Pedro Obaseki, a lawyer and director of Research, Strategy and Documentation of Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation, recently took on FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, over his call for Atiku’s suspension from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). At a recent press briefing in Abuja, Obaseki said Wike’s actions are aimed at paving the way for his 2027 Presidential ambition. Tony Ailemen was there for BDSUNDAY. Excerpts:
What is your reaction to the recent call for Atiku Abubakar’s suspension from the PDP?
It is important that we call Nyesom Wike to order. There is a limit to the continued brigandage of a man who should be grateful to God for what he has benefited from the party. Chinua Achebe in his book “Things Fall Apart” warned us that “Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by benevolent spirits should not forget to be humble.” But someone like Wike, who is a disgrace to the people of the South-South has continued to overstretch his luck. For him to go to the extent of asking in spite of his almost serial display of betrayal, pseudo intellectualism, he should be grateful. Who is Nyesom Wike? He rode on the back of the electorate of Rivers State to national prominence and betrayed everybody along the way. From being a motor park tout somewhere in Port Harcourt, he became a Local Government Chairman, a Minister of State, became governor of Rivers State and now Minister of the FCT.
All he does now is insult all those who helped him get to where he is today. We have a problem in Nigeria and whether we like it or not, we must tell ourselves the truth. The truth is that Nigeria witnessed the most dastardly election in her history and we are the laughing stock of the comity of nations to the extent that those we used to refer to as Banana Republics are now using us as examples of how not to run elections. Nyesom Wike is a beneficiary of that rogue process. Not stopping there, Wike has turned politics into his play ground.
He has turned almost the entire PDP and its structures on their heads. He is the most rewarded betrayer in the history of our recent politics. From his time with Rotimi Amaechi, Goodluck Jonathan, Peter Odili, Atiku Abubakar and now his time with Bola Tinubu. Tinubu and those around him are not fools, they know that once you can betray those you’ve betrayed before, you are a pointed dagger waiting to strike the next person who is the beneficiary of your most recent betrayal. It is not hidden knowledge that the only thing Nyesom Wike is interested in is becoming the President of our country, and anything that seems to stand wittingly or otherwise in his achieving that quest will be flushed away and that is what he has been doing. What we are seeing now is that he is fighting to decimate the PDP, so that he can also decimate the APC to create a vehicle for himself to run in 2027, but we are not stupid.
For someone like Nyesom Wike who has plotted a graph from the time he supported Prince Uche Secondus so as to arrest the structures of the PDP and then forced the removal of Secondus because he knew that as Chairman of the party, he’s from his own local government and senatorial district, it’s goodbye to his running for the presidency. He ran for that same presidency and lost. He swore to support whoever won in the public domain. He reneged on every point along the way. Today, Wike has upturned the collective will and patrimony of the Rivers people and gave unmerited victory to a rogue party called the APC; a party he had said was populated by people with cancer; a party he had denounced in the public domain and said it would be like jumping from frying pan to fire.
Today, he is hobnobbing with the demons of that fireplace, but someone has to call him to order because continuous verbal diarrhoea, and vituperations of bad logic in the public domain do not make a statesman but that only makes him an elevated agbero. Time has come for the PDP and those who want to strengthen democracy in Nigeria to see Wike for what he really is. He is brave enough to come to the public space to say that PDP, a party founded in 1998, that he is the sole financier of the party. This is a party where he became governor in a state here Odili was already a governor for 8 years on the platform of the party; where Rotimi Amaechi had been governor for seven years before defecting to APC, a state where he was local government chairman when the party was almost eight years old. Is he so dull? Is he such a bad student of history or does he not know how to read? A man who comes up to say that Atiku Abubakar, a two-time presidential candidate for whom he was a major campaigner just four years ago, should be expelled from the party. This is Wike who did everything to pull down the very structures of the party. I feel very sorry for those who are in the echelon of decision making within the PDP. If I was the one, Wike would be inconsequential, gone with the wind and washed into the garbage heap of our political yesterday.
Can you provide evidence to back up these allegations?
He is not the only one who goes on air to reel out allegations unsupported. I am saying what is in the public domain and on the streets of Port Harcourt. These are what people say even on social media. Where is Wike getting all the monies from? What was Wike’s bank balance before he became governor? What was his job, trade since he left law school? Apart from collecting money on the streets from the National Union of Road Transport Workers, he should be humble. It is his lack of humility that is bringing out some of these things.
Wike has suggested that Atiku should be kicked out of the party. Why do you think Atiku should still be in the PDP?
Wike did not make a suggestion, he made a call for the expulsion of Atiku Abubakar. It is Wike who should tell us why Atiku should be expelled from the party. But the person who deserves to be expelled from the party, is the man who is calling for the expulsion of others from the party. Wike is the one who created a cult within the party and called it the G-5. Against the will, constitution and structures of the party, he campaigned against the party. If anybody had done anything anti-party, it is Nyesom Wike. He has fought every known person within the party. If you remember, Bello Matawalle, former Governor of Zamfara State, cited him as the reason for leaving the party. David Umahi cited him as the reason for leaving the party. Professor Ben Ayade cited him as the reason for leaving the party. Why is it that in the wake of Nyesom Wike, he has become the proverbial tortoise in every bad story?
Why has it become very difficult for the leadership of the PDP to take a stand on sanctioning Wike?
Unfortunately, I am not in the minds of any of the leaders of the party. Mine is very clear. My immediate concern is my presidential flag bearer whose campaign consultant and Director of Strategy I was during the campaign. He should concentrate his concerns on those persons you mentioned but Wike crossed the line. He has been doing this since on the person, not on the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar. I am not here to speak for the Acting National Chairman. If I were the Acting National Chairman, there would be no Nyesom Wike holding on to the tail of my party membership. That is the truth but there is no point talking on issues and decisions I have no control over. Our party is fighting is an existential battle over a stolen mandate by a band of political coupists. They have been backed now by the most uncanny, illegal judgment in the history of election petitions in Nigeria. That is not the time for Wike to be stirring the hornets’ nest or the bees will be all over him. Wike can continue to celebrate his serial betrayal as much as he wants but he should not be staining men of integrity and authority and men who openly defeated him in an open contest. In spite of his long graph, unfortunately, the graph was distorted by Atiku Abubakar on the 28/29th of May, 2022 and ever since, Wike has been howling like a beaten hyena but that howling must stop so that his verbal diarrhea can also stop If the people of Rivers State have stomached his vituperations for 8 years, he should go to the corner of his FCT office and lick the spoils of his betrayal but he should not continue to lacerate the PDP.
There was an agreement that power should shift to the South; why did Atiku insist on contesting?
The party never said power should go to the South because it was not the turn the South in the PDP but it was the turn of the South in the APC. Since 1999, we have had six elections. The PDP had given four times out of that six to the South. Two times to Olusegun Obasanjo and two times to Goodluck Jonathan. But the party has given two out of six to the North. Once to Yar’ Adua and once to Atiku. I made a presentation to the governors in December 2021 in Asaba and Nyesom Wike did not agree because he wanted a situation where the primaries would be thrown open. He wasn’t campaigning but I was campaigning for the South-East and the North-East because they were the only zones that are yet to rule our country since January 15, 1966, outside the South-East that had a six months hiatus with General Aguiyi Ironsi.
Wike, knowing that he’s just less than 106km away from Otuoke in the home state of Jonathan had no moral right to want to run for the presidency when the immediate Southern President and the last President of the PDP was from the same former Rivers State with him. Wike was fighting a cause that was for himself in an attempt to prepare the ground for his eventual running. Wike fought Secondus who is from the same place with him and replaced him with Iyorchia Ayu. The party set up a committee chaired by Samuel Ortom, the then governor of Benue State. Ortom was the one who did a press conference in the first week of May to declare that there would be no zoning in the 2022 primaries. That wasn’t Atiku Abubakar and that was why everybody ran. Prior to then, the PDP had given its flagbearership to the South. Since 1999, all the parties that came together to form the APC had given in their 6th election their presidential ticket to the North . Why is PDP giving two out of six to the North a problem? Whether we like it or not, from the time of Umaru Shinkafi of the APP down to the ANPP with Buhari in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, why is that not a problem? It would have been a different thing if Wike was fighting for the South-East. I argued that if we were going to zone, we must zone to the South-East or the North-East because ever since Tafawa Balewa in 1966 and Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi in July 1966, no South-Eastener of North-Eastener from any of the five states of Ndigbo or any of the states of the North-East have been elected President of Nigeria. The PDP gave it to the North-East which is the only part of Nigeria outside of the South-East whose leading contender had left the party four days to the primaries. Who is Wike hoodwinking? Is Wike the only one that was a former governor? Where are the other members of the G-5? Where are those who lost because Wike had decided to divide the party? Wike was the problem of the PDP and to expel Wike now is a task that must be done by the PDP.
Nigerians are not very optimistic that something different may come out of the Supreme Court when the party/Atiku appeal the judgment. What does Atiku intend to do to strengthen the party?
The first leg of strengthening the party is to give members hope. A good leader must be a dealer in hope. Atiku has shown that he is a man who is a bridge across the Niger and we have decided to pursue the legal angle to its logical conclusion as law abiding citizens. We will not engage in any untoward behaviour but we will pursue this to its logical conclusion.
It is not the PDP or Atiku that is on trial. It is the Nigerian judiciary and their seeming lack of due process that is on trial. What we are doing is to continue to strengthen the internal democracy within the party and the first thing to do is to make sure that this whole issue is pursued to its logical conclusion. It is not over until it is over. We have decided that our leader, the Wazirin Adamawa is standing in poll position to continue to challenge this illegitimate arrangement. Anybody who sees things, sit down and does nothing will be crippling fast and so, we will not sit down and do nothing. But at the same time, we will not do anything that is unlawful. We will not challenge anything that is legally put down even though those who have been given the reins to dispense justice in Nigeria have become seemingly the purveyors of injustice in the country. I am talking as Pedro now, and as a participant in the Nigerian commonwealth. As someone who believes in this country, who has gone to jail because of my belief in this country and who as a young man, fought in the trenches so as to ensure that there is democracy in this country and who is still standing up to the powers that be; that every Nigeria wherever you come from, the country belongs to all of us. Everybody must stand up.
Atiku is just one human being and he cannot begin to legislate how you to the pain in the common place and the things that have happened in just three months of unsolicited governance by the political buccaneers who have taken over our political space. We are not cowards and we are not going to bow to the cowardly display of the likes of Nyesom Wike, their journeymen and pay masters.
The PDP is beginning to see itself now as serial victim of the political chicanery of a few who have decided to hang us dry but we will not go down without fighting.
Why is the party foot-dragging on Wike? Is he now in PDP or in APC? Is he bigger than the party that he can’t be expelled or through the court process?
Wike is a member of the APC, a sitting Minister of an APC government. Wike openly campaigned against the PDP. You see, by their fruits, we shall know them. Don’t talk to me, it is your action that is important. By all intents and purposes, Wike is not a member of the PDP. However, if you remember clearly, just a few months to the election, Barrister Nyesom Wike, then the governor of Rivers State ran to the court to get an injunction to preclude and stop the PDP from expelling him from the party. If he was so untouchable and bigger than the entire party machinery, why did he do that? Whether we like it or not, Wike is Satan’s lieutenant who understands what certain buybacks will do. Maybe that is what reduced the propensity of the leaders of the party to do the needful. And because many of them are doves – men of peace (not everyone is a hawk like Wike), let us see whether he would come around. PDP is not a party of brigands. Wike by his elemental behaviour, unending vituperations fits more into the category and behavioural attitude and pattern of an APC member. Wike is APC. As for the party not suspending or expelling him now, I have quoted the court injunction but he has violated every other thing going forward.
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To borrow from my brother, Dele Momodu, if some of us were in charge, Wike will not have the moral rectitude to go on air to start talking about a party he so singularly in the past one year decimated and bastardized. Wike is not a member of our party. Where is the letter he wrote to the National Chairman? Wike coming out to ask for the expulsion of the number one leader of the party and the presidential flag bearer of the party and the recipient of the mandate of the Nigerian people as declared in INEC’s submission that we won 21 states and asking Atiku to be expelled from the party, Wike has crossed the red line and now, he should be ready. He has all the money to fight us back because we are coming at him like a thousand bricks. He has unleashed the dogs of war and we will not sit back and watch him ride roughshod over the party and majority of Nigerians like he did for 8 years over the humility of the Rivers’ people. That can no longer suffice. I am sure Wike went to Law School. I am sure he is a lawyer and he knows that ‘He who is ready for peace should prepare for war.’ Nyesom Wike has touched the tiger’s tail, let him wait. The only extensional advice I am going to give is that those who have employed his dastardly betrayal and chicanery in the APC should watch their backs! The rain may beat the leopard but it cannot wash off its spots. The spots speckled all over Wike are the spots of disharmony, betrayal, use and dump, messing up people, insults and lack of humility. He is a badly brought up young man who unfortunately has dealt with those who cracked his nuts for him. We pray to God to give him long life so that he will see that the Nigeria of the dream of our past leaders will.