- Atiku Seeks Rapprochement
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike were yesterday scheduled to meet any moment in France, where the APC candidate was holding strategic meetings in furtherance of his presidential aspiration.
The duo were initially slated to meet in Spain, according to THISDAY sources, current realities with respect to Tinubu’s itinerary could not make that possible, hence, the resort to France.
However, as at 3am this morning, THISDAY could not confirm whether the meeting had indeed taken place.But the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, assured party members and supporters that PDP’s unity remained paramount to him as the party looked forward to taking power from the ruling APC in 2023.
Atiku, who spoke on his verified Twitter handle, noted that he remained a listening leader and would ensure that all grouses were addressed going forward.A chieftain of APC in Lagos, Joe Igbokwe, had hinted at the Tinubu, Wike meeting on his social media account.
Igbokwe wrote, “While they are on social media abusing everybody, Gov Wike goes to France to meet Asiwaju. Abuse, calling names, hate and bigotry are no strategies. They hated and abused PMB since 2015 and now they have transferred the aggression to Asiwaju. We wait and see.”The Tinubu/Wike meeting came in the wake of the Rivers State governor’s disinclination to go along with his party after losing both the presidential nomination exercise in Abuja and the politics that marked the nomination of a presidential running mate. He had not hidden the fact that he was hurting following the outcome of the exercises.
The current situation might have been accentuated by accusations by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, that Atiku was not doing enough to reconcile aggrieved persons within PDP after the pre sidential primaries.Ortom had, in a scathing criticism of Atiku’s disposition after emerging candidate of PDP, hinted that he was not sure whom to support in the 2023 presidential poll. The governor hinged his indecision on what he called the ill-treatment of his Rivers State counterpart, Wike, by the party’s leadership after the primaries.
Ortom maintained that choosing Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as running mate to Atiku in place of Wike, whom he said got the majority of votes from the committee set up to advise on the most suitable candidate, was unfair to the Rvers State governor. Fayose also alleged that Atiku “promised” to make Wike his running mate after he was declared winner of the PDP presidential primary election, but failed to fulfil his pledge after he got the party’s ticket.
In comments that clearly showed cracks in the opposition party, the former governor said, “If the party is now a one-man show, we will show them that we can resist it. We are with Wike 100 per cent. When they need Wike’s money and Wike’s support, they will say, ‘Wike is good enough’.“Wike has been injured, but we will remain with him. Whatever he does is what we would do; wherever he asks us to go is where we will go.”Recall also that on Wednesday, 11 PDP governors were absent at the inauguration of the Osun State national campaign council ahead of the state’s governorship election, sparking insinuations that the party may be in crisis.
Reacting on his verified Twitter handle, Atiku noted, “The @OfficialPDPNig 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 onto society.”The PDP presidential hopeful explained that he would continue to listen to all party stalwarts.
He said, “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. ”Wike’s current posture is in sharp contrast to his repeated vow never to leave or work against PDP. Since losing the vice presidential nomination to Okowa, he has been openly frolicking with presidential candidates of other parties. His anti-party activities climaxed days ago, when his associates started to openly grant interviews about how badly he was treated, declaring that Wike will never support Atiku’s presidential bid.
An observer, who pleaded not to be named, expressed dismay at Wike’s behaviour, describing it as “reprehensible, self-destructive and thoroughly shameful”. The source stated regarding Wike, “He wants to pull down the party because of his selfish ambition. He wants to ruin and is ruining PDP’s best chance of returning to power. It is really a shame that these men are merely driven by self-interest and not collective interest.
“Fayose, Ortom are aiding and abetting the shocking campaign to destroy their party. In actual fact, Wike’s current anti-party behaviour is reinforcing the reason he was not selected as vice presidential candidate, that he would have been a risky pick.”The source alleged that contrary to the claims that Wike meant well for the party, it only went as far as he had his way controlling the party for his own self-interest. “
Continuing, the source alleged that even if Wike were to remain in PDP, he has already done incalculable damage to his stature and credibility in the party. ”While Wike continues to fume, in contrast when Atiku lost the APC presidential primary for the 2015 general election, placing third, behind Rabiu Kwankwanso, the two men rallied with other members to deliver victory to Buhari. None resorted to anti-party activity or embarked on meetings with opposition party members or swore not to support Buhari, the party’s presidential candidate, who eventually went on to win the presidential election in 2015.