PDP crisis: Ex-VP should remember 2015, 5 govs left, PDP lost — Nwuke

.Atiku schedules another meeting with PDP govs over running mate

Former Reps member, Mr. Ogbonna Nwuke, who is the spokesman of the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Campaign Council, in this chat with Vanguard says among others that what happened to the PDP in the 2015 presidential election would repeat itself, this year, if PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, fails to reconcile with the G-5 governors.

By Egufe Yafugborhi

On the G-5 governors resolve not to support Atiku unless PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, resigns and opposition to another Northern president after President Muhammadu Buhari

The issues are clear. PDP appears to be trying to frustrate Atiku’s campaign. The G-5 has gone beyond opposition to the northern candidate by saying okay, you won the presidential primary and have the right to choose your running mate. Nobody is quarrelling with that, but in the interest of fairness, equity, justice, and balance of power, they are saying it is wrong for the North to hold on to the presidential candidate and chairmanship of the party.

What will the South be voting for when chairmanship is in the North, the presidency is in the North, and spokespersons are largely from the North?  This is something that must be addressed going forward. If a man makes a promise and doesn’t keep it, will he keep it after the election has been fought and won?

Ayu has said he was elected for four years and would not give up, running counter to what the Atiku group is even promising that after elections they would address the matter. We ask if we’re talking about delivering Atiku, is it Ayu who will deliver him in Benue or is it Governor Samuel Ortom? Has Ayu what it takes to deliver a presidential candidate?

We leave the posers to the Atiku group because there is this feeling that some people are born to rule. Now it is time to tell them that some people were also born to resist. And we are resisting reasonably within the party. G-5 governors are saying their doors remain open to negotiations, they have never closed the doors.

On the fears of G-5 governors

The fear, if there is any, is the fear of exclusion of Southern interests. Let’s not pretend. We have a country that has been groomed on national character. National Character means that even in appointments, you must balance issues, and share on basis of needs. So how come in this country, we have varying cut-offs for school admissions so that some persons in the North could go to schools, and universities? How come we did all of that to be in a united country?

Now that you have a united country, on the question of who rules, somebody says they have the population so they are the only ones born to rule. It that fair? As it stands now in the PDP, it’s a winner takes all that we are seeing, and it is alien to the basic principles on which this country has been built, that we must accommodate one another as much as possible.

We need to sell the presidential candidate to the best of our abilities as parties. We need to sell him on an agenda that includes all of us. If you’re going to the people (South) and they’re asking you, how come you sat there and they (North) took everything, and you’re coming to us to support them, what answer will you give them?

What if you tell them, they gave you Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta as a vice presidential candidate?

We agree they gave us Okowa but the principle on which the party runs does not allow them to give us Okowa, take President, and hold on to party chairman, which should go to South to create a sense of balance.

You cannot create an imbalance deliberately. We have six geo-political zones, the South-South is one of them. South-East has a secretary of the party, okay. The Presidency, which is the strongest has gone to the North. What is party chairmanship in this country, compared to the president, that they still won’t fulfil an agreement they nodded to?

How Atiku created the crisis

Look at the All Progressives Congress, APC. Senator Abdullahi Adamu is the chairman, from the North. The presidential candidate is from the South.

A lot of people are not looking at the fact that this PDP crisis was created by people like Atiku. In 2019 when it was perceived to be the turn of the North, nobody from the South contested that election. It’s on record that the South respected that convention to leave it for the North.

So this thing that looks intractable as it were is a result of the unjustified interest of Atiku. Going to the convention, many should remember that all the (party leadership) seats in the South were transmitted to the North, and all seats in the North were transmitted to the South as part of the zoning principle.

The only hiccup you have that was not transmitted from the North to the South was the presidency. That is why you have a Northern party chairman and a Northern presidential candidate. The thinking in the minds of those who worked the rotation was that everything is swapped. The presidency was not swapped and that’s why we have these problems.

Alleged Rivers PDP attacks on opposition candidates, supporters

All of these people making all this noise have not placed facts on the table.  There are a lot of name-calling. PDP has what it takes to win Rivers. If you were looking at antecedents and performance they are in their favour.

So, who would want to create an atmosphere that endangers other political parties? The PDP is definitely running on issues. We are saying let’s meet in the field and sell our ideas. Anyone can allege anything, knowing they stand no chance against the PDP on this matter.

I’m sure these people making all of these allegations have not even gone to the police. You must establish a case and provide evidence.

Atiku jeopardizing his chances by not mending fences with G-5

Undoubtedly, it would have made sense if the PDP were going to an election as a common unit. We heard the Atiku group say they can win without G-5. We will wish them well, but let them take note of history. In 2015, five governors of the PDP left. They were told they could go to hell. When they went to hell and came back, PDP lost the election.

Now, there are five PDP governors standing within their ranks and saying we are not going to leave PDP, but rather stay in this battle to see injustice corrected. And you say votes from those five states don’t matter. Since I’m not God, I cannot say whether or not Atiku will be affected but in the eyes of ordinary men, it will be difficult to fill the gap when you have lost five states that belong to you.

Critically, you are, already, going to fight in some battlegrounds, that is states you don’t control. These five we know you can control, once they withdraw their forces, I don’t know what will happen. If you’re not controlling Lagos, you cannot say you control Kano, and you now stand to lose a sure bet that Rivers used to be for you, then the decision of the election is up to you to determine.

On allegations that Wike is jeopardising Rivers PDP governorship candidate with his stance

All of us, including the media, we live, and operate in Rivers State and understand the dynamics of Rivers politics. I don’t imagine how the absence of those backing Atiku in Rivers will affect the performance of the PDP in Rivers.

Some of them were people who had governorship aspirations that did not crystallise. I’ve also emphasised that the only senatorial district, Rivers South East, that hasn’t tasted the governorship in Rivers is where the PDP has picked its candidate.

Now for people like Farah Dagogo, who is from Rivers West, where Dr Odili came from to be governor; or Chief Austin Opara, we have had Rotimi Amaechi from his Rivers East district, and of course, Governor Wike is about to finish another eight years. Common sense should have told Opara that persons from Rivers East, directly from his ethnic Ikwerre cannot aspire now.

By every calculation, we are answering to the needs of our people, in the sense that today, we can say proudly that when Siminialayi Fubara  (governorship candidate) wins, a riverine candidate has won. Now, there is an opportunity to prove that the minority within the minorities is needed in order to have a balance in the state.

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