Efforts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to resolve grievances arising from Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s late entry into the race for its governorship ticket, suffered a setback yesterday as Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, withdrew from the reconciliation process.
Meanwhile, three PDP governors, including Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and chairman of the PDP Governors Forum; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, governor of Adamawa State are heading to Benin City to save governor Obaseki and plead with other governorship gladiators to give Obaseki a safe landing for the party’s gubernatorial ticket tomorrow.
Wike, who is close to the leading aspirant of the party before Obaseki joined the race, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, cited the allegation that he masterminded Monday’s court injunction restraining PDP from allowing Obaseki to join its shadow poll, slated for tomorrow, for his withdrawal.
The court restrained Obaseki from participating in the PDP’s primary pending the determination of the suit.
Ogbeide-Ihama had filed the suit at the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, praying for the exclusion of Obaseki, among other reliefs, from the party’s primary.
However, in a fightback, Obaseki’s supporters yesterday secured an order of an Edo State High Court, sitting in Ekpoma, which stopped the party from excluding the governor from the primary.
The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) also refuted Wike’s allegation that those he described as tax collectors among the NWC members were behind the accusation linking him to the restrained order against the PDP and Obaseki.
THISDAY, in an exclusive account of the Port Harcourt ruling on Monday, had reported that Wike’s action was an extension of the power tussle between him and his predecessor, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who is seen as an ally of Obaseki.
Another Port Harcourt-based court had also granted the order stopping the political foes of Wike, led by Amaechi, from laying claims to the acting national chairmanship of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – a move that assisted Adams Oshiomhole, the embattled National Chairman of the ruling APC, and frustrated Amaechi in his bid to take control of the national structure of the party, ahead of the 2023 presidential election, which he is said to be interested in. .
Amaechi’s protege, Chief Victor Giadom, was stopped by the Port Harcourt court from parading himself as the APC’s acting national chairman, in an extension of the supremacy battle between Wike and Amaechi, that has now spilled over to Edo State where Obaseki was counting on the same Wike – a sworn political foe of his key supporter, Amaechi, – to assist him secure the PDP ticket.
In his reaction yesterday, Wike said he had pulled out of the ongoing efforts to broker truce among the aspirants and described some members of the NWC of the party as tax collectors.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, said in a statement in Port Harcourt that such members of the PDP NWC behind the allegations, were sycophants and tax collectors who would never tell the truth.
He said instead of the NWC to carry everybody along in Edo State, they resorted to using the media to blackmail him.
He said: “I told them that in Edo State, we must handle the issue carefully and carry everybody along. They must respect human beings and not behave like tax collectors.
“They said because an order was obtained from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, then I am responsible.
“I have had sleepless nights to resolve the issue in Edo State. The Governors of Edo, Adamawa and Delta States know what I have done to resolve the issues in Edo State.
“As a result of this senseless accusation, I have pulled out of Edo State settlement. My integrity matter.”
Wike also threatened to go to court over the allegation.
“They are tax collectors. Let them challenge me and I will come out with more facts. Nobody will rubbish me by raising false accusations against me. I will fight back,” he stated.
Wike said he would no longer participate in any reconciliation and wondered why the NWC wanted to consult governors of the party.
He questioned why the NWC did not consult with governors in the case of Bayelsa State.
The governor warned that if PDP was not careful, the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) would be a child’s play.
“I am brought up not to accept injustice, and that is why I keep speaking out on national issues. Nobody in PDP can intimidate Rivers State.
“Nobody can threaten me because I said things must be done constitutionally. I will always continue to satisfy my conscience.
“From now on, I want to concentrate on the development of Rivers State,” he added.