Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has said the present National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot lead it to victory in the 2023 general elections.
The quest of Wike and some key members of the leading opposition party to remove its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has created a crack in the party.
Governors, elders and various organs of the party are sharply divided over the fate of Secondus and other members of the NWC.
Last week, the PDP expanded stakeholders’ meeting, which comprised state governors, Board of Trustees (BoT), former ministers, former governors and National Assembly Caucus, met in Abuja, where they directed Secondus, to convene the NEC meeting to ratify the processes ahead of the October national convention.
To halt the crisis in the party, the stakeholders had brought forward the national convention of the party earlier slated for December to October.
But the NWC failed to meet on Tuesday to pass resolutions to be presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
Multiple sources at the PDP National Headquarters confirmed that the meeting didn’t hold because of the 80th birthday celebration of a former Head of State, retired Gen Ibrahim Babangida.
Other credible sources in the party confirmed that the death of a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, who was a critical stakeholder in the party, was part of the reasons the NWC didn’t meet as the party was thrown into mourning.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, had confirmed to our correspondent on Sunday that the NWC would meet on Tuesday.
Speaking on a live television interview in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Wike said for the PDP to win the 2023 general elections, the Secondus-NWC must be removed.
He said, “If you go to the public and ask Nigerians if PDP is ready to take over power in 2023, if you take referendum, you will know that Nigerians are even waiting for PDP. But the fear of Nigerians is whether PDP is ready to take over power. So, people are concerned about it. Obviously, it is ripe for PDP to take over, but you must be prepared to take over.
“And we said with what we have now, it will be difficult to take over power in 2023 if there is no amendment. Leadership was the problem.
“The point is this, the current NWC, as it is today, cannot lead the party to victory. Nobody has said they have not done well, one way or the other, but we are talking about the challenges ahead.
“That is why we are pushing for the party to have other people to lead the party and to give it a different strength altogether. If you know APC, you know that you need a robust, determined leadership of the party (PDP) to make sure you match them word by word, action by action.”
The governor dismissed insinuation that he is nurturing presidential ambition, hence his opposition to the current NWC.
He said his primary preoccupation is to see how PDP could be better positioned to win the 2023 general elections.
Ologbondiyan neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message sent from our correspondent.
But the PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, told Daily Trust in a telephone chat that the party would reclaim power because Nigerians were tired of the APC-led government.
“PDP will win the 2023 elections because the APC is confused now. They have not governed well. The APC is not composed, so for that reason, PDP will win the elections,” he said.
Contacted, a Special Adviser to Secondus, said, “The official reaction is that we have no reaction.”
From Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Saawua Terzungwe (Abuja) & Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna)