The political conflict between Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, continued yesterday with Wike threatening to help the party lose the coming presidential election if Ayu does not agree to a truce.
The governor stated that Ayu reneged on his earlier promise to resign as national chairman of the party if a northerner emerged as the party’s presidential candidate because of the N14 billion in the coffers of the PDP.
He described Ayu as an ungrateful person who lacks integrity, adding that since the PDP national chairman does not want reconciliation, he and his supporters were ready to help the leading opposition political party to lose the 2023 presidential election.
Wike spoke yesterday at the commissioning of Omerelu internal roads in Ikwerre local government area of Rivers State, which was performed by former PDP deputy national chairman, Chief Bode George.
The governor said: “Our special guest of honour, it is unfortunate that, today, somebody said where were you when we founded the party? That those of you who said the right things must be done were boys and children. Imagine what power can do?
“Imagine ingratitude; imagine how people can be ungrateful in their lives. I thought, as a chairman of a party who wants to win election, your business is to bring peace to your party; your business is not to divide the party; your business is not to show arrogance to your party.
“Ayu said we are children; yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party; the children who brought you from the gutter to make you chairman.”
Wike accused the party chairman of being arrogant, which he said would not do him any good.
Wike went on to address the absent party chairman before the audience: “Ayu, you were impeached as Senate President. Ayu, you were sacked by Obasanjo in his administration two times. Arrogance cannot take you anywhere.
“Now, we have seen that you don’t want the party to win election, we will help you – these children you said we are, these boys that brought you from nothing, I say, from nothing. Ayu, you said you founded this party but you left the party in 2007. You founded a company and you left the company. People stood and brought up the company to what it is today. You have no moral right to still come and claim that you founded that company. You left with your shares; other shareholders have come in.”
He hinted that Ayu lacks integrity for going back on his pledge that if a northerner emerged the party’s presidential candidate, he would step down as party chairman and yield the position to a southerner in line with the party’s constitution.
Wike went on: “If you want to chair a party that want to take over, you must convince Nigerians that you have integrity; that you are the driver that will drive the vehicle to convey us to our destination. That is the victory we are looking for. If the driver does not have integrity, if the driver cannot show honesty, how do you convince Nigerians.
“If now, you tell Nigerians something and you cannot do it, is it when you enter into power that you will do it?
“On your own, on your own volition, you are the one who told Nigerians; we are the ones who championed that the chairmanship should be zoned to the North even though some of my colleagues from the South refused. People like our leader, Bode George, is here. He is one of those who said this is what ought to be done and should be done.
“Ayu, where were you? You were sleeping in your house and was calling me every second per second seeking my support.”
He listed the governors supporting him against the party chairman to include Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Ekezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, adding that the attitude of the party chairman can demarket the party before the voters who would be wary of the integrity of its leaders.
“Nigerians have seen how grateful some of you can be and that is why Nigerians also want to be careful. If you give this man power, if you give these people power, are you sure they will also be faithful to Nigerians. As you make your bed, so you lay on it. It is not me.
“I have kept quiet thinking that we will reconcile. Now, you are showing arrogance to say that you were elected. Where did you campaign? Tell me where you saw his posters anywhere in the state even though we gave him money to print posters. It is a pity.
“I will not speak until after commissioning projects; I will tell Nigerians what you told us at the appropriate time. Nigerians will know the kind of characters that want to come into power.
“I am not interested in the charades. What I am interested in is fulfill what you said. Stop using Nigerians. You think you are too smart. No problem, Nigerians are waiting; Nigerians are watching. So, for us, let nobody bother, we are not people who are afraid of fight. When the time comes, we will fight and we will win.”
Wike further alleged that Ayu’s refusal to step down from the position of chairman may be dictated by the party’s monetary wealth, saying he needed to show integrity.
“Just of simple money we made from the primaries, about N14 billion; that is why (he) won’t resign. Nothing much, just N14 billion. Let me preside over the expenditure. That’s all. Integrity matters in life.
“Anything I say to you, I cannot go back. I will tell you I am sorry, I have made this commitment, even though it might not be the best but I have made the commitment. As a man of honour, as a man of integrity, I have to do it and that is what is called a man. It is not for you now to come using television, speaking in social media and BBC Hausa. If you like, speak in BBC Yoruba if you want to speak.”
He challenged the party chairman to ensure victory for the party in his home state, Benue State
“Go and deliver Benue first. Now, you said your governor is a boy. I don’t know why all those who left the party are those claiming to be founders of the party. I don’t understand. Look at people like Bode George, who have suffered but he has never left the party one day. Never! He has remained in the party since 1998.
“But people like Ayu, small thing, they ran away and joined Action Congress where you have a presidential candidate under APC today. You are talking to people who salvaged the party as small children because of N14 billion in PDP account. It will finish.”
Bode George Declares Ayu Immature, Insists He Must Go Before Election
Former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has said that the party’s national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, looks immature going by his utterances.
George, who is also former military governor of Ondo State, stated this yesterday while inaugurating Omerelu internal roads in Ikwerre local government area of Rivers State, which were constructed by the Rivers State government.
He said, “When a serving national chairman of our party is calling elected governors children; does he think that children don’t grow or there is a life perpetual for him? We need to watch our language. It looks to me that it is him that is premature.”
The PDP chieftain stated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration has negatively affected the fortunes of the country, saying that only restructuring will guarantee peace and security in the country.
George said: “Since 2015, insecurity has been rising geometrically, thereby threatening the unity of the country. Today, Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world is at a cross roads.
“There is no way we can guarantee peace and security if this country is not restructured. It is my belief that if this country is restructured the way that every locality controls the instrumentality of security, wanton killings of Nigerians will stop considerably.
“If our country is also restructured economically, no commissioner of finance will be going to Abuja every month to collect remittance in the name of monthly allocation.”
According to him, there is no nation in the world that becomes prosperous without becoming industrialised.
“Industrialisation is only achievable in the nation if there is constant power supply. In the last three months, the national grid has collapsed more than three times but the national greed of the APC government has not collapsed.
“Even the so-called fight against corruption is being guided by blind loyalty to their cronies and not in the interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigerians are tired and are waiting for our party in 2023.”
Rivers’ Voters Are Sophisticated, Won’t Follow One Man – Peterside
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has declared that the people of the state are sophisticated and cannot be unduly influenced on how to vote in the 2023 general elections.
Peterside made the declaration yesterday at Opobo Town, headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro local government area of the state, during a rally organised by a non-governmental organization, Reevas Progressive Front (RPF).
At the rally, which was attended by APC governorship candidate, Pastor Tonye Cole, and officials of the party, over 500 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by former chairman of the local government area, Hon. Boma Brown, defected to the APC.
He stated that, against recent claims by Governor Nyesom Wike, Rivers’ people know their real leaders who have their interest at heart, and not opportunists taking advantage of the economic situation to embarrass them.
Peterside, who is also the immediate-past director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), described the past seven years as one of the worst eras in Rivers State because of a leadership driven by selfish interest and unbridled ego.
He said: “There is no doubt that the last seven remain the worst in Rivers’ history. The ordinary Rivers’ man and woman were left out of governance while those in authority enriched themselves, appropriated the people’s commonwealth and shamelessly brandished even that which they stole before the people. Rivers people never had it this bad.”
The APC chieftain stated that at the appropriate time Opobo and Nkoro people would openly prove to Wike that they well took note of his neglect of the area.
PDP Moves On, Says Campaign Council Almost Ready
As the crisis within its ranks continue, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared yesterday that it is moving on with its programmes.
Noting that it remains united and solid to rescue the country, the party said its campaign council is almost ready and would be unveiled soon.
This comes as the party is set to convene its much-anticipated National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to unveil its presidential campaign council which had been stalled over the impasse between the Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike camps.
In an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the PDP national public secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, who denied the existence of crisis in the party, said party leaders are already looking at the bigger picture.
He also said the party cannot be held down by any individual.
“This party respects every member of the party. Even Governor Wike agreed that Nigeria is the issue. This party is PDP and not one man’s party,” he said.
Disclosing that all the organs of the party are working towards one goal, Ologunagba said, “We must be conscious of every interest so that we don’t miss it. We are carrying everybody along.”
According to him, the interest of the party is to fix the insecurity, the economy and other sectors that had been destroyed by the APC government.
“We are gradually getting to our destination. We have differences; we don’t have crisis. We have disagreement of choice. No crisis in PDP, we have differences, which is a human nature. We need to come back together to rescue the party. Leaders and stakeholders of the party are united on this.
“The party is solid and moving ahead with its programmes to rescue the nation. All the leaders have agreed and we are on the same mission. This party is on ground and solid. The party will win the 2023 elections. Will win majority in the Senate and House of Representatives.
“This party is for everybody. It has a constitution we are working with. We should focus on the big picture. Those who occupy the party positions should not be our concern now. We should look at issues,” he said.
A source close to PDP has, however, disclosed that the party will hold its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting next week.