There seems to be no end in sight to the lingering crisis between the camps of the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, and five aggrieved governors elected on the platform of the party.
Last week, Atiku expressed his readiness to engage the five governors, who earlier in the week, insisted that reconciliation doors were fully opened.
Saturday PUNCH however gathered that a truce between the parties was not in sight given the failure of the aggrieved governor to shift grounds on their demand.
The governors; Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu states are demanding the resignation/removal of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, as a condition to return to the party’s presidential campaign fold.
While in Lagos recently for a meeting with other chieftains of the party, including former PDP Board of Trustees’ chairman, Chief Bode George, and former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, the governors told the media that while their demand for justice, fairness and equity remained sacrosanct, they were ready to embrace peace in the interest of all.
This prompted Atiku to welcome their position; thus, opening room for possible negotiation.
It has, however, turned out that when the former Vice President made moves to see the governors return to the negotiation table; they (G-5) made it clear that they were not ready for deliberations with Ayu as party chairman.
This position, Saturday PUNCH gathered, had made further peace talks difficult, even as Atiku continued with his campaign, while the governors moved back to their shell.
Confirming what appeared like a breakdown in talks between the two camps, Timothy Osadolor, Deputy National Youth Leader of the party, told this medium that while Atiku never “ran away from an opportunity to address the issues raised, those on the other side did their thing as usual.”
He stressed, “It takes two to agree. It is unfortunate that our candidate is being made to face this kind of situation. Even though he has nothing to do with their demand (Ayu’s resignation), he has on many occasions reached out to these aggrieved party for a truce. You can’t be open to reconciliation and yet, you are not ready to shift ground. It doesn’t work that way.”
Also speaking, the immediate past National Secretary of the PDP and a member of the party’s National Executive Committee, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, said Atiku had done his best to reconcile with the Wike-led group all to no avail.
Lamenting the state of affairs in the party with barely two months to the elections, Tsauri maintained that it would be better for the G-5 to make a different demand other than the call for Ayu’s resignation.
Distancing himself from calls in some quarters that the party should call the bluff of the five governors, Tsauri said, “Nobody can look down on a sitting governor, not to talk of five. This is because they are dangerously powerful.”
He continued, “An end to this crisis may not be near but it is not far too. I think the governors want to negotiate and that is fine. But they should not make the removal of Ayu as the only condition that must be met for them to return to join the presidential campaign team. What is good is that they have consistently maintained that they are open to reconciliation. If they had said otherwise, the party would have known what to do.”
Also speaking, Charles Aniagwu, Commissioner for Information in Delta State and spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization, told our correspondent that reconciliation is dragging on because the governors had yet to realise that what they were asking Atiku to do with the removal of Ayu was beyond his powers.