The need to give the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, adequate time to correct “a big anomaly” in the party before the February polls is the reason five aggrieved governors elected on the platform of the party are open to reconciliation, Saturday PUNCH can authoritatively reveal.
The governors, Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia states are demanding the resignation of National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, on the grounds that the party cannot have a presidential candidate and its chairman from the same regional bloc.
Although they (aggrieved governors) have successfully inaugurated their respective campaign councils, the governors alongside their loyalists have been consistent in their stand that reconciliation is possible in the interest of the party if only the right thing is done.
The governors, this medium learnt, did not have personal axe to grind with Atiku and were said to be considering working with him if only Ayu would tender an unreserved apology to them given his failure to keep his promise that he would quit his post if a northerner emerged the PDP presidential candidate.
A source who works closely with one of the aggrieved governors told Saturday PUNCH that “the governors are aware of the implication of teaming up with a presidential candidate of another party. They are not blaming Atiku much even though they believe he could have done more.
“The problem is Ayu who made a promise but reneged on it. I think things would change if the man (the national chairman) can be diplomatic in his speeches. It takes nothing from him to just apologise to these governors for peace to reign,” he said.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that following the group’s declaration of readiness to embrace peace recently, Atiku called on his loyalists to reach out and negotiate with them in a bid to have them return to the fold of the campaign council.
Confirming this development, the Media Adviser to the former Vice President, Mr. Paul Ibe told our correspondent that the PDP presidential candidate had already activated a mediation team to work at brokering peace between the two parties.
He said, “When the aggrieved governors said they were open to reconciliation, we issued a statement in which His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, welcomed the idea and reiterated his commitment to mediation. As we speak, a lot of engagements are going on but we don’t want this to be a media thing.
“Talks are ongoing and we are very sure this crisis will be over and everyone, including the G-5, will come on board and join the campaign council before the February election.”
Meanwhile, an associate of Governor Ortom who does not want his name in print has blamed what he called the arrogance of Ayu in the crisis that had lingered for months.
According to him, the crisis would have been over by now if the former Senate President had been humble enough to reach out to the aggrieved party and talk less.
He said, “Ayu is the reason the party is still talking about reconciliation efforts till now. Governor Ortom called him and said, ‘Chairman, you should be happy that I am part of the G-5’. He promised to take him round to see his colleagues. But Ayu’s utterances have made reconciliation difficult. The man is too arrogant.
“He speaks as if he is the only one that went to school. You know he once called the governors children, who were not there when they formed the party. When he attends public functions, he speaks in a manner no party leader would talk. APC chairman, Abdullahi Adamu will not speak of their governors like that no matter how much they disagree with him.
“Are the governors ready to sheathe their swords? I will say yes. However, the national chairman should be mindful of his utterances. As an elder, he must learn how to stay calm.”
The Board of Trustees of the party empanelled a seven-man committee to wade into the crisis a few months ago.
Their recommendations that Ayu should commit to quit after the elections was neither accepted by the chairman nor the Wike-led group.
Also, the resignation of ex-BoT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, to pave the way for the emergence of Adolphus Wabara failed to assuage the governors who insisted that Ayu’s seat must go to the South.
Similarly, the reconciliation efforts by former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, have not been able to calm frayed nerves.
All these prompted Atiku to move on with his campaigns even as some of his loyalists have continuously insisted that only Ayu could decide what to do with the promise he made while canvassing for votes before the convention that brought him to power.
Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday said some party support groups in the state are a vehicle for thuggery and cult activities sponsored by disgruntled politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Wike’s remarks follow reports that about 30 members of the Atiku Support Organisation were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in the state capital.
The governor, in a state broadcast, called on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the state, which he said are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
“We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores,” he said.
“Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.”
The governor also called attention to the presence of “desperate politicians” whom he said are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
“I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
“Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State,” Wike added.
See the full transcript below:
STATE BROADCAST BY
HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, CON, GSSRS, POS
ON THE RISING CULTISM AND RELATED
ACTIVITIES ACROSS RIVERS STATE
My dear people of Rivers State
The 2023 general elections are less than three weeks away. Political activities are in top gear, with political parties and candidates intensifying campaigns across the State.
2. We are happy with the generally peaceful campaigns except for the few isolated reported incidents of violence by sponsored rival cults, gangs and support groups in one or two political rallies.
3. We commend the security agencies for providing adequate security cover for all the political parties to carry on with their electioneering activities, including crowded rallies and meetings.
4. The State Government will continue to support the security agencies to sustain the prevailing atmosphere of peace and security for voters to exercise their voting rights without fear or intimidation before, during and after the elections.
5. I assure you that there is nothing to fear as the State government and the security agencies will spare no effort to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure for citizens to go about their normal daily activities.
6. However, we, again, call on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the State, which are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
7. We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores.
READ ALSO: Atiku: Rivers PDP Takes Swipe On Wike
8. Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.
9. We are also aware that desperate politicians are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
10. I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
11. Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.
12. Anyone with useful information about the camps, gatherings, plans and activities of these criminal elements and their sponsors should forward it to the security agencies for action.
13. I wish to restate that no amount of syndicated misinformation, campaigns of calumny, and diatribes by a section of the media and the political elites will deter the State Government from enforcing the laws of the State against those who vainly claim to be above them.
14. Unlike other States, we have refrained from using the State’s Neighbourhood Corps to enforce law and order by allowing the regular security agencies to do their constitutional work.
15. We pray we may not be forced to reconsider this position if the security agencies continue to encourage and offer protection to some politicians and party leaders to wantonly breach our laws.
16. Thank you, and may God bless Rivers State.
Tinubu’s Men Attack PDP Over N22.5bn Vote-buying Claim
The ruling All Progressives Congress has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party to provide Nigerians with evidence of the N22.5 billion stashed old notes that it alleged the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is desperately seeking to convert into new ones in Kano State.
This is even as the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council wrote off the claim as a silly figment of the imagination of the opposition party.
The PDP had claimed in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday that it received intelligence that Tinubu and some party leaders are striving to swap the alleged money to facilitate its vote-buying plans ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, further disclosed that the PDP was convinced about the earlier notion that the APC in conjunction with some APC governors is responsible for the biting cash scarcity currently rocking the country.
Ologunagba said, “The party is aware that the N22.5 billion in old N1000 notes was allegedly kept in a Kano State Government facility before being moved to a particular old generation and a certain new generation bank where the regional heads were contacted by the APC presidential campaign to swap the old notes with new ones.
“Further information revealed that the cash is being warehoused by the Tinubu campaign for alleged vote buying in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Sokoto States. A particular APC state governor is reported to have taken delivery of N500 million new Naira notes to actualize the vote buying plot.”
When contacted, the Chief Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, stated that it would be a waste of time to reply to the allegation.
“I have only one sentence for that. It is an irresponsible statement that does not deserve a response,” he said.
The PCC Director of Media and Communication, Bayo Onanuga, debunked the report, saying the PDP is living up to its fame of coming up with frivolous claims.
He challenged the leadership of the opposition party to cut to the chase by providing concrete evidence to back up its claim.
He stated, “Let them provide the evidence if they uncovered such. It is not enough to dish out cock and bull stories in the name of press Releases. Making senseless allegations every passing day which has become the hallmark of the PDP campaign is not how to win the election.
“Nigerians can’t forget a party of people that looted over $ 2 billion dollars meant for arms procurement when Boko Haram was killing our citizens and almost took over three states in the northeast.
“We challenge PDP to bring out any evidence of their latest allegation otherwise the party of looters should hide its ugly face in perpetual shame.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Director of APC, Bala Ibrahim, urged the PDP to head to the court, security agencies and regulatory bodies like the Independent National Electoral Commission instead of its usual media trial.
“Why issue a statement when you can prove your case in a competent court of law or a regulatory agent like INEC? There are statutory ways of dealing with it.
“I don’t know why people avoid using the court or investigative agencies to make their point. If they have proof, let them tender it. That’s why the courts, security agencies, and national financial units like EFCC and ICPC are there.
“It is obvious the PDP is seeing the sign of defeat and merely trying to rock the boat by coming up with all sorts of allegations to get public sympathy,” he stated.
Tinubu: APC Announces Indefinite Postponement Of Campaign Rally In Oyo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has postponed its presidential rally in Oyo State following the protests rocking the state.
The party made this announcement on Monday.
DAILY POST reports that the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been billed to visit Ibadan on Tuesday in continuation of his presidential campaign.
The party, however, said it will no longer be holding the campaign rally as earlier planned.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Oyo State, Wasiu Olawale Sadare, confirmed the postponement.
Sadare in a short statement made available to journalists on Monday noted that the postponement became necessary in view of the crisis caused by the scarcity of new naira notes and petroleum.
Sadare in the statement sent to DAILY POST in Ibadan said, “We regret to announce the indefinite postponement of our presidential rally earlier slated for tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The decision was taken, apparently, in consideration to the prevailing challenges facing the people and the need to allow President Muhammadu Buhari work around the situation and ensure that normalcy return particularly as it concerns fuel and currency notes crisis”.
Court Stops PDP From Suspending, Expelling Governor Wike
Naira Scarcity: Fashola Advises CBN What To Do
Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike
Communal Clash Claims Seven, Injures Scores In Delta
BREAKING: COVID-19 Heath Workers Block Hospital Management Board’s Entrance, Demand Payment Of Allowances In Edo
Edo Guber: ‘Oshiomhole’s Triumphant Entry Has Left You In Trauma, Demoralised,’ APC Mocks PDP
Headline1 week ago
UK Lists Priority Subjects For Immigrating Teachers
Business1 week ago
BREAKING: CBN Extends Old Naira Deadline
News5 days ago
Dukes In Benin Distance Self From Constitution Of Edo South Traditional Council
Metro1 week ago
DPO Slumps, Dies
Politics6 days ago
Ondo APC, PDP, SDP Chieftains Defect To LP
News7 days ago
JUST IN: Banks Will Still Accept Old Notes After Deadline – Emefiele Tells Reps
Education5 days ago
JAMB Speaks On Extension Of 2023 UTME Registration Deadline
Politics4 days ago
2023: Court Orders INEC To Accept Labour Party Candidates In 24 States