June 18, 2024

■PDP candidate to concede key cabinet, NASS positions ■Downplays calls for Ayu’s replacement

The crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might soon dissipate, following what some stakeholders termed the encouraging fallouts from Thursday’s meeting between the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar and governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

The duo, alongside some governors, had been at loggerheads since May, 2022, when Atiku emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP. The crisis escalated after Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was unveiled as Atiku’s running mate on June 16. Meetings between loyalists of Atiku and Wike had failed to resolve the imbroglio, with Wike throwing brickbats at the former Vice President and his camp.

At Thursday’s meeting in London, United Kingdom, governors of Abia, Benue and Oyo States accompanied Wike to the meeting, while Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, accompanied Atiku.

There were other PDP stakeholders like Donald Duke who were in attendance. Twenty hours after the meeting, scanty details have emerged on what transpired. An ally of Atiku who’s familiar with the available outcome of the meeting, said both sides conceded grounds, particularly Atiku.

He said Atiku was able to prevail on Wike and other aggrieved governors to suspend their push for the removal of the national chairman of the PDP Iyorchia Ayu, until elections are conducted next year. He said Atiku hinged his argument on the dangers it will pose to the success of the PDP during next year’s elections.

The source said though Wike and his allies didn’t fully commit to the request, they might soft-pedal on their agitation for now. He revealed that Wike demanded some key positions for his camp when Atiku forms his cabinet if he emerges winner in next year’s presidential election.

The top PDP member, who also declined to reveal details of the deal, said Atiku agreed to the terms, but also demanded that Wike and PDP governors must play their part in ensuring that the party wins next year’s presidential elections. It was further gathered that Wike expressed misgivings about the attitude of Atiku’s supporters, who have been accused of fuelling the crisis.

“Wike mentioned their names and asked Atiku the roles the people have played since they left office in supporting 

On the formation of the Presidential Campaign Organisation, the source said one of the governors from the South would be appointed as Director-General soon. He said it wasn’t clear if Wike has accepted the position to lead the campaign.

Giving more details, he said Wike and other governors secured a commitment from Atiku not to repeat the mistakes of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which has no regard for Federal Character.

His words: “Wike and other governors were clear on that. They told Atiku that the South was supposed to get the ticket. They told him that now that he has got the ticket, the South must get key positions in the National Assembly. “The North can’t have the position of the President, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Secretary to the Government of the Federation. APC did that in 2015. PDP must not repeat that mistake. That was part of what Wike told Atiku,” the source added. The PDP member said: “APC has been fuelling this crisis. They were happy when the crisis was festering. They didn’t want it to end. They must be licking their wounds now.

“Many thought Atiku wasn’t ready to make peace with Wike. That has been settled now. The crisis is not over yet, but the PDP has made serious progress.

“Unknown to many people, both Atiku and Wike’s camps settled for a neutral ground to hold this meeting. It was brokered by Adamawa State Governor, Fintiri, who is a close friend to both Wike and Atiku.

“That was how they arrived at London being the best venue. There were too many talks in Nigeria already and they didn’t want that. When they return, more meetings will be held. One thing is now sure and that’s the fact that no PDP governor or members will defect. PDP will go into this election as a united family.

“The next phase of the reconciliation will shock many Nigerians. Peter Obi is still a close ally of Atiku. There will be surprises in the coming weeks if on-going talks pan out well.

“I also suspect that the party may hold its National Executive Committee meeting before the campaigns will start in September. For now, we just have to wait and see.”

In a chat with our correspondent, spokesman for Atiku Campaign Organisation, Senator Dino Melaye, told Saturday Sun that

In a chat with our correspondent, spokesman for Atiku Campaign Organisation, Senator Dino Melaye, told Saturday Sun that all issues would be resolved. He also boasted that no governor elected on the PDP platform would ditch the party. Melaye said: “I can authoritatively tell you that no PDP governor will leave the party. It is one thing to woo people; it is another thing to get them. “They’re wasting their time. Nobody will leave the party.”

Meanwhile Saturday Sun gathered that the Atiku/ Wike London parley has created panic among supporters of the PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu. The national chairman’s men, who are also Atiku’s supporters, it was learnt, were shocked that Atiku could travel all the way to London to meet with Wike and his men.

Also, a statement by Atiku through his media aide, Paul Ibe, on Thursday, cautioning his supporters against making inflammatory comments that will jeopardise the unity of the party, it was gathered has heightened tension in the camp of the PDP chairman.

A highly placed party source told Saturday Sun that Ayu’s supporters, including a former North West governor, interpreted Atiku’s ‘London meeting with Wike and the statement cautioning his supporters against inflammatory statements, as a sign that Atiku wants to ditch the camp.

In the aftermath of the London meeting, Ayu, it was gathered has started making frantic efforts to mobilize some stakeholders to support him. The source said, barring any last minute change of plan, Ayu and some members of the NWC will be in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, today, to felicitate the wife of the governor on her birthday. The planned Benue trip, according to the source, is intended to serve as an avenue for a rapprochement between the Wike camp and the national chairman.

He said: “They are planning to visit Benue under the guise of felicitating the wife of the governor on the occasion of her birthday. But the Benue visit is just an opportunity for them to reach out to the pro-Wike governors, especially Ortom, as part of peace building efforts

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