The long running infighting in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took another turn yesterday after the party accused the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, of directing his political appointees, local government chairmen and PDP ward leaders to work for the presidential candidate of the rival All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the coming general election.
This is as it said it was “appalling and highly preposterous” for Wike to assume that the PDP and APC could jointly hold an event at the same venue.
The party spoke yesterday in a letter addressed to the governor, in response to a letter addressed to the director-general of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, revoking the approval given to the party to use Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for its campaign rally.
The letter entitled: ‘RE: Withdrawal of use of Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for our Presidential Campaign Rally’ was signed by the director, Rivers State PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, on behalf of Tambuwal.
It reads in part: “You stated that credible intelligence available to the Government of Rivers State and recent developments now show that our presidential campaign organisation is working in collaboration and cohort with a faction of the APC in Rivers State led by Tonye Patrick Cole and that it is the intention of our campaign organisation to accommodate and share the approved facility for our campaign with the said faction of the APC.
“That the PDP Presidential Campaign Council has nothing whatsoever to do with the APC in Rivers State. That it is appalling and highly preposterous for you or anyone to assume that the PDP and APC could jointly hold an event at the same venue.”
The PDP further said it had received credible information that Wike had directed all Local Government Council Chairman, Special Advisers, Commissioners, Party Executives at the state, local governmen, and ward levels, and all other appointees to work for the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu even though the Rivers governor had not had the courage to announce same to the people of the state.
The letter went on: “Your general public utterances, innuendos and conduct have pointed to the fact that you are bent on frustrating and, if possible, preventing the emergence of the PDP presidential candidate, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa, as the next president of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Finally, your involvement in the so-called G-5 is the height of anti-party activity. It is therefore surprising that you are now accusing us of hobnobbing with the APC faction in River State.”
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that Governor Wike, four other governors and some party chieftains have been in dispute with the party’s leadership and presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar since the outcome of the party’s presidential primary which Wike lost to Atiku.
We Didn’t Stop Your Rally, Rivers Governor Replies
But Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has clarified that the Rivers State government did not stop the PDP presidential campaign in the state, but that it cancelled approval given for the use of Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council in order to safeguard the facility from vandalisation.
Wike gave the clarification yesterday at Degema Town during the flag-off rally of the Rivers State PDP campaign for Degema local government area of the state.
The governor described the claim that Rivers State government does not want PDP Presidential Campaign Council to campaign in the state as erroneous, since the state had earlier given approval to the party to use the stadium at no cost.
He said, “Don’t say we stopped them from holding a rally, we didn’t. They applied to me and I gave (Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium) them. They now went back and began to meet with the faction of the opposition, and you know that the opposition has never held any rally without violence.
“And I said I cannot joke with Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium. Since we have this intelligence we will not allow it. Did anybody force us to give them before? Are we not the ones who gave them? Did they pay money? Go and see the place. I know they are happy because they know there is no way they can fill that stadium. Instead of them to say thank God for covering our shame.”
Wike declared that the unit-by-unit mobilisation of voters adopted by the PDP in the state is one of the strategies that will make it difficult for security agencies to rig the 2023 general election in the State.
State Party Leaders Back Wike Against Atiku
Meanwhile, the PDP in Rivers State has declared its support to the decision of Governor Nyesom Wike to withdraw the approval given to the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to use the Adokiye Amesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt for campaign rally.
The party, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by the spokesman of the Consolidation for New Rivers Vision Campaign Council, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke, stated that Rivers people cannot collude with persons who do not share their aspiration for a stable and better society.
The statement reads in part: “The Almighty God will continue to expose all who hate Rivers State. Which is why the collaboration of the Presidential Campaign Council of the PDP with a violent faction of the APC, which is behind attempts to distort the peace in an otherwise peaceful State, has been revealed.
“We thank Governor Nyesom Wike for taking urgent steps to deny the Atiku team the use of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium. Recall that on the 11th of January 2023, the governor had graciously released the facility to the presidential candidate of the PDP for free.
“We believe that the decision to approve the stadium for use by the Presidential Campaign Council of the PDP was borne out of the conviction by Governor Wike that it is equitable and germane to give a fair chance to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his supporters to access the government facility.
“But we are shocked that in obtaining permission to use the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, those who ought to appreciate the kind gesture of the Rivers State Government are conniving with a faction of the APC that has become notorious for carrying guns and other dangerous implements to attack defenseless citizens.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is proving by the day, through words and deeds, to be an unrepentant enemy, not just of ordinary Nigerians, but also of the Rivers people.”
22 APC Governors Behind Tinubu – El- Rufai
Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai yesterday declared that the 22 state governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are solidly behind the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The governor, who spoke while featuring on a political-cum-current affairs programme on a television station, TVC, said: “As we speak today, all the 22 governors of the APC, including those that contested the primaries, are solidly behind the candidacy of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and we are doing all we can to see that he succeeds.”
He said their support for Tinubu was in the spirit of doing what is fair and just.
The governor also reiterated his claim that some persons in the presidency are frustrating the Presidential quest of Tinubu, hiding behind president’s name to push a narrative.
According to the Kaduna governor, the elements in the villa wanted a different candidate.
He further stated that because he had a close relationship with the president and could ascertain the situation of things directly from him, he became their enemy.
The governor, who declined to unmask the “elements in the villa,” said they will be defeated eventually, and that they had already been defeated when they wanted to install their members in the National Working Committee of the party as well as their preferred presidential candidate.
He said the emergence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was backed by the President Muhammadu Buhari, was an indication that the next president must come from the South.
He added that the president backed the emergency of a southern president after him.
The governor however said concerns emerged within the party when “some elements in the villa” started urging some northern governors and senior party members to pick presidential nomination forms.
He said some of them went back to the president over the matter and he insisted that his position had not changed with regards to a southerner succeeding him.
El-Rufai said there were members of the APC who wanted the presidency to be retained in the North after Buhari, but that the APC northern governors had insisted that the agreement to move the presidency to the south must prevail.
The governor added that some southern aspirants were mentioned, including the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, and others but that they couldn’t reach a compromise because some northerner aspirants like Governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State were on the ballot.
He said North West governors met and after several meetings agreed to support Tinubu as a zone, and other zones followed.
PMB Unequivocally Committed To Tinubu’s Victory – FG
Meanwhile, in the ruling APC, the federal government has said President Muhammadu Buhari is fully backing the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ,to win the 2023 general elections.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the clarifications in his opening remarks at the 22nd PMB Administration Scorecard in Abuja.
Mohammed noted that President Buhari is actively participating in APC’s campaign and that he is not equivocating in his support for Tinubu.
He said, “Let me use this occasion to make a quick clarification. Yesterday, while reacting to a question at the post-FEC briefing at the State House, I said, inter alia, that Mr. President is committed to a free, fair, and credible elections, and that he is doing everything possible to ensure a level playing field for all contestants.
“This comment has been misinterpreted in some circles, especially with regard to Mr. President’s support for the presidential candidate of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Well, I want to say, unequivocally, that Mr. President is in total support of our party’s flagbearer, and that is attested to by his continuing campaign with the candidate across the country.”
According to the information minister, it is preposterous to even suggest that the president, who is the leader of APC “is equivocating on his support for our presidential candidate.” (Leadership Newspaper)