• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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PDP, what really is the matter?

May Day: Nigerian workers have never had it so bad – Atiku

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is today, flagging off his campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, the home state of Governor Udom Emmanuel, chairman of the Presidential Campaign Council.

The campaign is taking off amid internal wrangling.

Many observers are wondering whether it is Governor Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, that is creating the big crack in the PDP or the PDP leadership that is creating the big crack in the party by the way it is handling the Wike matter.

Despite several meetings held to resolve the prolonged dissension between some of the bigwigs of the party, including Governor Wike and the National chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, it appears the impasse lingers on amid campaigns.

It is believed that the crisis may work against the umbrella association if urgent solution is not applied.

Matthew Edaghese, a Benin-based lawyer, told BusinessDay that the damage the crisis has done to PDP is deep and that it would be difficult to recover because the foundation of the infighting can be traced to the deviation from the agreement to rotate power to the south.

“They have maintained that power should go to the south. So, when you force them against their resolution and you have given them enough reasons to continue to stick to their guns by the way Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, entered the fray to say that Ayu will not step down and went ahead to say it will be unconstitutional for Ayu to step down having been elected.

“Atiku, a candidate from the North, did himself a major harm by saying that the chairman of the party must come from the north and doesn’t see the need to give in to save his own ticket. It simply implies a tribal sentiment.

“Wike has not minced his word in saying that he will not accept Ayu as a chairman of the party, and he has stated all his reasons for the grievances. He has stated that these are non-negotiable terms and he is not ready to waiver. You notice how they have turned his abode in Port Harcourt to a sort of political pilgrimage center. The more they come, the more intense the quarrel becomes. He isn’t yielding ground, and he is not likely to yield ground,” Edaghese said.

The legal practitioner opined that Wike’s group are formidable and forms a very integral part of the party because they have the followership, roots and tenacity to do damage in whatever they perceive to be against their interest, hence the impact of withdrawing support for Atiku’s presidential campaign council might not be pleasant.

“From the look of things, I think Atiku’s group have decided to move on with the campaign without Wike and his group. But moving on is one thing, arriving at the destination is another. The capacity to deliver is apparently and obviously lacking in this PDP campaign council as currently constituted. I do not see how they can make any road in the South- South without Wike. They stand no chance in the South-West without Governor Seyi Makinde, Bode George, a chieftain of the party, among others.

Read also: ‘Wike is creating a crack that may consume PDP in SS/SE zones’

“The Atiku’s campaign has taken off on a note of crisis, and it is like a limping athlete going to a tournament against athletes who are physically fit and have trained enough with their eyes on the medal. So, an injured athlete is already disadvantaged before the race. That is the way the Peoples Democratic Party is now. So, like I said, they have taken off in the marathon with a limp and they are not likely to end well,” he said.

Speaking on a possible reconciliation between the aggrieved members and Atiku’s group, he said: “At this stage, what they will to do to cause damage is already manifesting. There is a Chinese proverb that says ‘Defeat may strip an enemy of his weapon but not the will’. What this means is that even if Wike decides to come in with his group, with the level of animosity displayed and demonstrated, I do not think anybody with the gift of insights will believe that the reconciliation is sincere. They might just be looking for a soft spot to bury their knives at the most unexpected time.

“You cannot have a crisis that is beyond reconciliation in your party, then you are promising Nigerians unification. The electorate will simply go the biblical way, ‘Physician heal thyself. If you are the messiah, save yourself’. If he is a unifier, then he should unify his party first because charity begins at home. If he cannot demonstrate the capacity to unify PDP – which is now obviously in disarray and plagued by endemic crisis- then the assurances to unify an estimated population of 200 million people is a mirage because no responsible or reasonable persons will take such assurance seriously,” he added.

Barely a day after Wike met with members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) at the government house in Port Harcourt, Bode George, a chieftain of PDP, while speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, harped on a united front ahead of the poll because a divided house is a “defeated entity”.

“What I gathered after the meeting was that the issues raised that were of major concerns to us have not been resolved, and the committee led by Adolphus Wabara, the acting chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), stated that they will continue with the discussion.

“Rightly, it is the responsibility of the BoT to wade in to such crisis and I am sure they will go back, convey their thoughts to other members who are eagerly looking for a solution to our problem. If they have not come to a conclusion, then it means it is still work in progress,” George said.

The PDP chieftain further said: “It is excruciatingly painful to me. This is not a major issue. It is the last hurdle for us to cross and we would be ready to meet the needs of Nigerians.

“The number one issue and it is a major issue. Let the national chairman, currently held by Ayu, decide today. And, if he drops his hat this very minute, you will see a turnaround in our party. All we are saying is, if you want to unify Nigeria, start from this little area.

“Atiku is the leader and must be able to appeal to his friends because we want balance. There is nothing else under the table. The major issue is to balance up this equity.

“This party was formed on a tripod, a three-legged body namely justice, fairness and equity. If you think our own voices are of no use, then good luck. You are not talking to party members but the masses who will look at you whether it is justifiable, can you be depended on and are your words your bond. This is the public perception of millions of voters.

“It is excruciatingly painful to me because he was part of the founding fathers and he knows the truth. You are defined as a unifier. This is a little problem because it is a microcosm compared to the larger country. You must be able to manage the resources, anger and differences to prove to Nigerians that you have the competence, managerial skills and matured enough to handle their differences.

“There are six top positions defined by the founding fathers of our party. The number one is the president, two is vice president, followed by the senate president, the fourth is the speaker of the federal house, while five and six are secretary to the government of the federation and the national chairman of the party, respectively.

“The number one and number six cannot be from the same area. In the interest of the future generations of this country; in the interest of so many other Nigerians who are looking for fairness, justice and equity, the onus is on our presidential candidate to talk to Ayu in the interest of balancing and equity; let him just drop,” he added.

Tunde Daramola, a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, in an interview with BusinessDay said: “I don’t know the age of Governor Nyesom Wike, but I believe he should be in his late 50s or so, there is no doubt that he is a performing governor, seeing what he is doing in Rivers. He lost the presidential primary election; I don’t think he should hold Atiku responsible. We have to move on, the issue can be resolved; it is a family matter which I believe the BoT would intervene. I don’t want us to continue to dwell on the presidential primary, Atiku has won, let’s move forward. The general election is here.”

According to him, “Wike had his man Secondus as chairman; it was the same Wike that pushed Secondus out for reasons best known to him. They encouraged and supported Ayu and now all this talk; we should not spend all our time on Ayu rather than campaigning for the general election. But I agree, PDP has a formula that when the presidential ticket goes to the North the chairman goes to South, but what is at stake now is to salvage Nigeria. I think winning is more important than Ayu’s resignation. If Atiku wins, we can look into the issue of moving the chairman to the South. Ayu has four years legally in office. It would be resolved.”