A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, has revealed the reason for the party’s leadership silence over claims by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, that the party was notified of his appointment.
Wike, who is a member of the PDP, was appointed as the FCT minister by the All Progressives Congress-led government.
His appointment had stirred up criticisms, from the party, party loyalists and political analysts, berating him for betraying his party to work for the APC government under President Bola Tinubu.
Recall that, during the 2023 presidential election, Wike had worked alongside his G5 colleagues against the emergence of the PDP flag bearer, Abubakar Atiku.
However, the FCT minister has at several occasions instead that he sought the approval of his party before accepting President Tinubu’s ministerial appointment.
In one instance, Wike was quoted to have said, ”They said they will sanction me that I took an appointment. That’s ridiculous. The President wrote to all the 36 state governors to bring names of people to appoint. Didn’t PDP governors submit names?
“Before this appointment came, I wrote to the (PDP) National Chairman. I wrote to the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. I wrote to the zonal chairman of the party and my state chairman.
“I wrote to my governor, and all of them wrote me back and said ‘accept.’ I have my evidence documented. Forget these reggae dancers. I call them reggae dancers because when you have lost your opportunity, you have lost because of arrogance and impunity.”
But after his clarification, the PDP still kept mum over the letter, while some party leaders called for his expulsion from the party.
However, a few weeks after the fuss, the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, admitted that, indeed, Wike wrote the party leadership about his appointment.
He told The PUNCH that Wike indeed sent a letter to the PDP acting chairman, Umar Damagum, before accepting Tinubu’s offer.
He noted that Wike, in the letter, informed Damagum that he was going to “answer President Tinubu’s clarion call” and requested for approval.
The PDP chieftain stated, “Before he accepted the appointment of the governing party, Governor Wike decided to accept the offer after informing the party. In other words, he had written to the party stating his position. But the party did not respond to him, whether to confirm its approval for him to accept the appointment or for him not to take the position. What we just did was to keep mum and watch events.
“In the letter he wrote to the party, Wike explained that he was going to answer the clarion call by the President and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Therefore, the party has not taken a position as to whether or not that will be in its interest.”
Explaining why the party had then kept mum after Wike’s clarification, Abdullahi said the PDP leadership was indifferent about the issue, and perhaps Wike had already made up his mind to accept the appointment.
He said the PDP kept mum, “because we were indifferent. The letter was just to inform the party. You can tell from the wording in the letter that his mind was made up. He routed the letter through the PDP Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih, to the acting national chairman, explaining that this is the time to shun party affiliation to work for a united and prosperous Nigeria.”
Also, a member of the PDP National Executive Committee admitted that the former Rivers State governor wrote the party leadership to inform them about his appointment.
The NEC member who pleaded anonymity said, “Wike wrote all those he listed, including Damagum.
“They cannot deny it; they were all informed. He informed them that Tinubu wanted to form a government of national unity and competence, and he gave him a ministerial offer.”
The NEC member, however, said he could not tell if the party gave him approval or not. “I’m not aware, but to be honest, can any of these people tell him not to accept the offer?”