From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, met, yesterday, in Abuja, on the lingering crisis in the party.
The meeting, which was held at the residence of the former minister of information, Jerry Gana, is coming on the heels of a reconciliation committee set up by the PDP Board of Trustees to resolve crisis in the party.
A source told Daily Sun that Atiku and Wike during the meeting expressed commitment to the resolutions to all issues in the party. The source that preferred anonymity said the two PDP leaders resolved to nominate equal number of people to a committee to resolve all the issues that arose from nomination of the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates.
According to him, the committee will, in return, report back to a larger committee that will be constituted to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party.
“The meeting was cordial and both of them expressed commitment to resolving all the issues. They agreed to nominate equal number of persons to a committee to trash all the issues and report back to a larger committee,” the source said.
The PDP has been enmeshed in crisis in the aftermath of the nomination of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the party’s vice presidential candidate. Supporters of the Rivers State governor had expressed misgivings over Okowa’s nomination, noting that Wike, who came second in the presidential primary ought to have been Atiku’s running mate. Atiku had polled 371 votes, at the PDP convention, to defeat Wike, who scored 237 votes, and 11 others.
Prior to the unveiling of Okowa as the vice presidential candidate, a special panel set up by the PDP to shop for a suitable running mate for Atiku had reportedly voted in favour of Wike as the opposition party’s vice presidential candidate by 14 votes to three.
However, the panel, which consisted of members of representatives of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), Governors’ Forum, Board of Trustees (BoT), former Ministers’ Forum and chaired by the Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagun, recommended Wike, Okowa and the Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, as probable vice presidential candidate.
Regardless, Atiku settled for the Delta governor, saying though all the nominees for the vice presidential slot are eminently, he settled for Okowa, because he can easily complement him.
Loyalists of the Rivers governor also accused the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, of alleged bias in the nomination of the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidate. Ayu had dismissed reports that the majority of the panel members voted for Wike as their preferred choice for the vice presidential slot.
Consequently, the opposition party has been on the edge as the post-nomination crisis polarised the various organs of the PDP, including the NWC and the National Executive Committee (NEC). Governors elected on the platform of the opposition party have been torn over the issue.
Last Sunday, Wike met with his supporters in Abuja, to appraise developments in the party. At the end of the meeting, the Rivers State governor’s camp insisted on the replacement of Ayu with a southerner as a condition for peace with the Atiku’s camp.
The PDP BoT, in a bid to find a solution to the party crisis, met on Wednesday and resolved to set up a committee, consisting of all members of the board, to interface with the party’s presidential candidate and the Rivers State governor.
The members of BoT met with Atiku on Wednesday, in Abuja, and is scheduled to meet with Wike any moment from now.