2023: Atiku, Wike peace talks crumble, – As Ayu-must-go campaign gets stronger

BY EFE MODESTUS

There were strong indications, yesterday, that the peace moves between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential  candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, may have crumbled.

This is as Wike supporters have accused Atiku of not showing good faith in the reconciliation process.

Atiku had met with the Rivers governor last Thursday in Abuja over the crisis rocking the opposition party following his choice of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as running mate.

The duo, at the  meeting, agreed to set up a joint committee to resolve all contentious issues and report back to a larger committee of the party. However, five days after the meeting, it is not clear if the committee has be constituted.

However, a source close to one of the governors sympathetic to Wike told Daily Sun that the peace initiative might be heading for the rocks. He explained that the Rivers governor’s loyalists were angry that the PDP candidate invited four of Wike’s loyalists from his state to a meeting in Abuja.

“Those invited included a former senator and former member of the House of Representatives. If you are talking of reconciliation, leave out those kind of moves. Atiku is behaving as if he has already won the election. The other governors with Wike are of the view that if Atiku wants reconciliation, he should come out clean. He should not undermine Wike.”

However, a top official in the office of the former vice president said it was not true that Atiku met with Wike’s men in Abuja. He stated that the PDP candidate remains committed to reconciliation within the party.

“We don’t know where all of that is coming from. We need to be very careful. There are fifth columnist who want to profit from all of this. We are in  process of mediation. So, we have to be very careful. There are enemies also who do not want this thing to succeed.  But I know that the peace process is ongoing.”

Meanwhile, the party, yesterday, cancelled  meetings  of its National caucus and  National Executive Committee (NEC) scheduled to hold tomorrow and Thursday.

The National Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu, in a statement, said the cancellation was “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

However, Frontline Reporters gathered that the cancellation was not unconnected with the crisis rocking, especially the plot to oust the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.

The NEC, the second highest organ of the PDP, was expected to discuss the state of the party, including calls by some aggrieved party leaders for the replacement of Ayu. The NEC is the only party organ that can suspend a national official or kick off processes of his or her removal.

Plots to oust the PDP  chairman has been gathering momentum, recently, with party leaders in the South East and South West joining clamour for the replacement of the opposition leader.

An impeccable party source told Frontline Reporters that leaders of the party opposed to the continued leadership of the party are unrelenting in their quest to replace him ahead of the 2023 general elections.

A member of the NWC said some party leaders had admonished that the NEC meeting should be called off. 

“I can tell you that if the NEC holds, Ayu will be history because tension is still high. So, some of us advised that the meetings should be postponed till tension are down.”

Last week, some party members from Delta State, stormed the PDP National Secretariat to demand the resignation of the national chairman.

Regardless, a source close to the NWC said the meeting was postponed for two weeks, because the PDP presidential candidate would not be around on the earlier scheduled date.

He said: “There is no problem, we have to postpone the meetings because the presidential candidate is not around.

This is the first NEC meeting we are holding since our primaries and we need the attendance of all leaders.

“We had our BoT last week and we thought we could follow it up with national Caucus and NEC meeting. But we cannot have these meetings without the presidential candidate and many others . So we have decided to postpone it for about two weeks.”

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