Wike’s loyalists threaten defection as Atiku moves to avert PDP collapse
Atiku has moved to pacify aggrieved members, but many are threatening to dump the PDP ahead of the 2023 elections.
The politicians have said that if Wike defects, they will follow him and also mobilise other members to join them.
This is coming barely 24 hours after Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose criticised the party.
While Ortom criticised the PDP and the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for allegedly betraying Wike, Fayose drummed support for a southern presidency, saying it’s the turn of the southern region to produce the next president of Nigeria.
Why PDP members are angry
Pulse had earlier reported that the crisis in the PDP started when Atiku chose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate despite the recommendation of a 17-man selection committee that nominated Wike.
According to Punch, some members of the House of Representatives from Rivers State have condemned the choice of Okowa as Atiku’s running mate.
In an interview with the newspaper, a member of the House from Rivers State, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Wike’s loyalists would follow the governor should he decide to defect from the PDP to another party.
“As a matter of principle, those of us from Rivers State, I am not sure we want to speak on it for now. But the truth is that anywhere he (Wike) goes, Rivers people will follow him.
However, in a bid to douse tension in the party, Atiku in a series of tweets on Thursday, June 30, 2022, said efforts were being made to resolve the grievances of party members.
“@The Peoples Democratic Party will remain united. Focus on our actions. We are taking action to address the feelings of all party members. The unity in our community is my priority. Our resolve to unify Nigeria starts in our party and moves to the community, then on to society.”
“Every governor, legislator, and other elected officials produced by our party, and party members and loyalists, are much loved and respected by me. When they speak, I listen. I do not only listen. Appropriate actions have been taken, are being taken, and will continue to be advanced,” he tweeted.
Wike hobnobs with Atiku's opponents
However, the move to resolve the crisis has not gained the expected traction as Wike is believed to be hobnobbing with opposition parties.
Last week, Wike hosted the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, in Port Harcourt.
The visit took place a day after Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party visited the Rivers governor in Port Harcourt.
Although the purpose of the visits was not made public, Obi said he visited Wike to discuss issues of national interest.
Wike reportedly meets Tinubu in France
Wike is currently in Turkey on vacation, but there are reports that the governor has linked up with the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in France.
According to the Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant had visited Tinubu in France.
In a statement on his official Facebook page on Thursday, Igbokwe hinted that Wike, who is also on vacation in Turkey, had made a short trip to France to meet the APC presidential flag-bearer.
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