Governor Udom Emmanuel has made a last minute effort to woo the five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party back into accepting the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar.
Some observers described the attempt as belated and dead before commencement, noting that the governor knew that Wike would not listen to him.
Some also said that Governor Emmanuel, who is the chairman, Presidential Campaign Council of the PDP wants it to be on record that he made a move to reconcile the governors but it didn’t work.
It could be recalled that the aggrieved governors led by the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike had vowed to endorse a presidential candidate outside the PDP’s candidate who they accused of destroying the party’s zoning formula.
The PDP aggrieved governors dubbed G5 have been making unprecedented and loud moves to announce a candidate from the South that they would support during the 2023 polls.
They had publicly denounced their support to Atiku for his insistence to retain Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman from the North as the National Chairman of the party.
The pendulum is swinging between the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that of the Labour party, Mr Peter Obi, but the guess on whom they would settle for remained bleak following their frolicking with Mr Tinubu recently and Peter Obi initially.
The governors, who include: Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Samuel Ortom of Benue State were of the view that both the presidential candidate and the national chairman of the party should not come from the same zone and that for equity and fair play the national chairman should go so that a chairman from the south would emerge.
Their grievances they had registered through their conspicuous absence at every presidential campaign rally of the PDP across the nation.
But, politics remains a game of interest. Everybody protects his interest and Atiku is not left out in the game. Atiku has never been moved by the demands or better still the threats by the G-5, because he must have weighed the two options and had decided to hold onto the retention of Iyorchia Ayu as the national chairman whom he believed would deliver the North for him at the 2023 election.
From every indication, Atiku is not going to shift grounds as he is working hard campaigning without the angry governors
But, the Chairman of the Presidential Campaign council recognizing the powerful influence of the five governors, especially in the South South, waded in to resolve the crisis so that the PDP will have a united front and better chance to coast to victory in 2023 election
Gov Emmanuel in a meeting with Gov Samuel Ortom in Akwa Ibom state governor’s lodge recently said the leadership of the party was open to peace with the G-5 governors.
He noted that the governors have structures and capacity and should not be neglected if the party wanted to emerge victorious seamlessly, noting that the rift has reached a point where sacrifices must be made so that there can be peace and victory for the party
Recognizing the importance of unity in achieving any purpose, governor Emmanuel said, “We all came in as a family, whether you like it or not, these are brothers even in the parable of the lost sheep in the Bible only one sheep got missing and Jesus Christ left the rest and went after that one, how much more when you have brothers that are up to five
“You turn around on a campaign platform you don’t see them suddenly you will feel you need them, these are people you started together, I think I still feel empty that we are all not together on a campaign platform
“Someone like me I am pursuing peace and I want peace to reign and once we can achieve that, our party will coast into victory.
“Governor Ortom made a statement and I am sure you listened to him. I agree one hundred percent with him. We are ready to make peace and I can assure our party that these are governors who have structures, and something to show, these are governors who have capacity. We will do everything possible to put the house together for the 2023 campaign.”
On his part, Gov Samuel Ortom noted that dialogue remained the key towards accommodating the interest of the party stalwarts, adding that the aggrieved governors never turned their back on dialogue and reconciliation when terms are met to fit with their interest.
“We have never said we have turned our back on dialogue and reconciliation, if the terms are met, why not, we will work if it fits in our own interest”, he added, insisting that disregarding them despite their respective huge support bases, was not the best solution.
However, shortly after the meeting, hopes were high that resolution and reconciliation were underway until the G-5 jetted out to London to carefully choose between Ahmed Tinubu and Peter Obi to endorse before the polls, though it was gathered that they did not reach a consensus on the candidate to choose.
Still undeterred by the adamancy of the G-5, Gov Emmanuel visited governor Wike in Port Harcourt.
Though Gov Emmanuel claimed that it was a brotherly visit on Wike but it was quite clear that his visit was in connection with the issue at hand.
Emmanuel, accompanied by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, held a closed-door meeting with Wike that lasted for three hours. The outcome of the meeting is still sketchy.
However, in an interaction with the Chairman of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Harry Udoh, he said Udom’s visit to Wike will not bring any positive result to the party, adding that the governor’s peace move is more of a personal interest.
According to him, “I don’t see any positive outcome from Udom’s visit to Wike. There are those who think the visit has more to do with his personal interest than with reconciling Wike with Atiku.
“Going by Wike’s utterances recently and his body language, it would seem like there is no love lost between the two, and Wike may not hold him at the level of regards that would enable him influence and sway Wike in any direction.”
Also speaking, a public affairs analyst and commentator in the State, Otuekong Franklyn Isong said that Udom being the chairman of the presidential campaign council of the party took the right step in the right direction stressing, “even the bible says follow peace and pursue peace with all men.”
He added that even though it was a good move by the governor, it was basically to be recorded for him that he attempted to make peace but it did not work as it was quite obvious that governor Nyesom Wike will never rescind his decisions until Iyorchia Ayu resigns which may not be possible.
Isong said going by the PDP’s constitution, if the National Chairman dies or resigns, the deputy national chairman from the same zone as the former will replace him, noting that even if Ayu resigns, the deputy national chairman from the North will still replace him.
He added that “even if Wike succeeds in making the office of the national chairman to be zoned to the South, what happens to the office of the National Secretary which is already in the South.”
He added that such matters were resolved at the party’s conventions.
He said Wike and his colleagues should accept the realities on ground and work with their party’s resolution or resign and stop the distractions.
Isong reasoned that the governors, especially those seeking to go to Senate may not come out well in a divided PDP in their respective States, saying that those seeking reelection should be focused and not join Wike who has nothing to lose.
His words, “The aggrieved governors or the G-5 are saying that the national chairman should resign so that the office will come to the South. My question is, have they studied the constitution of the party? That the office of the National Secretary, Chairman and other key offices are zoned?
“If you bring the national chairman from the South, what happens to the national Secretary that is from the South already? He should resign too? The PDP constitution says when the national chairman dies or resigns, the deputy national chairman from the zone the deceased comes from will replace him.
“It is a matter that should be resolved at the PDP convention and not two or three months to the election and election is one month away and there is no time to have the convention to ratify the offices.
“Wike saying that Atiku said if he wins, Ayu will resign is immaterial. Wike was simply being used by Ayu and Atiku to achieve what they wanted, they just played politics on him and told him what he wanted to hear at that moment.
“What he is asking for would only be resolved at the party’s convention. Wike should just be a good party man and work with his party or better still resign.
“Personally, I envisage Wike not accepting the move by Governor Udom.”
Asked if the stand of the G-5 won’t affect PDP’s chances of victory, Isong said, “what will be will be, power belongs to God and He gives to whoever he wishes.”