- Details of the London meeting between Governor Wike's camp and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have emerged
- Governor Wike gave Atiku the removal of the PDP national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, as condition for negotiation
- Atiku tried to justify why Ayu cannot be removed but the Wike camp gave him a counter argument, making to conclude that he would consult and revert to the group
A report by Premium Times has revealed details of the meeting between the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the camp of Governor Nyesom Wike over the crisis in the main opposition party.
The meeting, according to the report, was held over dinner in London at the Park Lane Carlton Hotel on Thursday, August 25.
Legit.ng gathers that those from Governor Wike’s side at the meeting included:
- Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state
- Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state
- Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state.
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Atiku was accompanied to the meeting by Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa state.
Wike vs Atiku: What transpired at the meeting
Sources at the meeting with Atiku said the Wike camp told Atiku that it would only negotiate with him for its support if the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, steps down and is replaced by a candidate from a southern zone of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the group, one of the governors said the condition was to ensure that the party corrects the lopsidedness in its leadership before the campaigns begin and that it was in line with a pledge Ayu made before he was elected by consensus at the party’s national convention last year.
The governor also accused Ayu of polarising the PDP. He said contrary to the description of Ayu by Atiku as the unifier of the PDP, the former Senate President is allegedly the most divisive figure to have occupied the party’s top office.
He said rather than seeking reconciliation of many aggrieved members of the party across the country, Ayu had allegedly created new decisions with his aloofness and divisive leadership.
The group said Atiku needs to correct the imbalance in the PDP to demonstrate his willingness and capacity to unite Nigeria if he becomes president.
Atiku's response at the meeting
In his response to the remarks, our source said Atiku acknowledged that the party’s leadership is lopsided.
The PDP presidential candidate, however, said the provisions of its constitution mean that the anomaly could not be corrected through the resignation of the national chairman.
According to the source cited by Premium Times, Atiku pointed out that the PDP constitution stipulates that the Deputy National Chairman from the home region of the National Chairman would step in if the office of the National Chairman becomes vacant.
But the Wike camp interjected to recall that a former national chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo, had resigned from the position in 2011 following the election of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Deputy National Chairman from his region was overlooked in filling the vacancy.
After much back and forth, Atiku reportedly said he would consult and revert to the group.
What was not discussed at the meeting
The source said the meeting did not discuss the grievances peculiar to Governor Wike and other members of his group.
The source denied reports that Atiku had made some concessions to the group, stressing that the only issue discussed at the meeting was the condition that the group gave for any negotiations with Atiku.
The PDP has been rocked by the face-off between Atiku and Mr Wike over the outcome of the party’s presidential primaries and Atiku’s nomination of Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
2023: Why I, PDP governors met Obi, OBJ, Tinubu in UK - Wike
Meanwhile, apart from confirming that he met Obi, Obasanjo, and Tinubu, Governor Wike has explained his motive for the closed-door meetings.
Speaking in Port Harcourt on Friday, August 26, Wike said the discussion centred on non-partisan topics, but on issues affecting everyone in the country.
Describing the meetings as fruitful to journalists and stating that Nigeria's leadership is bigger than one person or group, the Rivers governor noted that the ultimate plan is to make the country a better place for all in 2023.