From Tony John, Port Harcourt and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has said the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lingered because some vested interests, who he described as “hyenas and rent seekers” have remained obstinate and averse to justice, fairness and equity in the party.
This is as he declared that nobody can convince him to change his stance that the party should yield its national chairman position to Southern Nigeria.
He made the assertion 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 on Wednesday night.
At the meeting attended by the South-South National Vice Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, Wike said: “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.”
Governor 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 would 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 Muslim/Muslim ticket, 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 would be doing so at their own peril.
He thanked Cross River PDP delegates for the support given to him during the presidential primary. According to him, he will remain eternally grateful to them and all the other delegates that voted for him.
“If there is nothing I achieved, I can go home and sleep that I won Cross River State. Not only did I win, I won very well. I feel so happy and that tells you of people who have character of steadfastness. People who will never be pushed around for whatever it is. People who believe in the principles of life, people who believe in fairness, justice and equity.”
Speaking earlier, Cross River PDP governorship candidate, Senator Sandy Onor, who led the delegation, said Governor Wike remains a trail blazer for justice, fairness and equity.
He stressed that no living person in the contemporary history of the PDP has made more sacrifice for the party than governor Wike.
Similarly, the senator representing Cross River North, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, noted that without governor Wike’s support, PDP would have been extinct in the State.
Cross River State PDP chairman, Venatius Ikem, also thanked governor Wike for his unrelenting support to the party.
We don’t want to be short changed –Ayu
Meanwhile, Ayu has said the opposition party does not want to be shortchanged in the 2023 general elections.
Ayu, according to a statement by his media aide, Simon Imobo-Tswam, stated this, yesterday, when he received the European Union (EU) Election Exploratory Mission to Nigeria, at the PDP National Secretariat, in Abuja.
Consequently, he charged the EU to send a high-level and large-sized observer mission to Nigeria to observe and monitor the 2023 general elections.
“We are prepared as a party to do the needful as far as the 2023 general elections are concerned. But we are worried about the tendency and capacity of the State to manipulate the critical technologies to our disadvantage. We need to pay close attention so that we are not short-changed again.
“There are security challenges in some states, I think six or so states. We hope government will stamp out the insecurity there early enough for elections to be held there with transparent outcomes. We will no longer accept questionable harvests of votes from inaccessible areas.
“In the past, those were areas where the ruling APC did what they love doing best: bringing votes that subverted the will of the people. Even though we are going to police our votes, it’s important that the EU sends a large number of observers ahead of the elections.” “We do not want to be short-changed again. We believe we won the presidency in the 2019 general elections. We were injured in 2019, and we don’t want a second injury in 2023.”
Earlier, the leader of the EU Mission, Mette Bakken told Ayu and other members of the PDP National Working Committee ( NWC) that they were in the country to interface with relevant government bodies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); and, in line with the EU Methodology, as well as look at the possibility of deploying EU Observer Mission for the scheduled 2023 general elections.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PCO), Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the party has not suspended its presidential campaign.
Tambuwal, according to a statement, said he was amazed and taken aback when he saw on social media and many other platforms that the party had called off our campaign.