A number of supporters of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, have threatened to leave the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the run-up to the general election in 2023.
The Wike loyalists who are dissatisfied with the selection of Ifeanyi Okowa as the vice-presidential candidate of the party have sworn to follow Wike to any party he decamps to.
This comes a few weeks after the presidential hopeful met with Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso, respectively.
Obi, as you already know, is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, while Kwankwaso is the candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party.
Some Rivers State lawmakers who spoke with Punch stated that Wike stayed with the PDP even after others had left the party, and as a result, should be accorded favourable treatment.
A member of the House from Rivers State, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “As a matter of principle, those of us from Rivers State, I am not sure we want to speak on it for now. But the truth is that anywhere he (Wike) goes, Rivers people will follow him.”
The lawmaker when asked if people in the National Assembly would follow Wike, he said, “Rivers people will follow him but I will not want to come out to say that now until when everything is settled.”
Another House member from the state, Solomon Bob, said PDP would have been long gone if he had dumped the party as others did.
Bob said, “Those who are making claims now to the man’s labour, where were they? Where was Atiku? Atiku ran away. In 2015, he ditched the party and went to the APC because he did not want (the then President Goodluck) Jonathan to continue (with a second term in the PDP).
“He wanted to pitch his tent with his northern brother (Muhammadu Buhari of the APC). In 2019, before he came to run (for president in the PDP), he was in Dubai. After he lost (the election), he went to Dubai again. Only one man was left with the job and responsibility of rebuilding (the PDP) again and fighting for the unity and cohesion of the party, and that is Wike. Without Wike, there will be no PDP, I can tell you that.”
The lawmaker while speaking on the mistake Atiku did, he said, “Let me tell you: they have scored an own goal; Atiku has scored an own goal. It will be hard for him. Atiku is in a difficult situation. As they say in English, he is in over his head.
“Atiku is in over his head. He is fickle. The biggest asset the PDP has is Wike. Nobody in the PDP has the energy and the dynamism. You discarded your biggest asset, how can you win?”
Speaking on the statement of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Bob said Atiku should have reached out to Governor Wike before choosing Okowa as his running mate.
Another lawmaker, Dagomie Abiante said Governor Wike deserves more than the VP slot of the main opposition party.
Abiante said, “He has been a pillar to the party; he is the one speaking for the party and he speaks for the interests of the South. Okowa hosted southern governors across party lines.
“If you hosted them and they agreed that the president had to come back to the South if there had to be any change, it does not have to be from the person who hosted that meeting. There should be some level of morality in politics.”
The lawmaker added, “He had 237 votes (at the PDP presidential primary, coming second to Atiku), that simply means that 237 local government areas supported him. In the PDP, each vote represented one LGA. Is that not an asset?”