To many political and social analysts, the claim by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, had orally promised to resign if the presidential candidate of the party emerged from the North, and the fact that he has refused to resign after Alhaji Abubakar Atiku emerged, really justified the ongoing feud between the G-5 Governors and the National Working Committee of the party.
Tagged: “Integrity Group”, which believes in justice and fairness, as well as, promise-keeping, many people, groups and organizations, especially from the South, have aligned with the G-5 Governors, insisting that Ayu should indeed resign for a southerner to replace him so that power equation and equity could be demonstrated by the leaders of the party.
From the G-5 Governors, the question in their mouth is: “How can the presidential candidate of a party be from the Northern part of the country and the National Chairman of the same party hails from the same region when two other major regions comprising South- West and South-East will be left in the lurch regarding national decision-making for the country?”
To drive this conviction home, the G-5 Governors have insisted on neither supporting Atiku, campaigning for him nor vote for him if the status quo remains.
While Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) have been threatening to direct their loyalists to vote for another presidential candidate if Ayu sits tight, the Director of Strategic Communications, Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign, Chief Dele Momodu, had recently declared that even if Ayu resigns and steps aside, the Constitution of the PDP only allows for another person from the same zone as Ayu to replace him.
To him, constitutionally, “The G-5 governors are asking Atiku to sack Senator Iyorchia Ayu, but he does not have that power because it is like Arsenal and Man U playing, and Arsenal win.
Then you say Referee did ojoro and that the Arsenal that won should go and sack the Referee. It does not work that way”. Momodu went further to say that “Atiku did not employ Ayu and so he cannot sack him. It is the NEC of the party that can do that.
And rather than doing that, the NEC of the party gave a vote of confidence to the NWC. So, what is Atiku’s problem with that? If the party says Ayu should go, who is Atiku to say no?
Beyond that, the Constitution of our party says even if you sack Ayu today, you must choose someone from his zone to replace him. Who in his wisdom, in his sagacity will sack a man in the middle of a presidential campaign? It has to take a mad man. “And they appealed to the G-5, but they have refused. As a Christian, I say, any leader who cannot forgive, I am sorry.
The Bible says you must forgive 70 times 7 times. What I see in the G-5 is somebody who wants to pull down the roof because one man lost an election. If Wike had been Vice President as he had wanted to be president initially, who will be talking about G-5 today?
“My advice therefore to Governor Seyi Makinde as one of the G-5 governors is that he should embrace the Yoruba virtue of ‘Iwapele’ and ‘Suuru’ (Temperance and Patience). I am telling the G-5 Govs that there is life after power.
Gov. Makinde has four years. If he mismanages this, and people of Oyo state turn against him, what shall it profit him? Before he became governor, he was already a man.
Wike has already completed two terms and he has nothing to lose. All other governors either want to be second term governors or they want to be senators. Makinde has a lot at stake”, Momodu said on Tuesday in Ibadan. Mr. Seyi Makinde would however have nothing of this reasoning as he appears hell-bent that Ayu must just go and leave the position for a southerner.
He further demonstrated this on Thursday when the Atiku/Okowa campaign train stormed the Mapo Hall, Ibadan , Oyo State capital for the presidential rally. He and his deputy (Chief Adebayo Lawal) refused to attend the rally despite that a former Oyo State Governor and the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Rasidi Ladoja, had reportedly brokered a truce between the two groups Wednesday night.
Makinde was however appreciated for bending a bit backwards to provide logistics and enabling environment for the rally to take place. He had told his loyalists who wanted to attend to go ahead, especially those seeking elective offices to the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate.
The State Chairman of the PDP, Hon. Dayo Ogungbenro, the Chairman, Advisory Council to Governor Makinde (Senator Hosea Agboola), and a few other party loyalists were also in attendance and were said to have represented the governor.
The decision to allow the above members attend was welcome by Atiku and other chieftains, as after all, the rally won’t be repeated and the face-off might eventually be resolved before the presidential election of February 25 and gubernatorial of March 11. You don’t cut the nose to spite the face, people do say.
The decision was contrary to the one made on January 4, 2023 when he directed all the contestants and his party loyalists, including the executives, to come for an urgent meeting at the Government House, apparently to disallow them from attending the ‘Freedom Walk’ organised by the National Mandate Group (NMG), loyal to Atiku Abubakar.
Makinde might have allowed his loyalists to attend the Thursday rally but refused to do same, for the reason that he be not seen as a betrayer to the other members of the G-5 who have not shifted their ground. Among the PDP chieftains that accompanied Atiku and Okowa (Delta State Governor) to Ibadan on Thursday were: the National Chairman of the party and former Senate Leader Senator Iyorchia Ayu, who led the National Working Committee of the party.
The Director General of Atiku/Okowa Campaign Council and Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal; Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, Ex- Gov Liyel Imoke of Cross River State, Celestine Omehia, (ex Rivers State governor), Bayelsa State governor, Duoye Diri, Senator Dino Melaye, former governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa State, former Deputy Senate President Namadi Sambo, among many others.
A former Minister for Mines and Steel, Elder Wole Oyelese, had on January 4 led Mr. Jide Adeniji, (former boss of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FERMA) and Director of Campaign for Atiku/Ifeanyi Okowa in the Southern Nigeria, former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, former Oyo State deputy governor, Barr. Hazeem Gbolarumi, Mr Femi Babalola (Jogor), the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State, Hon. Ladi Adebutu (represented by Chief Seye Sonuga), former Oyo State Environment Commissioner Majekodunmi Aborode, and many others on the Street Walk from Total Garden, Ibadan, to the ancestral Mapo Hall, Oja’ba, where they expressed their resolve to support and vote for Atiku, as well as, Makinde.
In spite of their political differences, Oloye Akinjide (daughter of late Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN), on Thursday, at the rally, still pledged the group’s support for Atiku, PDP and even Seyi Makinde to be voted, and change the national outlook of the country said to have been run aground by the All Progressives Congress (APC) through their ‘Change’ mantra. With the rigid stand of the G-5 Governors not to support Atiku in the February 25 election, many pundits in Oyo have averred that Makinde should be very careful in supporting Gov. Wike’s stand as the consequence of the decision might be more grave to him than to others.
A political analyst said: “What Makinde and his colleagues in the G-5 Group should have done to respect internal democracy of the party is for them to just leave the PDP and go to another party if they are uncomfortable with the party’s decision on Ayu. This is however late for Makinde as he is seeking a second term and he is the candidate presently. No member can cherry-pick for a party on who should be voted for.
They cannot constitute an authority over the party. It is a fact that Wike is one of the cofounders of PDP and he has not changed party since. Makinde is not. He just benefitted from the party and so he should tread softly. As it is being contemplated and heard from the grapevine, he is trying to negotiate with another presidential candidate to win the February 25 election, while that presidential candidate from another party would work for him to win the second term election on March 11.
“Going down memory lane, it should be remembered that such a formula failed to work in 2003 when President Olusegun Obasanjo hoodwinked the Afenifere group to vote for PDP in the presidential election and that the Action Congress (AC) governors then would be given an automatic second term.
Except Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos state who refused to be deceived, the other incumbent South West governors then lost to PDP in their respective states. “However, should Governor Makinde carry out the supposed plan, the booby trap from the national level will be suspension of the party Exco in the state, as such would have constituted an anti-party activity.
Aside from this, the presidential election would have come first before the gubernatorial election, and the result might not favour a reversal of decision. Such a risk might have caused the indecision of the G-5 Governors to publicly announce their resolve to dump Atiku as they have since been threatening”, the analyst submitted.
Another prominent chieftain of the party who preferred anonymity, has opined that “should the national body of the PDP dissolve the party exco in Oyo, constitute an ad-hoc body to midwife the election, and Atiku eventually wins on February 25 Makinde would still be worked for, but his government would suffer afterwards, And if his action contributes to failure of Atiku, he should not jubilate as PDP members here in Oyo will show him pepper. I won’t disclose our strategy now”, he said.
To stay afloat and secure his future political ambitions, and not just be on tenterhooks, the chieftain added that: “Makinde should just eat the humble pie and desist from blindly joining the bandwagon that might eventually not do him the utmost good. He is still very young and has the tendency to go higher in politics.
He should not get it wrong this early because any political party has power of supremacy over its members. He cannot eat his cake and still have it. He cannot stay in a glass house and throw stones. Others who don’t have much stakes like him can afford to do that, but not Makinde.
Though he is fighting a just cause, the party has chosen him as its candidate, and so, he cannot afford to bite the finger that has fed him, else…” the party stalwart said.