PDP: Wike, Ayu in cold war of wits

Access Bank
Amidst public suspense over the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a cold war is brewing between the national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, over issues relating to the plans by the new party leadership to run an all-inclusive administration by reconnecting with estranged leaders of the party.
Sources said some stakeholders have however advised the governor to tread with caution, warning that his action, which was to protect his own enlightened self-interest, could cause a fresh crisis in the party.

The sources said one of the issues responsible for the crisis of confidence between the duo was the recent visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his Abeokuta, Ogun State, residence by the PDP national chairman with some former governors, which sources said, angered the Rivers governor.

The governor had reportedly expressed reservation on the plan by Ayu to lead a delegation to Obasanjo, ostensibly to woo back the ex-PDP leader on the grounds of political differences with the former president.

After the visit, the governor was reportedly not taken aback by Obasanjo’s open declaration that he had left partisan politics.

A source said “when Ayu disregarded Wike and went to Abeokuta, Ogun State but came back with a message that Obasanjo said he would never return to partisan politics, the governor said he was not surprised. He reportedly said the party was beginning to align with some forces that will be counter-productive to his vision of the PDP. So, a crisis of confidence is already brewing between Wike and Ayu.”

Another point of disagreements between them was said to be the attendance at the penultimate Friday rally organised by the PDP to receive defectors from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State.

The Governor, believed to be nurturing a presidential ambition, was reportedly not comfortable that some ‘old’ PDP leaders were assembled by Ayu for the declaration apparently to take a commanding position in the scheme of things. Some former ministers, governors and other high profile politicians of the party graced the reception for the leader of the Lagos4Lagos group to the PDP recently.

“Secondly, Wike is not happy that when Ayu came to the Lagos4Lagos event in Lagos, he came with some former ministers and ex-governors, among them, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Senator Liyel Imoke, ex-Governor Donald Duke, Kabiru Turaki and Dr Olusegun Mimiko. He believed Ayu is reawakening the old PDP and surrounding himself with old PDP elements. He complained bitterly,” the source alleged.

Though there were reports, at the weekend, that the governor may have set up a crack team to defend his interest in the light of the emerging power equation in the PDP, the team’s membership could not be established at press time.

“Wike has brought together some people and briefed them on how to tackle Ayu,” the source stated, adding that the fear in the camp of the governor is that Ayu’s attempt at reuniting influential members of the party ahead of coming elections would weaken his influence, especially given that some of the old PDP stalwarts were perceived as part of the problems of the former ruling party.

“Wike wielded great influence in the process that threw up PDP national leadership in the past, including the immediate national executive under the chairmanship of Prince Uche Secondus. Some concerned PDP leaders were said to have waded in, describing the development as unhealthy for the party and the governor.

“The people advised Wike to steer clear of starting any crisis with Ayu because people might perceive him as a troublemaker and too domineering. They reminded him that he was the one who brought Ali Modu Sheriff who became his arch-enemy.

Later, he shifted to Senator Ahmed Makarfi. From there, he brought Prince Uche Secondus against the general preference for Professor Tunde Adeniran. Later, he had a frosty relationship with Secondus.  Now, he collaborated to bring Ayu and wants to start a battle with him. They advised that it is too early to start any problem which may affect his political life,” he said.

Nigerian Tribune

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