From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Amid calls by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the party to sanction the G-5 governors, there are strong indications that the party is not keen on doing that because of the likely backlash.
The G-5 governors, who include Governors Nyesom Wike, Rivers; Samuel Ortom, Benue; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu; Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia and Seyi Makinde Oyo; have been on a warpath with the PDP leadership in the aftermath of the nomination of Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa as the party›s presidential candidate and vice presidential candidates respectively.
The aggrieved governors, who are supported by Donald Duke, Ayo Fayose, Jonah Jang, former governors of Cross River, Ekiti and Plateau respectively; former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, former Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, among others, have continued to insist on the replacement of Iyorchia Ayu with a Southerner as the national chairman of the opposition party.
The group in a bid to press home its demand for Ayu to quit as chairman had pulled out of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, and has stayed away from the opposition party›s activities. Some of the aggrieved governors have already indicated that their states will not support Atiku in the presidential poll, as long as Ayu remained the chairman of the opposition party.
Exasperated by the negative efforts of the crisis on the PDP, some members of the party, including former Senate Whip, Senator Roland Owie, had called for sanctions against the aggrieved governors and their supporters.
But, the Rivers State governor, who have repeatedly tackled Ayu, penultimate week dared the PDP leadership to sanction him, and face the consequences.
However, multiple sources within the party, told Sunday Sun that while a lot of persons within the party leadership are not comfortable with the activities of the G-5 governors, who recently rechristened their group as the “Integrity Group”, there is nothing much the party can do about them.
They noted that it would do more harm than good for the PDP to publicly move against five of its governors and other aggrieved members, who command large followership in their respective states, few weeks to a general election, where the opposition party is facing serious challenge in its traditional support base.
According to one of the sources, the party is afraid that any form of sanction against Wike and his men, at this material time, will come at an heavy cost to the PDP, especially as the 2023 general elections is just about three months away.
Besides, the source, who is close to the G-5 Governors, noted that call for sanctions against the aggrieved governors and their supporters was misplaced.
“They cannot sanction Wike. By this hour? It is too late. What will they say? Which anti-party are they talking about. Did he leave the party? He is still campaigning for the party. The whole campaign is just remaining two months. Anything they do now will have a backlash,” he said.
Similarly, a former PDP National Legal Adviser, who does not want his name on print, told Sunday Sun, that while a lot of party leaders believe that the activities of the aggrieved governors are tantamount to “anti-party” activities, taking disciplinary actions against them will be counter-productive.”
The former National Working Committee (NWC) member noted that but for the likely backlash against the party, some members of the group would have since been suspended.
He said: “Some of these things that this people are doing are anti-party activities. Just that the party does not want to be distracted at this time. Otherwise some of them would have be expelled or suspended. Because they are running the party down. They are de-marketing the party in all ramifications.»
Sunday Sun gathered that this is the major reason the PDP leadership as well as the presidential candidate has remained conciliatory in its response to the G-5.
A party leader from the Northern part of the country told Sunday Sun that inasmuch as the PDP leadership can move against the Rivers governor and other members of his group, “wisdom will demand that they don’t do it. It is unnecessary. It could be done. But it is not feasible. Something can be right, but then be wrong. That is the challenge.”
It would be recalled that Ayu had stated recently that the party would continue to pursue the part of peace in its quest to resolve the PDP crisis.