Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) owes Nigerians an explanation and an apology following some rather controversial statements made by Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the party.
Atiku had on Sunday in Kaduna asserted that the north does not need Yoruba or Igbo candidates when it comes to the presidency, adding that the only candidate worthy of the coveted seat is him alone.
“I know the whole of this country. I have built bridges across this country. I think what the average northerner needs is somebody who is from the north, who also understands the other parts of Nigeria, and who has been able to build bridges across the rest of the country.
“This is what the northerner needs. He (the northerner) doesn’t need a Yoruba candidate or an Igbo candidate. This is what the northerner needs. I stand before you as a pan-Nigerian of northern origin,” Atiku opined.
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In his reaction to the comments which have generated heated arguments across the country, Governor Wike said while he doubts the possibility of Atiku making such a sensational statement at this critical time of the Nation’s history, such posture would justify his fight for equity, justice and fairness in the PDP.
According to him, the party must urgently address the issue and appeal to Nigerians lest the people stop rallying behind the PDP and begin to see the party as one where justice and equity do not abound.
Governor Wike also challenged the National Chairman of the Party, Iyorchia Ayu on his defense of the corruption allegations he leveled against him and condemned as ridiculous, the recommendations of the party’s Board of Trustees on the crisis in the PDP.
In the past few days, a couple of events have been threatening the peace within Peoples Democratic Party.
Most notable amongst the recent incidents were the defense of the National Chairman against the allegations of corruption by Govenor Wike, the recommendations of the Board of Trustees on the crisis over leadership positions and a the comment credited to the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar about the North not needing the Yoruba or Igbo candidates.
Wike had earlier said that the national leadership of the PDP needs to do the right thing, if the party must win the presidential election in 2023.
The right thing, Governor Wike insisted, is the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu as PDP national chairman, in order for a southerner to occupy the seat within the principle of equity, fairness and justice.
He emphasized that any leader of a group who causes crisis within the group that he leads, truly lacks the requisite skills to navigate affairs of such group.
“This is the time to show leadership skill on the part of those who are leaders of the party. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the presidential candidate. He is the one who feels the pain.”
Governor Wike made reference to the party’s constitution that spells it out in Section 7 (3) (c) that that all political and elective positions must be zoned.
He wondered why it is now so difficult for Senator Ayu to respect the constitution or even keep to his promise and quit the office if a northern is elected as PDP standard bearer.
“We have not held the presidential primary before the national chairman of the party said if the presidential candidate emerges from his area, he will quit.”
Governor Wike also accused Senator Ayu of collecting one hundred million Naira, first from a certain governor to renovate the party’s democratic institution, and later went to PDP National Working Committee (NWC) to collect exact amount for the same purpose. Governor Wike dares Senator Ayu to deny it.
“In fact, let me also tell you, Ayu collected N100million naira from a governor that he was going to renovate our democratic institution and then he went back to the PDP NWC and took the same N100million naira for doing the same work.”
He further added, “What kind of system is that? I am telling you all these are facts. Let him (Ayu) say no first and I will tell you (those he collected money from).”
The Rivers State governor pointed to the importance of the mission of rescuing Nigeria expected of the PDP by Nigerians. But the mission, he said requires a leader with proven integrity to lead the party.