After several failed efforts to achieve truce with the Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike-led group, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, announced plan to inaugurate members of the National Campaign Management Committee (NCMC) and Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) today (Wednesday).
In Wike’s camp are Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde, Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom and Abia state Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
The PDP, had two weeks ago, appointed Sokoto state Governor and Chairman PDP Governors Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as Director General of its NCMC and Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel as Chairman PCC to lead the 520-member presidential campaign team.
It also appointed former governor of Cross Rivers State, Liyel Imoke as deputy director general (Operations), former PDP National Secretary Professor Adewale Oladipo as deputy director general (Administration), media mogul Chief Raymond Dokpesi as deputy director general (Technical and Systems, while former party’s national chairman, Ekwesilieze Nwodo was appointed deputy director general (Research and Strategy) of the NCMC.
Other appointed leaders of the campaign are Bauchi state Governor Bala Mohammed (Vice Chairman North) and Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde (Vice Chairman South of the PCC).
Last week, after an early hour meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, the Wike-led group pulled out of the Atiku campaign council.
They vowed not to play any role in Atiku’s campaign ahead of the 2023 general elections, until the PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigns from office for a southerner to take over.
Those who attended the meeting aside from Wike, Makinde include but not limited to former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose, former governor of Plateau state, Jonah David Jang, former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke, former PDP Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Olabode George and former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Professor Gerry Gana among others.
In a revealing media chat last Friday, Wike had insisted the only way Atiku would get their support is to ease out Ayu.
He also alleged Ayu to have taken a billion naira to influence voting during the [residential convention.
Signs Atiku set to move
In an action suggesting both the PDP and Atiku were ready to move on without Wike and his friends, the presidential candidate’s spokespersons, Senator Dino Melaye and Daniels Bwala appeared on most national television stations lambasting Wike for its “frivolous” stand against the party and their principal.
Also, the inauguration of the party’s 520-member Presidential NCMC and PCC slated for today, Wednesday at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja by 11 am further confirmed the party’s readiness to carry on without the Wike group.
PDP National Organising Secretary Umar Bature who said this in a statement, urged all members of the campaign team to attend.
Our campaign‘ll focus on issues – Atiku
Meanwhile, Alhaji Atiku, the PDP presidential candidate, has assured that his campaign will focus on issues that affect Nigerians.
Atiku who stated this Tuesday while addressing supporters at the meeting with PDP leaders and stakeholders of the South East Zone in Enugu, said campaigns and elections were huge, complex and highly demanding undertakings.
The former VP said the South-east was close to his heart because they supported him through thick and thin.
“You are a key contributor to economic activities in this country and a government that wants to revive our economy and provide opportunities for our people must carry the South East along. I am a businessman and I know that businesses need a supporting environment to thrive and when they thrive the country thrives,” Atiku added.
He further stated that “when I was campaigning for the privilege of being your Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming election I outlined five priorities: reunify the country, improve security, fix the economy; restructure the federation; and improve human capital development.”
Atiku expressed confidence that the region would have the most impact on all other aspects of development and quality of life as citizens and as a country.