Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party has set up a committee to pacify and woo the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and other aggrieved members of the party.
The initiative according to ThePunch was instituted by Atiku as the PDP prepares to go into the 2023 election with a united front.
It is believed that the opposition party has been rocked by an internal crisis since Atiku rejected Wike, who had been touted as his running mate and chose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for the position.
Prior to Okowa’s emergence, Wike had been selected by the party advisory committee as the vice-presidential candidate, but Atiku decided to go for Okowa.
Although Wike had promised to stay with the party following his rejection by Atiku, some of his supporters have dumped the PDP.
Apart from the former minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, who recently left the party, an ex-commissioner in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua and many others have also dumped the PDP.
As a result of the looming mass defection in the party, Atiku was said to have set up a team to pacify and fully bring back Wike into his campaign council, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
A party chieftain, who spoke to ThePunch on the matter said, “Atiku wanted to tell Wike about his choice of Okowa one-on-one but then, he heard that Wike had returned to Rivers. That clearly showed good faith. Even though Wike was not the selected candidate, Atiku wanted to accord him respect by letting him know before the news got to the public.
“Atiku has set up a reconciliatory committee to reach out to Wike and mend the cracks. Atiku understands the need to go to the 2023 elections with a united front. Everyone will be pacified. Not only Wike but every aggrieved person within the party.”
However, the initiative to make peace with Wike and get him into Atiku’s campaign may be heading for the rocks as some of the governor’s loyalists have dismissed the move as unnecessary, Punch reports.
Ogbomna Nwuke, a party chieftain and lawmaker in Rivers state has reportedly described Atiku’s reconciliation committee as a contradiction.
“On one hand, somebody says he (Wike) is one who talks too much, who probably is uncontrollable. And then, on the other hand, you want him to help your cause. You want victory and you think he can contribute to your victory. Is that not a contradiction? Nwuke queried.
“There was an attempt to draft a man who was not interested in the vice-presidency into the vice-president; a committee set up, the caucus spoke, the national working committee of the party spoke favourably about Wike and it was not honoured.
“Atiku did what he wanted to do. So what committee is he setting up again? To do what? It doesn’t make sense.
“When the convention was over, nobody showed him the way to Wike’s house. If he wants Wike to work with him, he should walk to the Governor of Rivers State and speak with him. We don’t need committees, what will the committee do? It doesn’t make sense to me.
“I don’t know why relationships shouldn’t be exploited. What is this committee thing? You have something else in your mind, you set up a committee to do something else. What is the meaning of that?”
He also stated that no matter what happened, Wike would not leave the PDP.