September 22, 2023

Celebrating Excellence & Integrity


Tinubu, Wike Meet in France as Atiku Seeks Rapprochement

*PDP candidate says party already addressing grievances

Okowa boasts PDP will win July 16 governorship poll in Osun Opposes Zamfara governor’s position for citizens to carry arms

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. Although 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.

PDP: We’ll Come Out of this StrongerNational Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said the party, as an organic body, would take practical steps to address and reconcile all aggrieved members.Ologunagba explained that as expected, “after every contest, there must be those aggrieved, but the PDP as an organic party will negotiate and reconcile all members. We will come out stronger.“We are not perfect, but PDP will come out perfect. We have the necessary organs that will unite the members and come out stronger. There will be negotiations and reconciliations of all members for the general good of rescuing Nigeria.”

Makarfi: Don’t Blame Wike for Feeling BadA former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State should not be blamed for feeling bad about the outcome of the selection of a presidential running mate, as he had been a strong pillar of the PDP.Makarfi, who spoke in an interview with some journalists in Kaduna, called on Atiku to meet with Wike and resolve any problem that might have arisen from the choice of his running mate.

The former governor said, “I won’t blame Wike for feeling bad, because he has been one of the pillars of the party. Let the presidential candidate, Atiku, sit down with Wike to discuss issues, because he is the only one that knows why he picked his running mate, the matter is resolvable.”Makarfi, a former National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, however, said he was optimistic the party would win the 2023 elections and bring back true democracy. He said, “We have learnt our lessons and we will do more than we did when we are in power.”

Makarfi stressed, “As long as elections will hold in 2023, PDP will win, but we need to work hard for us to win in 2023. PDP is set to bring back true democracy to Nigeria and we have learnt our lessons.”Reacting to rumours of his planned defection to APC, Markarfi expressed shock and said he was just hearing about the rumours.He, however, described the rumours as the figment of the imagination of jobless people, pointing out that he has invested so much time and energy in the PDP and would never leave.

Makarfi said the rumours might have arisen following the attendance of his son’s wedding (in London) by the opposition party.He stated, “Honestly, I am hearing this (rumour) for the first time that I am defecting from PDP to APC and I don’t know what can be the basis (of the rumour). Why should I make investment in terms of time and whatever you can mention in PDP and now decide to leave?

“Why should I go through the stress and just when we are getting it right, then I now leave the PDP for APC or any other party? What will be the attraction for me to leave the PDP? Well, people don’t approach me with such a rumour, because they know the type of person that I am.“If they want to come, they come to me with substance. What could be the basis? Because in every rumour there must be a basis! Is it because members of the opposition party attended my son’s wedding and that is the basis of that rumour?

“Even people of my own political party were all there. Is this the kind of country that we want to build? That because people from all shades of life attend wedding ceremony or burial that, they will now start flying rumour of defection?“The rumour is the figment of the imagination of people who are jobless. I am a PDP member through and through. If I leave PDP, I should be retiring from politics. And because you hold a different political opinion, then, you now caught off all relationship with people and you want Nigeria to move forward?“I will continue to stand by my opinion in PDP. I have stood by it long time ago and I will continue. People that have been gallivanting between PDP and APC are known. I am in politics in PDP on principle.

“If people are moving across parties because they want to capture power or they want to enhance their financial economic position or whatever, I am still in PDP and I will continue to be in PDP and this time around, I believe we are going to be in power, God willing, in Kaduna and we shall be successful even at the national level.”

Makarfi also frowned on the recent comments by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that he regretted nominating Abubakar as his running mate in 1999.He, however, added that it was equally unnecessary for Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustee (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, to respond to Obasanjo, the way he did.“What OBJ and Walid Jibril said were unnecessary and they shouldn’t have spoken in that manner. All we need now is how to move our party forward for the task of forming government in 2023.”

‘Defectors to PDP Have Dug Their Own Political Graves’Chairman of APC in Sokoto State, Alhaji Isa Acida, said those leaders of the ruling party who defected to PDP last Sunday had already dug their political graves. At a press conference, yesterday, at the party secretariat, Acida noted that the defectors were PDP moles in the party and the party had nothing to lose from their defection.

According to him, it has “become clear to all people of good conscience in Sokoto State and beyond that the reception organised to receive the so-called APC decampees into the PDP on Sunday 26th of June 2022, has passed as a non-event and a laughable affair.”He further disclosed that it was now obvious that “a battle line has been drawn between the APC and the masses of Sokoto State on the one hand, and the selfish political mercenaries and their pay masters, on the other.

Acida stated that the defectors were political wanderers, whose reception only ended in inflicting incurable political injury on themselves and nailing their political coffins. He maintained that they were happy to see the formal departure of PDP moles, whose assignment had failed and who in the end, shamefully went home with their tails between their legs.He said, “We know all the defectors. They are people, who have been rejected by their communities. They have no political value at state, local government or even at ward levels.

“Politics is like sports, where there are always winners and losers. Unfortunately, these are selfish individuals, who are only interested in their personal comfort, rather than the welfare of the people they claim to represent.

“It is instructive to note that none of the so-called decampees gave any acceptable reason, that attracted them to the unfortunate PDP bandwagon. None among them cited any tangible state government projects or achievements in any sector of human endeavour, because there is none. Rather, they only engaged in political irrelevancies

Okowa Boasts PDP Will Win July 16 Governorship Poll In OsunGovernor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State expressed optimism that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the July 16 governorship poll in Osun State.The vice presidential candidate of PDP also faulted the position of his Zamfara State counterpart, Bello Matawalle, that residents of the state should bear fire arms to defend themselves against rampaging terrorists.

Okowa spoke to newsmen yesterday evening shortly after a closed-door meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, AbujaOn his party’s preparation for the forthcoming Osun elections, the two-term Delta governor said, “A lot is being done. We look forward to the elections. I’m sure the APC would expect a stiff competition. We agree that they are the government in power in that state but they will be definitely expecting a very stiff competition from us. We are poised to take back that state.”

Commenting on Zamfara Governor’s directive for state citizens to take up arms, he faulted the idea saying though birthed out of frustration, it would have telling consequences for the overall security of the region.According to him, “I think they need critical thinking because you have to also be in a position to examine the recommendations being made. When recommendations are made and you have not thought through it in full about the consequences of such, then it is also a problem.

“It is out of frustration that such recommendations are being made, not doubt. But when you ask for everybody to carry guns you must ask yourself, are Nigerians in the mindset where every single individual can carry his own gun? You will be surprised that with every little argument people will just snuff themselves out.

“It’s a cause for concern when we hear that kind of recommendation. But the real thing is people are frustrated and he (Matawalle) is also frustrated to the extent that he thinks that is the way to go. I don’t think that is the best recommendation at the moment.”Okowa argued that with the insecurity biting hard, the government must address insecurity holistically, with a long-term strategy in mind.

He stated, “I think we need to begin to look into many other things. Yes, as a quick one, he’s calling for that. But there will be consequences. But we need a long-term approach to deal with insecurity. We need to look at the foundation of the problems that we have. A lot of hunger, joblessness, a lot of people are losing hope. And when you look at all these issues, it brings a lot of frustration. So, we have to address it holistically”.

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