War in PDP as Wike blasts Secondus-led NWC

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Nationnewslead reports that The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) blew open on Friday after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State castigated the Uche Secodus-led National Working Committee for allegedly deepening the cracks in the party.

Wike, who was the chief sponsor of Secondus for the position, was particularly irked that the NWC was sowing seeds of discord among PDP governors and jeopardising the party’s chances ahead of the 2023 presidential race.

The governor also spoke on the controversy over President Muhammadu Buhari’s invitation by the House of Representatives to come and address it on Nigeria’s security challenge.

He said the President’s integrity would be at stake if he failed to honour the invitation.

Wike, according to his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, fielded questions on a live television programme in Port Harcourt.

“PDP ought to have harvested from the inefficiency of the APC; from the misadministration of the APC,” Ebiri quoted the governor as saying.

Continuing, Wike said: “Ordinarily, that is what opposition party ought to do. If you ask me, are Nigerians waiting for a change? Yes.

 

 

“If you ask me as a member of PDP, am I ready to support PDP to take over? Yes.

“But if you ask me currently as it is, is the leadership of the party willing for us to harvest this opportunity for a change? I will say no.”

He said that instead of focusing on strategies on how to take advantage of the alleged growing disenchantment with the APC government, the PDP-NWC was busy creating crises among governors, using two former governors of Imo and Cross River states and a present senator from Benue State.

His words: “An opposition party that ought to be united, to work, to take over the affairs of government because people are waiting for this opportunity, but the current leadership of NWC is not prepared for that.

“Rather, what they have done is to constitute some people to sow a seed of discord among governors for their own selfish interest. And that will boomerang; that will consume them.”

The governor said he lacked the ability to defect to the APC or any other political party and would continue to fight for the survival of the PDP.

 

 

“I will not allow anybody to kill PDP. They have capacity to move to APC; I don’t and I cannot move to APC

 

 

“So, anybody that tries to do something to destroy PDP, I will not allow you. Anybody that I see that has the trait to destroy the PDP, I will not allow it.”

He described as disingenuous the decision of the NWC to jettison the recommendations of Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom-led committee set up to reconcile the party in Niger and Plateau states because of its vested interest in Niger.

Wike said the NWC, as currently constituted, was merely interested in retaining current structure of the party to remain in power, and not to win the 2023 election.

“The present National Working Committee is not interested or doing anything to take over the realms of government in 2023. When your interest is to remain in power, you are no longer interested in winning election,” he said.

On the invitation of the President by the House of Representatives, he said the level of insecurity, particularly in Borno State and other parts of the country, ought to have compelled President Buhari to keep his promise of honouring the invitation.

He said the APC -controlled National Assembly moved the motion to invite the President to address them on measures being taken to tackle and end the spate of violent killings.

Wike said it was wrong for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to subject the invitation to legal interpretation instead of protecting the integrity of the President.

He said: “There is insecurity.  People are dying. You don’t go by legal approach to solve that problem.

“If Mr. President had given the assurance, saying my integrity is at stake, therefore I will go, that decision was not taken without talking first to his inner cabinet.

“It’s not a question and answer session. You go with a brief to address the congress. To say see where it was when we came, see where we are today.

“Yes, we have not achieved what we thought, but what we require from everyone is cooperation.

“For me, I think this is not the period to be legalistic. This is the period every Nigerian should be concerned about what is happening.

“Just this morning (Friday), I heard that 16 people were killed on Abuja-Kaduna road yesterday.

“Look at the loss of lives in Borno State. Senate has said look, Mr. President, relieve all service chiefs, which means they are concerned about the security situation in the country.”

Wike said if he were the Attorney General of the Federation, he would have advised the President privately and urged him to write a letter to the House of Representatives that he would come at a later date because of the exigencies of his office.

Asked what he thought was the solution to the insecurity in the country, Wike recommended the creation of employment opportunities for youths and a drastic change to operational system of policing in the country.

 

 

He insisted that states must be allowed to get involved in community policing.

‘Rivers PDP defectors are neophytes’

Governor Wike also on Friday dismissed two former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, John Bazia and Michael West, who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, as political neophytes.

He said the two defectors, who served as commissioners in his cabinet during his first tenure, became disgruntled because he did not retain them.

The governor said on a live television programme in Port Harcourt that the decision of Bazia and West to leave for the APC was of no political consequence because they were politically irrelevant.

He said: “What are the qualities of people that defected? The two people, Michael West and John Bazia, who knew them in my cabinet?

“Have you ever heard them speak on behalf of PDP before? Have you ever heard them speak on behalf of our administration?

“You knew the position of Chidi Llyod when he was in APC.

“Ask the former Commissioner of Transport (Michael West), he contested PDP primaries with me and got only three votes, but because of politics of carrying everybody along and the money he spent, I decided to accommodate him.

“He was Commissioner for Transport; ask him his contribution to the administration.”

The governor, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, explained that during his first tenure, he almost sacked West as a commissioner for taking 13 luxurious buses belonging to the state government to Calabar for a spiritual programme.

He said: “I called the Commissioner for Transport and asked him of his whereabouts. He told me he was in Calabar to see his father, the Olumolumba.

“I was amazed, and said, ‘You took our 13 buses to Calabar without permission.’

“I would have sacked him that day. People prevailed on me to manage him till after the election.

“I managed him till the end of my first tenure. You expect me to bring this kind of person into my cabinet?”

The governor said the reasons given by West for his resignation from the PDP was that he was not allowed to head his ward executive committee of the party.

“So how can we give somebody we know that will be leaving the party EXCO, so that when he is defecting, he will say has defected with entire EXCO?

“He thinks he is smarter than everybody? These are neophytes in politics. We all kept eye on them.”

On the former Commissioner of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, John Bazia, Wike alleged that while serving in the state executive council, Bazia caused him so much embarrassment.

He said his administration had done many projects in Tai and Asari-Toru LGAS where the two defected commissioners hail from.


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