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Wike: I’ve accepted Atiku but I insist on Ayu’s resignation

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State says he does not have any problem with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as Presidential Candidate of the Peoples…

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State says he does not have any problem with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but Senator Iyioricha Ayu must relinquish his position as the party’s national chairman.

Wike send this after Atiku rescheduled his campaigns to enable new emissaries sent to the embattled Rivers governor to intervene in the lingering crisis in the party.

The camp of Wike, comprising five governors and other influential members of the party, had shunned the campaign council over the refusal of the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign.

In the campaign timetable that had been in the public domain, Atiku and the campaign train were supposed to be in Kebbi State yesterday (Wednesday) and Zamfara today (Thursday).

But the campaign for the two states has been rescheduled as the party intensifies efforts to lure Wike’s camp to key into the Atiku project.

Speaking when he hosted Cross River State PDP governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives, House of Assembly candidates and PDP local government party chairmen at his private residence in Rumueprikom, Rivers, on Thursday,  Wike said efforts for amicable resolution of the crisis rocking the PDP has been frustrated by “rent seeker” in the party.

The governor said nobody could convince him to change his stance that the PDP should yield its national chairmanship position to Southern Nigeria.

The governor, during the meeting which was attended by the party’s South-South national vice chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, explained that the seeming intractable crisis in the party had lingered because some vested interests, whom he described as “hyenas and rent seekers,” have remained obstinate and averse to justice, fairness and equity in the party.

“We have finished presidential primaries, we have a presidential candidate. Is Wike saying remove presidential candidate? Is Wike saying remove vice presidential candidate? So, what are you begging me for? All I am saying, and I will continue to say is that you have taken president, give us (national) chairman.

“Nobody wants to speak the truth. If I am saying remove the presidential candidate, if I am saying remove the vice presidential candidate, then you will say why is he doing this.”

Wike, maintained that he cannot be convinced to support the current status quo, where the PDP presidential candidate, national chairman and the Director General of the presidential campaign council are all from the north.

According to him, refusal to cede the national chairman position to the South, will be a recipe for crisis.

“He (national chairman) said, if the presidential candidate comes from the north, he will resign , which means he has had this in mind. Now, the thing has come to reality, now resign, no. And people are saying go and talk to Wike.

“I’ve accepted the presidential candidate, I have accepted the vice presidential candidate, what’s the problem again. You, fulfil your part. Let the South have something, that is all I’m preaching. You cannot have presidential candidate, national chairman, director general of the campaign.”

The governor said it is hypocritical for some people in the PDP to criticise the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, while supporting that a particular region of the country should retain the presidency for another eight years.

He insisted that for the sake of holistic peace, PDP should adhere to the tenets of its constitution, which explicitly recommends that when a presidential candidate emerges from the north, the national chairman should be from the South.

The governor said the clamour for the chairman of the PDP to be zoned to the South will persist until justice, fairness and equity prevail in the PDP.

“This is period that power game is being played. If you don’t have it now, forget it. If anybody tells you, let (Iyorchia) Ayu resign after election is conducted, then you are a foolish person. This is the time decision is being made. This is the time the presidential candidate, national chairman and the leader of campaign will sit, when election is won in February, before the president is sworn in, decisions would have been made.”

The governor disclosed that he has commenced full blown politicking ahead of the 2023 general elections, adding that those who want to undermine him and his allies will be doing so at their own peril.

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