In what seems like a final push to put its house in order, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders are ready to meet with the camp of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike this week.
Adadainfo learnt that a delegation of party leaders comprising National Working Committee (NWC) members and members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) will meet Wike, and other aggrieved governors this week.
It was learnt that the bone of contention was whether the PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, should lead the delegation or not as of the time of filing this report yesterday.
However, this push for reconciliation, it was gathered, would define the final composition of the campaign council and the appointment of a campaign council chairman.
Wike and some of his aggrieved affiliates had insisted on the removal of PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; however, last Thursday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) instead passed a vote of confidence on him.
Wike and his camp, comprising some governors, had stayed away from the meeting sensing that Ayu would get a nod from the party’s NEC.
State governors in Wike’s camp are Samuel Ortom of Benue, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia.
Just after the NEC meeting, Ayu asked the new PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman and former Senate President, Sen Adolphus Wabara, to intervene in the matter.
Addressing Wabara at his residence, Ayu said, “Myself, the candidate, the NWC want you to reach out to Governor Wike and all the other governors and any other person who is aggrieved to plead with them to come back and let’s work together in the PDP family. If we don’t win next year, Nigerians will be very disappointed in us. The hope of Nigeria is in us.
“So, as the new BoT chairman with diplomatic experience, we implore you to use your diplomatic skills to reach out to all our aggrieved members and I am telling you that it is with our full support, including that the presidential candidate, and that of the vice presidential candidate who called me just 30 minutes ago before we came here, that you have our support and all of you in BoT will select and reach out to them. We are appealing that they should come back, let us work together.”
It was learnt that some party leaders had engaged an influential traditional ruler and some northern leaders to appeal to Wike and his team to work with the party.
The newspapers reported that Sultan of Sokoto met with Wike last week.
A party source said while Wike accorded the traditional ruler audience, he insisted that PDP chairman Ayu must yield his position to a Southerner.
However, as part of moves to woo members of the Wike camp, top PDP leaders, including former minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri; former national financial secretary, Abdullahi Maibasira; Eyitayo Jegede; Raymond Dokpesi and Eddy Olafeso have met with the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde.
Although the meeting was ahead of the South West Zonal Consultative Assembly meeting, it was learnt that it might not be unconnected with moves to lure him to accept the position of campaign council chairman.
Makinde had been tipped for the position earlier.
Party leaders were still deliberating on whether Ayu should lead the delegation or not.
“It has not been decided as the deliberation is still on. But at the meeting it was agreed that the chairman should not make public comments that will infuriate the governors. He has been asked to be mindful of not making comments and I think we already saw that when he met the BoT chairman.”
Another source said, “This meeting is crucial for many reasons, because it will enable the party to move forward with its campaign plans in earnest. We need to go into the campaign as a united house.”
The BoT chairman could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.
Reacting to the planned visit to aggrieved governors, the national publicity secretary of PDP, Hon Debo Ologunagba, said that while the timing of such meeting is left to the party to decide, consultations are still on going.
“The party’s presidential candidate will be in south west for consultation. The party will reach out to every stakeholder,” he said.
Meanwhile, a former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, has said Governor Wike is open to receiving members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP who plan to visit the state this week.
Speaking in Port Harcourt yesterday, Nwuke said considering the hospitable disposition of the governor, he cannot reject visitors coming to his abode.
He said: “The point is, if somebody is visiting you, you can’t close your door to the person. I don’t imagine that they will come to Rivers State without informing His Excellency, the governor, on their plans.
“His Excellency is a gentleman, who knows what it is to relate with others. Because of his hospitable disposition, definitely, he will not reject visitors that are coming to him. I don’t imagine that he will turn down the NWC.”