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Crisis: PDP Moves to Reconcile All Members

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By Eric Elezuo

Machineries have been set in motion for a speedy resolution to the crisis rocking the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party has been enmeshed in a muddy feud since the conclusion of its presidential primary held at the Velodrome of the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja.

The primary has produced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from Adamawa State, North East region of the country as against popular opinion of a section of the party members, who were clamouring for a candidate from the south.

At the head of the rebellion is the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who felt cheated during and after the primary election.

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).

But beyond all the intrigues of losing the primary election as well as being sidelined in the choice of a running mate, Wike had mellowed down, and gave another condition for peace to return to the party. He, and his growing group of sympathizers including the Governors of Benue, Samuel Ortom’ Oyo, Seyi Makinde; Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu; a party chieftain, Chief Olabode George among many others, have declared that the party chairman must resign to pave way for the enthronement of a member from the south as chairman to balance the equation in hierarchy. This has been one request that has remained impossible for the party to meet, thereby raising exchange of words clothed in uncouth languages among the those involved.

However, the party has taken more newer steps to ensure that everything was settled before the campaign opens on September 28, 2022.

So on September 8, 2022, the party took a decisive step, and replaced the Board of Trustees Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, with former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, from the southeast in a bid to balance the equilibrium.

Jibrin, who has a few months left in his tenure, was believed to have resigned after complaining about the lopsidedness in the party’s hierarchy following the emergence of Atiku Abubakar, a fellow northerner  as Presidential candidate.

But the resignation did not go down well with Wike and his camp, as the rejected the move and insisted on Ayu’s resignation. Wike said the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, told him in person when he won the May primary that Ayu must vacate his position as party chairman.

“When we finished our convention on a Saturday to Sunday, the candidate of the party (Atiku) came to see me in my house in Abuja on Monday around 10:30am…The candidate told me: ‘I want us to work together’ and then he said, ‘Look, Ayu must go’.

“I said why? He said because when a candidate comes from the north, the chairman will come from the south. And I am saying, implement what you told me. What offence have I committed? It has nothing to do with Wike; it has to do with integrity.

“I challenge the presidential candidate to deny this. If he denies this, I will go further to say so many things to Nigerians because enough is enough,” the governor said during the commissioning of the Ahoada Campus of the Rivers State University in the Ahoada East Local Government Area of the state.

But then moves are ongoing for reconciliatory as the party is bent on winning the 2023 Presidential Election. On Sunday continued its reconciliatory efforts to pacify all the aggrieved parties with the top echelon of the party visiting the residence of a former Minister of Information and Orientation, Prof Jerry Gana, on Sunday, who is a staunch believer of Wike’s views

On Monday, the reconciliatory team berth in Adamawa State to confer with Governor Ahmadu Fintiri and from there proceeded to Benue State to meet Governor Samuel Ortom.

According to Wabara before the visit, “We will be going to Adamawa State… to meet with Governor Fintiri and from there we will meet with Governor Ortom. I am on the road now to meet with Prof Jerry Gana. We are trying our best to ensure that peace is achieved and victory will be ours in 2023.

“We will soothe aggrieved nerves and come with something that will be acceptable to everyone.”

He was reacting to questions on the outcome of his recent tour in the South West and whether the party would amend its constitution so soon to pave the way for the removal of the national chairman of PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.

He added, “After we met with the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, I won’t say we are making progress but we are talking to our governors and the parties concerned. We should give and take, and pacify but because I have not reported to the BoT members, I can’t make a categorical statement. We have to talk to our members and whatever we come up with will be the position of the BoT.”

The former Senate president had last week started moves to save the main opposition party from collapse.

He disclosed that he was leading a delegation of the PDP BoT, comprising some former governors, ex-deputy governors, ex-ministers and other top party chieftains to meet three of the aggrieved PDP governors within 48 hours.

Wabara is certain that a resolution acceptable to all parties will be reached, and peace restored.

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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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