The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, is currently battling to save the party from collapse as loyalists of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, have threatened to leave the party if their principal officer does.
A member of the House from Rivers State, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Wike’s loyalists would follow the governor should he decide to defect from the PDP to another party.
“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 stated.
When asked if those to follow Wike would include National Assembly members from Rivers, the source restated, “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 Rivers, Solomon Bob, said it would be an understatement to say that Wike had contributed to the PDP more than any other person.
“Without Wike, PDP would have been long gone,” he stated, adding that the governor’s voice was heard across the country, using his energy and resources to sustain the party.
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.”
Stating that Atiku committed a serious blunder, the lawmaker 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?”
The lawmaker stated that he agreed with Ortom on the fact that Atiku ought to have personally met with Wike and reconcile with the governor.
Bob said Abubakar was frequent at Wike’s house “day and night” but has failed to show up there after winning the PDP primary.
In his submission, another Rivers lawmaker, Dagomie Abiante, described Wike as an asset to the PDP, which Atiku failed to realise and utilise.
He stated that the governor “deserved much more” than the VP slot, adding that he is better than Okowa “in every respect.”
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?”