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Why Atiku Abubakar Dumped Nyesom Wike

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By Eric Elezuo

When two elephants fight, the grass, they say suffers. That seem to be the situation of the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as two leading chieftains of the party, the presidential candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and first running up at the party’s presidential primary and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, struggle for supremacy and relevance.

The two gladiators have fallen apart with each other shortly after the May 28 presidential primary held at the Velodrome of the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja. The primary election, against Wike’s expectation had gone the way of Atiku for the second time in a row, having also won in 2019 in Port Harcourt.

Wike’s loss amid what many described as daylight robbery was not the last straw that broke the camel’s back, but the naming of Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate as the 2023 political intrigues unfold. Wike had believed that the vice presidential candidate slot will automatically be given to him as compensation both for coming second in the keenly contested election, and for being a pillar of the party ‘all these years’. But that was not to be, thereby flaming the ambers of discord that has silently torn the party apart in the last couple of months.

Okowa’s choice as VP candidate was in spite of the constituted PDP selection committee, which reportedly recommended the Rivers State governor after 13 of 17 members, who attended the meeting at the PDP National Secretariat, voted in favour of Wike. At the meeting, three members voted for others, while the chairman, who can only vote when there is a tie, did not vote. And there began Wike’s silent war against Atiku and the PDP family.

But new facts have emerged following The Boss investigation as to why the presidential candidate of the party dumped Wike and choose Okowa, who he had described as fulfilling the qualities of a president and one that could complement him as a President.

The Boss has unveiled that the prelude to the quagmire that is threatening to consume the party started in August 2021, when Atiku traveled to Port Harcourt, ostensibly to seal a deal with Wike, who by all intent and purpose, is the most vocal member of the party, on a joint ticket. Wike reportedly agreed. His agreement however, betrayed the unanimous agreement of southern governors that power be shifted to the south during their meetings in May and July 2021 in Asaba and Lagos respectively.

At the Lagos meeting held on July 5, 2021, the southern governors, in a communique read by the Forum’s chairman, and Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, unanimously agreed that the next president of the country should come from the southern region in 2023.

In attendance were Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa-Ibom), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu). Deputy governors who represented their states were Philip Shaibu (Edo), Placid Njoku (Imo), Oko Chukwu (Abia) and Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi).

Again, in April 2022, governors of southern states elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reiterated their resolve to compel the party to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the southern part of Nigeria for equity and fairness.

The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, who spoke on behalf of the governors, said they had watched with keen interest developments in PDP regarding zoning, but they had no reason to change their earlier stand.

“Our position is that first, we are committed to the unity of our party and we have worked hard to make sure that this party remains a strong and viable vehicle to ‘rescue’ Nigeria come 2023.

“Be that as it may, we want to draw your attention to the fact that we have agreed as Southern Governors in Lagos and also in Delta that this party has to respect the zoning principle as enshrined in our Constitution.

“And to that effect, we feel that the best thing to do is zone the presidency to the South, and we stand on that position.

“We have not seen any reason to change our position, because the party was founded on the basis of equity and justice.

“We also think that equity and justice are important pillars that will ultimately stabilise our politics towards our journey in rescuing Nigeria.”

Governor Wike was also at the meeting, his earlier agreement on a joint ticket with Atiku notwithstanding.

However, the party put a mechanism in motion for a Atiku/Wike ticket, and the next move was to dump the party chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and replace him with another chairman from the South West. Consequently, the former Military Governor of Lagos State and Executive Governor of Osun State, Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was agreed upon.

But events took a different turn, and to Atiku’s shock and surprise, when Wike decided to run his own race, and supported a candidate from North Central, Dr Iyorchia Ayu. The same person, whose removal he is calling for presently. Atiku was not only shocked, but livid with anger. He was to discover from members of his inner caucus that Wike had nursed the ambition long before then. Wike went all out to campaign for a Southern President. He was cock sure no Southern PDP Presidential aspirant could ever match him dollar for dollar and bravery for bravery.

To further sell himself, and his cause, Wike had to quickly rebrand and become more charismatic and youth friendly. On many occasions, he invited the Ovation Media Group Chairman, and former presidential aspirant, Chief Dele Momodu, and keyed into his blistering media platforms to promote and project his projects. Wike knows how to woo the best, and the relationship went on for months. It is on record that Chief Momodu and the Ovation International magazine Editor, Mr Michael Effiong, and their camera crew, moved practically to Port Harcourt for many months. Ovation International even produced a special Edition of the magazine. Wike was very happy of his monumental projects as displayed in the crispy colours of Ovation International magazine and the social media platforms of Ovation Television.

As a seasoned tactician, though he deliberately left his declaration to the last minutes, he kept his war chest formidably, traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria, and won the confidence of many governors, former governors, legislators among a host of others, leaving Atiku in the cold, their gentleman agreement notwithstanding. Atiku’s frustration grew by the day while he plotted his moves. He was not only miffed that Wike thrashed their agreement, but that the governor kept pummeling and ridiculing him at every given opportunity. Everything looked good for Wike to grab the presidential ticket of the PDP. He was actually on his way to winning when those Momodu described as the owners of Nigeria intervened and held him by the jugular. The counter strike was simple: they instructed the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to step down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Tambuwal, who had already made up his mind not to step down for anyone, found the instruction unpalatable.

He however, reached out to his close confidant, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who goaded him on the path of contesting for the presidential ticket, and not to agree to any instruction because he, Obasanjo, was totally committed to a southern president. It was obvious that with Tambuwal in the race, both him and Atiku would lose and Wike would win. Though Obasanjo was rooting for a southern president, he however, did not hide his absolute disdain for former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. His preference was an Igbo candidate, and Peter Obi was his choice. It is worth noting that he has been selling Obi to all his powerful International contacts. But he was ready to ‘manage’ Governor Nyesom Wike, in case Obi’s third force revolution becomes jinxed like others before, and falls flat.

Matters took a dramatic turn later as the instructions to Tambuwal to step down suddenly became a threat. At that stage, Obasanjo decided to play safe, and told Tambuwal to do whatever he considers right. The rest as they say is history. Tambuwal withdrew his aspiration at the very last minute, naming Atiku as his preferred choice. The deal was done, and Wike was totally obliterated from the race. He lost. Wike didn’t know what hit him, but it had a spectacular and spiraling impact. In his usual self, he went ballistic, accusing some of his colleagues of betrayal and chicanery. He had boasted earlier that he would never play second fiddle to anyone. The thunderbolt humbled him.

Wike appeared shell-shocked and inconsolable even as Atiku still left all options open. He weaponised his most loyal supporters, and they unleashed attacks on Tambuwal, Ayu and Atiku, accusing them of unpardonable conspiracy and infidelity. They were even almost threatening to exit the party. But there was one big challenge: Where would they go? Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Wike’s former boss, was waiting for them. Labour Party was too small to contain and accommodate the big gladiators. It was then reality hit them that they have reached a cul de sac, and began to listen to some reconciliatory tones. They therefore, released a list of their tough demands, including the immediate sacking of the PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and a few others. They wanted assurances of political appointments for members of their group among others.

In all these, Atiku knew that a Wike choice as VP would be cataclysmic to say the least, and he is happy to have shown him the red card, and chosen Okowa as his running mate.

Wike’s next move is still in limbo, and observers are watching to know the next level as events for the 2023 are fast unfolding.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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