Wike attacks Atiku for criticising Buhari over skewed appointments of security chiefs

There appears to be no end to the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike reignited his feud with the party leadership yesterday.

He accused the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, of hypocrisy.

According to him, the presidential candidate has no moral basis to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari over the alleged lopsided appointment of security chiefs.

Wike said Atiku should first ensure there is equity in his party before faulting the President over a similar issue.

Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, is worried that the Atiku/Wike feud could harm the party’s chances in next year’s election.

To him, the PDP’s chances are slim with the persistence of the divisions.

But the Atiku campaign organisation dismissed insinuations that the group of five (G5) governors demanding equity in the party have left.

Wike wondered why it took Atiku over seven years to speak out, adding that no one would take the presidential candidate seriously if he does not first put his house in order.

Wike and the G5 have been demanding the resignation of PDP National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu because, according to them, it is unjust for him and Atiku to come from the same regional bloc.

The Rivers governor vowed not to abandon the party to persons he described as vultures, hyenas and scavengers.

Wike said he would not blame the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, for leaving the party following the humiliation he suffered.

The governor spoke when he led Obi to inaugurate the Nkpolu-Oroworokwo Flyover in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Thursday.

He said: “You were a member of our party, but you left our party and I know why you left the party. I don’t blame you for leaving the party.

“Nobody would have suffered the humiliation you suffered. I know. Most of you don’t know. Nobody will hear what you passed through and remain.

“I will not leave. I will stay here and I will fight the vultures, the hyenas and the scavengers. I am not blaming you.

“On principle, you should but I won’t leave this house. I will never allow armed robbers to take over my house. I am going to stay to chase the armed robbers.

“If you have not left, you would not have pursued your ambition to save Nigeria. That is his ambition, but whether he is the one I do not know yet. At the appropriate time, we will talk”.

On Atiku’s criticism of President Buhari over alleged lopsided appointments of service chiefs, Wike said: “ I hear people go to town hall meetings and say all kind of things.

“They say: ‘I will implement restructuring and make sure every zone will have a member in the security council; that it is not good for one zone to produce all the security chiefs.’

“But it is good for one zone to occupy all party positions. You see how we are. He said: ‘I will implement that every zone will be represented’. That is a town hall meeting.

“But Nigerians want you to start from this one. When you start from this one, we will know what you will do when you get there. Start from the party.

“Why are Nigerians so gullible that anything they hear they take? If you want to say I will implement this or do this, I will say okay this one you have now, start from here. If you cannot do this one, can you do the other one when you are there?

“Nobody should deceive us. There are many people who have left offices for years. You see those who are surrounding them, are broke. All they want to do is to have the opportunity to come back to power. Nigerians must open their eyes.

“Some people now are criticising Buhari for appointing all the service chiefs from the North. Why did they not challenge Buhari since? Election has come and they are talking. Who is fooling who?

“All these past seven years, you couldn’t challenge Buhari for doing that and now election has come and you want to win our hearts. We know ourselves. Nobody can fool anybody.

“Some people say they would form a government of national unity. It is not talking, start now to implement it.”

On the call to expel him from the PDP, Wike said nobody could threaten him to forsake the truth.

He added that person behind the call were those who destroyed the PDP in 2015 and made it an opposition party.

The governor challenged his detractors to a debate with the G-5, insisting that the group would continue to demand justice, equity and fairness.

He said: “Some people say they should expel me. Nobody in this country can shut me down.

“I have the right to say what I want to say. What concerns me? Sack me now. Am I looking for work? It is only someone looking for work that will be afraid of a sack.

“People should not threaten me. Those threatening me are those that destroyed PDP and made us lose the election in 2015. I stood firm in this party when this party was to die.

“What we seek is equity, fairness and justice. It is not personal to us. There is nothing anybody can give me now. With what God has done for me, why should I be afraid to speak the truth? I will continue to speak the truth”.

Wike said nobody would win based on tribe.

Describing Obi as a humble man, the governor said the LP candidate was not in the league of dishonest politicians, who were fond of betraying agreements.

He said: “I must confess that you are a very humble person. But that doesn’t mean you are the one to save Nigeria. You are a straightforward person. You are a man of integrity.

“I stood firm for you and your boss to win the 2019 election and it was in my state that the ruling party never had 25 per cent in the Southsouth.

“You must not sell yourself because you belong to a major ethnic group. Every vote in this country will count. Time has passed when anybody thinks he can win an election because you are from a particular place. Nigeria has passed that stage.

“We want a Nigeria where I have hope I can become anything tomorrow not because I came from a small place”.

Wike said Obi was free to campaign in Rivers, but that LP would not win any office in the state.

On why he invited the presidential candidate to the event, he said: “You are not a member of our party. Yesterday (Wednesday), Adams Oshiomhole of the APC inaugurated the Rumueprikon Flyover.

“Today (yesterday), you are inaugurating the Nkpolu-Oroworokwo Flyover. For us, it is not about inviting your party alone but about inviting Nigerians to see what we have done and what we are doing.

“You will tell members of your party that they should not drag anything in Rivers. The PDP government in Rivers has performed and therefore there is no need for us to worry.”

Obi said the next year’s election would not be based on tribe and religion but on character, competence and capacity.

He said: “Next year’s election will not be based on tribe. Don’t vote for me because I am an Igbo man. It will not depend on religion because no church buys bread cheaper.

“It is the turn of Nigerians to take back the country. Wike is showing his results now. We need people who are competent. The election will be based on capacity and ability to deliver.”

Addressing Wike, Obi added: “No doubt you have performed. You have worked for your people and for Nigeria.

“You have remained consistent in your position. Character, competence and capacity you have shown as a governor.

“What is important is among these 18 presidential candidates, who can fulfil his promises?

“Infrastructure is critical. I will change Niger Delta if I have the opportunity of serving Nigeria. You have restored Port Harcourt to its glory.”

PDP has a slim chance, says Fayose

Fayose fears that his party’s chances of winning the presidential election are slim with the crisis.

Speaking on Channels, he said the rift between Atiku and Wike was taking its toll on the party.

Fayose also said he would not insult the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, adding that he is a leader of note.

According to Fayose, Obi and New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, were like cancer to the party.

He said: “I am a PDP member and a leader in this party but you cannot survive a storm when you hide the truth.

“I don’t believe Peter Obi will make the needed score, but he is more of chronic cancer to the PDP. In the Southwest, I don’t see how the PDP will win in the Southwest, Southeast; the Southsouth will be a combination of all interests. Kwankwaso is also a semi-cancer to the PDP.”

According to him, most of the people around Atiku were not helping his cause by making the controversy between him and Wike intractable.

“Most of the people around the candidate are the reason why this controversy is not resolved. I have pleaded with many of them but they refused.

“This is because they know that if the issue is resolved today, many of them will be displaced. And that is why they don’t want that gap to close.”

Fayose, who admitted that the PDP has a problem, said Atiku should put in more effort to resolve the issue.

“I have never shied away from speaking to power. Something is wrong and that needs to be addressed.

“Reconciliation is not in mere words. Wike is not contesting to be president again in this contest, it is Atiku that is contesting.

“So, he needs more effort than what he has been doing.

“Majority of the people around our candidate have issues with Wike and that is why this crisis is lingering; they are discouraging the candidate from conceding to the terms of amicable resolution.”

“Wike’s demands are not personal; his requests are not personal. Politics is about give and take.”

Asked if he supports Tinubu, Fayose said: “I maintain that Asiwaju Tinubu remains a Yoruba leader of note, therefore, I will not insult him.

“If anybody wants me to do damage control because I said it is the turn of the South, I have no damage control to do.

“Let us discuss issues on who can fix this country. And let our party resolve its issues first.

“One of the grouses of Wike and his group against Atiku is that he should agree to do a term and by then he will be 81 years. They are saying that it will be unfair for the north to have 16 years of the presidency.

“Let our National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, give up his position for peace in the party.”

G-5 has not dumped PDP, says Atiku campaign

Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku campaign, Chief Dele Momodu, at a briefing, said the aggrieved governors would not leave the PDP without informing the party of their decision.

He said: “ I am not clairvoyant. I am not a prophet. I have no idea whether they have dumped the party or not.

“The day they dump the PDP, they will announce that they have dumped the party and we will all know.

“So far so good, they are still in the party and we are happy they are in the party.

“There is still room for reconciliation, all they are saying is that they are not happy and we will continue to pray that peace reigns in the party.”

Momodu, however, said the Atiku campaign remained steadfast and focused, stressing that nothing will distract the group.

According to him, Atiku proved his mettle in the economy when he served as vice president from 1999 to 2007.

“We had the best under that government and he was able to assemble the best brains at home and abroad.

“We are very proud of him and that is why he said he will continue from where he stopped.

“That’s why we have adopted ‘Recover Nigeria’ in our campaign message,” he said.


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