Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday, absolved himself of blame for the manner the party’s zoning arrangement for the country collapsed, but instead, blamed it on Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, whose vaulting ambition ensured that the ticket was thrown open.
The former VP, also narrated how the governor’s machination led to the frustration of Peter Obi, out to the party, when he used his influence on the party machinery to seize the structure and install his stooges in various states, including Anambra, where Obi was supposed to be the leader, thus, making it impossible for the now Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate to realise his quest of running under the PDP.
Atiku, stressed how his stance on the zoning arrangement, which the party enshrined in its constitution, maintained that zoning, regarding to the 2023 election, was that only two zones – North East and South East, must be considered, with a proviso that if the party decided on the latter, he would not contest.
However, blaming Wike for upsetting the apple-cart and truncating the process, because of his vaulting ambition, he said it was the governor that threw his weight around and worked on the committee raised by the party to decide on the zoning formula to throw the race open which had dire consequences on the party.
The position of the former Vice President, was conveyed on Wednesday, via Danial Bwala, spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PDP-PCC), while appearing on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television, in a bid to put the records of events straight.
Emphasising the role of Wike, in Obi’s hurried exit from PDP, the former VP, said: “Before now, when the party was planning for the primaries, there was this internal advocacy for power to shift to the South and people felt it should shift to the South East. That argument started growing. It started evaporating at the point where Atiku said if the party was inclined to zoning, his position was that it should be zoned to the South East or North East, because these were the two political parties that had not benefitted and that if it was zoned to the South East, he would not contest.
“Meanwhile, Wike, who had interest in running for the President, started by ensuring that he removed Secondus before that time and then, during this advocacy and conversation, he ensured that the committees that were formed to deliberate on the party leadership as well as the structure of the presidential ticket, came out with a finding that would support his ambition. They came out with the finding that the chairmanship of the party should go to the North, because he was thinking that if the chairman went to the North, it was natural that the candidate would go to the South.
“When it came to the presidential, he ensured that the committee left the ticket open, because of the growing conversation that it should go to the South East when the decision is taken that it should go to the South. So, when Peter Obi saw that it was thrown open, he knew that he couldn’t challenge the gladiators in the party, and so he left.
“When you go deeper, you could see that in Anambra, Peter ought to have been the leader of the party. All you needed is to google and you’ll see how Peter Obi was frustrated by the command and control of Wike.”