Atiku, Wike rift splits PDP, stalls reconciliation
The rift between the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, has continued to split the party.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that the former Vice President and ex-Rivers State governor were holding on to their structures in the PDP and working at cross-purposes.
Wike led the G5 governors which comprise Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and some other stakeholders in the PDP to work against Atiku in the 2023 presidential election.
The G5 group demanded the resignation of the now-suspended PDP national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to pave the way for North-South balance in the party’s power-sharing formula, a demand Atiku’s camp resisted.
Atiku lost the election to President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress.
Wike, though a PDP member, is now serving as Minister of Federal Capital Territory in an APC-led administration.
A chieftain of the PDP in an interview withSunday PUNCH revealed that organs in the party were split into two, with one for Atiku and another for Wike.
Speaking on the grounds of anonymity, the source said, “How do we reconcile? How can the party move on or reposition itself when the organs are divided? As we speak now, the party is divided. Just the way you have it before and during the 2023 election, a group for Atiku and the other for Wike.
“Some members of the National Working Committee are for Wike and others are for Atiku. The members of the PDP Board of Trustees are loyal to Atiku and Wike. The PDP Governors’ Forum that should direct the party is also divided, with some still loyal to Wike, others to Atiku, while a few neutral governors, he added.
The source further stated, “That is why the party appeared dead. The PDP can no longer speak with one voice because Atiku and Wike are still members of the party leading their camps to work at cross purposes.”
He stated, “Tell me, will Wike’s camp fold their hands and watch Atiku’s camp move to sanction their members? Or is it Atiku’s camp that will watch and allow Wike’s group to remain in the party despite what they did? So, how do you reconcile them?
“They are stalling reconciliations. And as far as they both remain in the party and working at cross-purposes, the party may not know peace.”
In an interview with our correspondent, the PDP Deputy National Youth Leader, Timothy Osadolor, said Wike had demonstrated that he didn’t mean well for the party.
He described as “unfortunate that the leadership of the PDP does not have the balls to push Wike out of the party for peace to reign.”
“Wike was a member of this party for over 15 years. During these years, he made friends that are in positions with various organs of the PDP. So, some of his friends allow emotions to override the cause of justice, Osadolor added.
On his part, the former special adviser to Atiku, Dr Umar Ardo, said the former Vice President was no longer commanding respect among the PDP governors.
He stated, “So, dealing with Wike in the party needs tact and sophisticated strategy, which the Atiku group seems to either lack or unable to implement.”
Ardo urged the Atiku to drop his presidential ambition for lasting peace in the PDP.
Also, the former PDP National Vice Chairman, South West, Dr Eddy Olafeso urged the Wike and Atiku’s camp to embrace peace and fairness.(Punch)