nyesom Wike,” which he issued via his verified Instagram handle on Thursday.

He said, “My dear Brother, good evening. I have watched you in recent months with trepidation. I’m scared about your inability to comprehend the country called Nigeria. You must have underrated how the owners of Nigeria operate. 

“I studied the biography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I was an insider in the June 12 1993 crisis, and a veritable witness to the tribulations of my great mentor, Chief Moshood Abiola. Closer home, you must have seen how your predecessor, Dr. Peter Odili, was stopped in his tracks in 2007.

“You’re certainly one of Nigeria’s best performing Governors, if not the best. Personally, I’m very proud of your uncommon achievements. I know you are very angry. It is your right to be. But I’m begging you in the name of God not to take decisions based on anger… Nigeria has been very kind to you. 

“Rivers State has been extremely generous to you. GOD has blessed you beyond imagination. You have such a beautiful family. Your people love you stupendously for services delivered to them. PDP has been your solid platform. 

“You should never destroy a bridge after crossing the river. Even if you no longer need the bridge, what of your friends and family? I pray you kill this excessive and perpetual ANGER. It is getting out of hand. Most people around you will keep quiet for fear of losing patronage,” he said. 

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