Wed, 1 Feb 2023

 

PDP Crisis: Wike, aggrieved PDP govs on sixth foreign trip
 
By: Cletus Sunday Ilobanafor
Sun, 16 Oct 2022   ||   Nigeria,
 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and three of his southern counterparts have for the sixth time embarked on a foreign trip, this time to Spain.

The other governors on the latest trip are Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Samuel Ortom (Benue), all of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The four governors posed for a photograph at the International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area early on Saturday morning before jetting out to Spain in a private jet.

Recall that the governor and the governors have been meeting within and outside the country on the current crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party.

While peace moves have been made in the past by the party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, the crisis has remained unresolved.

But a top PDP chieftain in the state, who pleaded anonymity confirmed the trip to our correspondent on Saturday.

Speaking on how the the four governors travelled out, the source said, “Yes, it is true. They left for Spain early Saturday morning, but I can’t say the reason for the trip.”

Recall that Wike had addressed a live media chat on Friday morning at Government House, Port Harcourt, where he made fresh revelations about the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorcha Ayu.

Wike and four of his colleagues including their Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was not part of the latest trip, are now known as the G5, and have been calling for the resignation of Senator Ayu.

Wike at the briefing said though they were not leaving the part, but that it would not augur well for the parry if they dump the main opposition party.

The governor also at the media chat said he will not back down on his call for Ayi to step down in order to pave the way fo a Southerner to succeed him as the pary’s chairman.

While noting that there will be no peace in the party if Ayu doesn’t resign, Wike said a situation where the PDP presidential candidate and Ayu came from the same zone did not depict for equity, fairness and justice

‘Why Ortom, Ayu disagreed’

Meanwhile, fresh details have emerged on the cause of the deteriorating relationship between Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorchia Ayu.

Until recently, the word out there was that the governor single-handedly handpicked the former Senate President and made him the chairman of the party.

A credible insider gave an account of what truly transpired behind the scene and why Ortom had aligned himself with the position of other four governors calling for Ayu’s sacking.

The source disclosed that when governors elected on the platform of the party met to deliberate on repositioning the PDP for the 2023 election, they agreed to zone the chairmanship to a state where the party had no sitting governor.

“The chairmanship was ceded to the North and all southern presidential aspirants supported this position, knowing it would make their claim to vie for the highest office stronger, given the principle of zoning as provided in the party’s constitution.

“The North Central geo-political zone which produced past chairmen in Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh and Ahmadu Ali was highly favoured to produce the chairman.

“This zone is made up of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa and Niger states. Among these states, only Benue has a PDP governor. So, some party chieftains from the North and South picked Ayu and started weaving a story of integrity around him, against what the governors earlier agreed on.

“Ortom was not keen on Ayu because he was part of the agreement with the governors that a non-PDP state should produce the chairman.

“But Ayu’s supporters said it would be good to listen to the man speak on his plans for the party. It was at the Bauchi State Governor’s lodge that he addressed the northern caucus of the party and pledged to quit if a northern candidate emerged as the party’s flag bearer,” he said.

He added that Governor Ortom started canvassing support for his kinsman and assured his colleagues that Ayu, being a man of honour would keep his promise in the event that a northerner picked the presidential ticket.

Ayu won at the Eagles Square, Abuja and named Ortom the Chairman of the zoning committee.

Although the Benue governor maintained his personal position that the presidential slot be zoned to the South, the committee members voted overwhelmingly for an open ticket, which later produced Atiku Abubakar as the standard bearer.

 

“This is why Governor Ortom cannot hide his feelings. He expected the man to do exactly what he promised, but that is yet to happen,” the top party official added.

In June, the Rivers governor travelled to Turkey where he met with his Abia counterpart and returned with him on July 2. In August, Wike jetted out to London where he reportedly met with the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar; the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; that of Labour Party, Peter Obi; and a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in company of some of the aggrieved PDP governors.

On September 3, the governor, Ortom, and Ikpeazu travelled again to London for another round of meetings. Twenty-one days later, he and the Benue governor returned to London on a chartered flight from Port Harcourt. On October 13, he made another trip to London where he had a meeting with the other aggrieved PDP governors before his latest trip to Spain.

 

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