• Okowa: PDP already mending fences, issue of my certificate politically motivated
• We won’t beg Wike, says PDP BoT member who met Rivers governor in Turkey
• Drop Okowa as running mate, lose Igbo votes, Ohanaeze youths warn Atiku, PDP
It is still uncertain times in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as delay in reconciling post-convention crisis has affected preparation for Osun State governorship election and the 2023 general elections. The absence of the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and national chairman, Prof. Iyorchia Ayu, is slowing reconciliation moves.
The post-primaries face-off, which was aggravated by the manner the party announced its vice presidential candidate, had continued to get worse.
The PDP said, yesterday, that the peace moves to pacify aggrieved leaders has been put on hold pending the return of Atiku and Ayu. Atiku travelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) three weeks ago and is yet to return.
Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Walid Jibrin, in a telephone interview, said though a committee has been put in place to resolve the crisis, nothing meaningful can be achieved until Atiku returns to the country.
Jibrin insisted that the BoT had already set up a high-level committee, to be led by Atiku and 13 governors of the party to meet with the aggrieved politicians, particularly the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and his supporters. The Rivers governor lost to Atiku in the May primary election.
It was further gathered that other strategic decisions with regards to the campaigns ahead of the general elections would be sorted out.
“There are many issues relating to campaign strategies, including setting up of committees to handle vital aspects that have been pending. We can’t do anything on these until the presidential candidate is around.”
This is attested to by Okowa who said his party is already mending fences ahead of next year’s presidential elections. He said issues within the party that are capable of jeorpadising its chances on the ballot are being identified and tackled.
He added that consultations, negotiations and interaction currently ongoing are part of the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism and what seems like a disagreement between major stakeholders in the party is normal within a democratic institution like the PDP.
The Delta State governor told newsmen that his party has what it takes to oversee the administration of the country in 2023.
Also reacting, sources close to Atiku informed The Guardian that there is more to the seeming crisis, which Waziri Adamawa is currently trashing out.
“We understand that there are interlopers within the party, but the mediation process began before the announcement of Okowa as running mate and attempts to reach Wike before the public announcement of Okowa were deliberately stalled.
“Wike had said before the primary that win or lose, he remained committed to the party. The issues are only just being aggravated by interlopers trying to settle other scores, but it is being resolved.”
On the issue of calls for Ayu’s resignation, the source noted that in politics, there are always conditions. “Ayu was democratically elected and it will be up to the party to consider what is desirable but such calls for his resignation may not be feasible for now.”
HOWEVER, a member of the BoT, Adamu Maina Waziri, has disagreed with the decision of the party to plead with Wike over the choice of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as vice presidential candidate.
Reacting to Jibrin’s announcement that the party would send a delegation, which will include Atiku, Okowa, the National Working Committee (NWC) and BoT members to reconcile with Wike, Waziri, a former Minister of Police Affairs, faulted the idea, describing it as ill-informed.
“Wike is desperate and he needs time to be comforted over what happened. I agree with the reconciliation but where we part ways is the issue of sending that mighty delegation to kneel for him,” he said.
“Whatever decisions the party makes, all obedient members should abide, we must keep aside whatever happened during primary elections and move on, the party is bigger than the interest of all of us. Wike said he would not be running mate to anybody, therefore, we needed to find someone who will work smoothly with our presidential candidate.”
Waziri also debunked the rumor that Atiku sent him to speak with Wike in Turkey. “Atiku didn’t send me anywhere but of course I was in Istanbul, Turkey for my leave last Friday and we coincidentally met in a hotel, that’s just it,” he said.
MEANWHILE, Okowa, yesterday, confirmed that he lost his WAEC certificate, but added that “I have the print out from Edo College, Benin City, which clearly stated that I made second best result in 1976 with distinction in all subjects.”
Okowa made this known while speaking to journalists after inspecting ongoing projects at the Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro in Isoko North Council of the state.
He said: “The issue of my certificate, I think it is a misconception. People are trying to play politics with everything. The Higher School Certificate was attached and it has been acknowledged by Edo College and the school put it out there that I made an ‘A’ `B’ `B’.
“I do not pride myself but it was very difficult to make such grade in higher school at that time. My high school result was the second best nationally in 1976, when I finished. So many universities admitted me through Telegram as at that time, and I had to start making choices of which to accept.
“Of course, it’s very clear that I finished medical school at the University of Ibadan. I was 21 years and some months, I was less than 22 years of age.’’
SOME Igbo youths, yesterday, under the aegis of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide (OYC), has cautioned Atiku against any plan to drop Okowa as his running mate. In a statement made available by the group’s National President, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike and Secretary, Comrade Obinna Achionye, it said any attempt to replace Okowa would backfire.
The apex Igbo youth organisation said the Southeast would not accept to lose out completely in the scheme of things, having lost the opportunity to produce the presidential candidate of either the PDP or the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“There is no need to repeat that we expected both the PDP and the APC to zone their presidential tickets to the South-East, but that did not happen.
“Though this has been overtaken by events, the only consolation we have is the choice of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, considering that Okowa is a true Igbo son.
“Having said this, how could anyone wake up and think of replacing Okowa with Wike? As much as we know that Atiku reserves the right to choose whoever he wills as his running mate, we also have the right to vote according to our desire.
“And that desire is clear, that the PDP would not get one vote from Igbo land should they field Wike, because this is a man who disowned Ndigbo. He said he is not one of us and this is payback time, we also do not know him. Should the PDP make the mistake of pairing him with Atiku, the PDP will be roundly rejected during the presidential election.
“With the new Electoral Act, those who constituted themselves into emperors are going to be disgraced during the polls. The time for bogus fake results is over, so nobody should be deceived,” the youths said.