The PDP has been embroiled in crisis since the conclusion of its presidential primaries in May after Wike lost to the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, and subsequent picking of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate.
Wike’s camp has given Ayu’s resignation as one of the conditions that must be fulfilled to resolve the crisis rocking the major opposition party.
The ‘Ayu must go’ call championed by Wike is based on allegation of Northern dominance in top positions of the party with the presidential candidate, national chairman, chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum all coming from the North.
Amid the crisis, the PDP recently released the list of members of its presidential campaign council and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, was named director-general (DG) of the council.
Wike and some of his allies were also listed as members of the council, but they pulled out and said they will not participate in the presidential campaign until Ayu resigns.
In reaction, Atiku urged Wike and the aggrieved PDP members to rethink and retrace their steps, stressing that he cannot force Ayu to resign as the party’s national chairman.
Wike Vows To Remain In PDP And Fight For Equity
Speaking through a statement by his spokesman, Kelvin Ebiri, the Rivers governor said he will remain in the party and fight for the enthronement of unity, inclusivity, equity, and peace.
Wike added that it is wrong for the party’s presidential candidate, national chairman, and presidential campaign DG to be from the same region.
He said, “One thing I have always told people is if anybody is thinking, doing anything to think that we will leave PDP, it’s never going to happen. We will do the fighting in the party. We are not like them, when in 2014 they walked out from Eagle Square. They’ve forgotten. They walked out and joined APC. Is it not correct?
“Did they remain to fight inside the party? But we remained, they ran away. Now, there is a fight in the party, we will not run. We will fight it in this party. Those who run away from fight are weak people. We will not. So, everybody should know this is the state where we are. So, that nobody tells you all kind of stories.”
Wike said ahead of the unveiling of the campaigns next week, “I owe this party in the state, we have 13 House of Reps seats, three senatorial seats, 32 House of Assembly seats and we have governorship post, we are going to take all for the PDP.”
He insisted that the constitution of the party clearly stated that elective and party offices must be zoned, saying this should be respected.
He wondered why the former PDP BoT chairman, Walid Jubrin, would be pressurised to resign and the PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, was excusing himself from doing what was right.
The governor said, “You have taken presidential candidate, you have taken party chairman, you have also taken the DG (director general) of the campaign. We are talking about party politics. Decisions are made by the presidential candidate, chairman of the party, and the DG of the campaign.
“They are telling you they told the chairman of the BoT to resign. So, you know there is a problem. You said he should go and resign. You can put pressure on him to resign, when his tenure hasn’t come to an end. But you cannot put pressure on the chairman to resign. You think at our level you will deceive us? You’ll tell us stories.”
The governor recalled how in 2015, the federal government allegedly used the military to invade Rivers State, interfered with and even annulled elections, but was resisted. He also recalled that he made sure the senatorial results for Rivers East were announced, which delivered Senator George Sekibo, and also that of Rivers West that produced Senator Betty Apiafi.
Wike regretted that despite the risk taken to deliver them, the same people were now in Abuja plotting against him, adding that they would not succeed because God has blessed him.
He also clarified that he never promised anybody the governorship ticket of PDP, despite the pressure some leaders mounted on him or attempts made to divide the House of Assembly. He said though he didn’t clinch the PDP presidential ticket, he gave a good account of himself at the primary.
The governor stated that by next week, the Rivers State PDP campaign team would be unveiled and the campaign pattern adopted would be based on each local government’s peculiarity.
He emphasised that all PDP candidates in the state would be returned elected by Rivers people, because they were satisfied with the performance of his administration.
He stated, “We will take all. We are taking all, because Rivers people are happy with what we have done in this state. We have not only provided infrastructure, we have also defended the interest of Rivers State.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom who is a strong ally of Wike, warned Atiku that ignoring the Rivers governor was dangerous.