Some Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governors who are in the camp of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, have begun with drawing support for him over what they perceived to be his highhandedness and acts inimical to the progress of the party, Daily Independent has gathered.
A Southern governor, who is one of Wike’s staunch loyalists, on Tuesday informed our source that he and some of his colleagues are not on the same page with the Rivers State governor over the alleged victimization of some party leaders in his state and his fraternity with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike has been having a running battle with the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and efforts to reconcile both men have not yielded any positive result with just six months to the presidential election.
The rift between the duo started after the governor’s ambition of becoming the party’s vice presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections failed following the emergence of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate.
Wike and his associates had demanded the resignation of the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, as the first condition for reconciliation, but Atiku and some party leaders refused to accede to the request.
The governor, who has been confrontational in his speeches, recently invited top APC leaders to commission some projects in the state.
He also allegedly punished some PDP leaders in the state for paying a solidarity visit to Atiku. Aside removing Senator Lee Maeba as chairman of the Governing Council of the Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Rumuola in Port Harcourt, he also removed former Governor Celestine Omehia and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, as leaders of their party in Ikwerre and Port Harcourt City LGAs, respectively.
When asked why they are still blindly loyal to Wike despite his actions, the Southern governor said it is wrong for people to assume that they are loyal to a colleague of theirs. He, however, said he has been distancing himself since the Rivers State governor was not ready to give peace a chance.
“First, let me correct this erroneous impression. We are not loyal to him (Wike). We are only sympathetic to his cause given the manner he was treated despite all he has done to keep the party in one piece since 2015.
“The issue is that this is a group thing. We have a group and we agreed that this is what we should do. So, I am just following what the group is doing so that it won’t look as if I broke out from the camp of those of us who said we are loyal to ourselves. I am just following the principle of friendship.
“But the truth is, I have been gradually withdrawing my support in the last couple of days, especially given Wike’s actions against some of our party leaders in Rivers whom he accused of meeting with our presidential candidate. The fact that you have issues with Atiku doesn’t mean every other person must join you in fighting him. That is unacceptable.
“Take it or leave it, Atiku is one of the leaders we hold in high esteem in our party and the country today. Some of these men have known him even before the formation of PDP. So, why will you make trouble with them for seeing him?
“I am also not comfortable with his association with APC leaders in recent times while sidelining PDP leaders and some of my colleagues also share similar view”, he said.
In a related development, presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, met with Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, outside the country in preparation for the 2023 general elections.
According to an online news medium, Tinubu met with Wike in company of Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, and his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, in France.
Sources close to Wike, who confided in our source, said the meeting held in another country other than France.
“Yes, we left Nigeria to meet with Tinubu on Monday. We initially thought it would hold in France because that was where Tinubu went the last time he left the country. We, however, got signal close to our time of departure that we should proceed somewhere else.
“Governors Ortom and Makinde who have been supporters of Wike from the beginning were also on the trip,” the source said.
The source told us that the meeting was connected with getting Wike’s support for Tinubu in next year’s election.
“Yes, the discussion was centered on the 2023 election. The Tinubu camp knows the importance of votes from Rivers State and are looking for how to get Wike to work for them”.