From Fred Itua, Abuja
Members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are mounting pressure on the party chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to personally reach out to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike to end the lingering crisis in the party.
The BoT, headed by a former President of the Senate, Adolphus Wabara, took over the reconciliation assignment recently.
Though the BoT members have met with Wike, as part of moves to prevail on him to support former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the PDP, Wike has remained adamant that he would not shift grounds on his demands that Ayu should step as chairman .
The Wabara-led committee has since concluded its reconciliation tours that took it to Ibadan, Makurdi, Umuahia, Enugu and Port Harcourt to meet with Governors Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Wike of Oyo, Benue, Abia, Enugu and Rivers states, respectively.
The committee, which had already concluded plans to submit the outcome of its assignment, deferred it, to enable a last-minute push by Ayu, to salvage the situation.
Saturday Sun learnt that governors elected on the platform of the party, led by the vice presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, have asked Ayu to personally reach out to Wike for a one-on-one talk with the Rivers governor.
The source said Ayu, who until recently, was accused of fueling the crisis by his “unguarded statements and divisive moves”, has been personally told by Atiku to fix the mess before the campaigns fully take off.
He said Ayu, who was initially recalcitrant, has succumbed and may initiate the move this weekend.
Wike, on the other hand, is not giving up on his push for Ayu’s ouster. Wike, on Thursday, said he has since accepted the candidacy of Atiku and Okowa, but insisted that Ayu must go in order to create a regional balance between the North and South.
The source said: “Wike has been putting all political machinery in place since the beginning of the week. It means he is ready for a fight ahead of the election. The party doesn’t want this.
“Beside the governors and other party leaders that have been asked to reach out to Wike, have told Ayu, who is the primary cause of the crisis, to find a way to meet with Rivers governor and maybe apologise to him. We expect him to make that move this weekend. But I can’t say if that will happen.
“All the leaders of the party expected to reach out to Wike will do that this weekend. If these last moves should fail, the party will take a tough decision and move on without him. But I don’t think Atiku and other party leaders are willing to sacrifice Ayu. Unless something happens soon.”
Media adviser to Ayu, Mr. Simon Imobo-Tswana, told Saturday Sun that he was unaware of such plans.
Publicity secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, in a telephone chat with Saturday Sun, said members of PDP BoT and governors will be in better positions to speak on the issue.
Meanwhile, Saturday Sun has gathered from party sources that members of Atiku’s campaign organisation, have been instructed to stop commenting or fueling the face off with Wike. One of the sources said Atiku and Okowa reached the decision recently, when the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), mocked the presidential candidate over his inability to put his house in order.
He said Atiku and Okowa are worried that the APC could take advantage of the widening gulf in the PDP, to deplete its rank and file ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
Among those instructed, according to the source, include spokespersons of the campaign, former governors, BoT members, members of Atiku’s inner caucus, state governors and former party leaders, among others.