After months of uncertainty over what the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee intends to do with recalcitrant party members aligned with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and four of his colleagues, the party may have decided to begin a crackdown.
Wike and his G5 colleagues-Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) – have had a running battle with the party leadership since the party’s presidential primary which saw Alhaji Atiku Abubakar defeating Wike, among others, to emerge as the standard bearer.
Sunday Vanguard reports that over the course of the last one week, the party leadership has dissolved the entire Ekiti State Chapter executive and suspended several party loyalists in Ekiti, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi who are known acolytes of the G5.
The leadership of the Ekiti Chapter of the party, which was hitherto populated by loyalists of former Governor Ayo Fayose (an associate of the G5 governors), was sent packing penultimate Friday.
Exactly seven days later, the PDP NWC suspended the Ebonyi State Chairman of the party, Okorie Tochukwu Okoroafor, for alleged anti-party activities.
Party insiders, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, revealed that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu could be on the “firing line” within the next two weeks.
One of the sources said, “It is unfortunate that we lost our candidate in Abia State, Prof. Uche Ikonne, who, until his death, was the handpicked successor of Ikpeazu.
“Now, Governor Ikpeazu invited Governor Wike to perform the function of handing over the party flag to Ikonne, a function which ordinarily was reserved for the National Chairman or a party official he assigns to perform such a function on his behalf.
“There will be a governorship primary and it is only the National Chairman and Secretary that can write INEC, it is the Ayu-led NWC that has the constitutional responsibility to conduct this primary.
“Ikpeazu will be fighting the political battle of his life to handpick another successor because there are many interests within and outside Abia now at play.
“The party leadership bent over backwards to accommodate his interests, and gave him all the support but what did we get in return?
“Like it or not, the party leadership and our presidential candidate and his team will be interested in who becomes the candidate because the party’s overall interest is at stake. The next couple of weeks will be interesting.”