A former Kaduna State Governor and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, yesterday, agreed with the former Governor of Jigawa State Sule Lamido, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and former Ekiti State Governor, Peter Fayose, that the party’s leadership, and particularly the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has a lot of explanations to do to appease the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, if the main opposition party must win the 2023 presidential election.
He, however, urged leaders of the party to close rank and resolve all political challenges that might have arisen as fallout of the party’s presidential primary.
Makarfi, who spoke with newsmen in Kaduna, yesterday, amid rumour of defecting from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC), said he was not contemplating leaving the party he joined others to form in 1999.
According to him, “the only reason I will quit the party is when retiring from active politics”.
He said that the misunderstanding associated with the outcome of the party’s presidential primary and the choice of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s running mate must not be allowed to rock the PDP boat.
Makarfi urged Atiku to reach out to Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on the choice of his running mate, saying that “the matter is resolvable.
“I won’t blame Wike for feeling bad because he has been one of the pillars of the party. Let the presidential candidate, Atiku, sit down with Wike to discuss issues because he is the only one that knows why he picked his running mate. The matter is resolvable,” he said.
Makarfi, a former national chairman of the party, expressed optimism that PDP would bring back true democracy to Nigeria in 2023, adding that “we have learnt our lessons, and we will do more than we did when we were in power”.
He explained that as long as the 2023 election would hold, the party “will win but we need to work hard for us to win in 2023. PDP is set to bring back true democracy to Nigeria, and we have learnt our lessons”.
Markarfi also described his rumoured defection from the PDP to APC as the handiwork of jobless politicians.
He said, “Honestly, I am hearing this for the first time that I am defecting from PDP to APC, and I don’t know what can be the basis.
“Why should I make an investment in terms of time and whatever you can mention in PDP, and now decide to leave? Why should I go through the stress and just when we are getting it right, then I now leave the PDP for APC or any other party?
“What will be the attraction for me to leave the PDP? Well, people don’t approach me with such a rumour because they know the type of person that I am. If they want to come, they come to me with substance. What could be the basis because in every rumour, there must be a basis?
“Is it because members of the opposition party attended my son’s wedding, and that is the basis of that rumour? Even then, people of my own political party were all there. Is this the kind of country that we want to build that because people from all shades of life attended wedding ceremonies, or a burial that they will now start flying rumours of defection?
“The rumour is the figment of the imagination of people who are jobless. I am a PDP member thorough and thorough. If I leave PDP, I should be retiring from politics. And because you hold different political opinions, then, you now cut off all relationships with people and you want Nigeria to move forward?
“I will continue to hold my political opinion as a PDP person. I will continue to stand by my opinion in PDP. I have stood by it a long time ago and I will continue. People that have been gallivanting between PDP and APC are known.
“I am in politics in PDP on principle. If people are moving across parties because they want to capture power or they want to enhance their financial-economic position or whatever; I am still in PDP and I will continue to be in PDP and this time around, I believe we are going to be in power God’s willing in Kaduna. And we shall be successful even at the national level.”
Also reacting, former Jigawa StateGovernor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, said that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has the right to be angry for not achieving his presidential ambition under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Lamido, a PDP chieftain said this in an interview with newsmen, last Wednesday.
Wike came second to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who emerged as the PDP’s presidential flag bearer at the special convention at MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on May 28, 2022.
There are reports that Wike is aggrieved as Atiku picked Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate on June 16, 2022.
Reacting to these developments, Lamido said: “He is right to be angry for having not achieved his own personal interest or ambition but again, that is what leadership entails. He is a party man and the party is not his enemy.
“The party is his home, his own group, his own support, and, therefore, whatever might have been the failure of him to achieve his interest, should not be taken too seriously at a personal level.
Lamido described Wike as an asset to the PDP and a front-runner who had engraved his name in glory, given his performance as chief executive of the oil-rich state.
He, however, blamed undisclosed individuals close to the governor for fanning flames of enmity, adding that the party must rescue the Rivers State governor and preserve him for the future.
He said: “Wike is a huge treasure for the PDP and one of the best materials. If we win (in 2023), he is the natural heir to the throne because he has the quality, the aura, the charm, the charisma and the age.
“People around him who he thinks are his own friends are his biggest enemies. It is a fact and he will see it later on and that is why they are putting more logs under the fire. By now, they should be withdrawing all the logs under the fire to allow the pot to cool down.
“I have been saying this: PDP is a family. There was a primary election, and there were expectations but some of them were not met. So, it is natural for one to react. I can understand that. Governor Wike is somebody who is very forceful, who has done so well as a governor of PDP in his own state, and who has been very supportive of the PDP.
“But again, he was made by the PDP. He is somebody we must make sure we preserve, and we must rescue him from his own anger,” Lamido added.
Earlier, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, had urged the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to go to Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and appeal to him to forgive and forget.
He insisted that the PDP has treated Wike, a former presidential aspirant of the party, badly.
Ortom, who appeared on Arise TV, last Wednesday morning, also claimed that it was Wike who brought him back to the PDP in 2015 when he was treated unjustly.
“Why do you just send calls to Wike, you should have to go to him,” Ortom said.
“When people left the party, Wike was on ground. It was Wike that brought me back to PDP when I was treated unjustly.
“He brought me back to PDP in 2015. You have treated Wike badly. The party at the national level should go to him and appeal to him. He came second to Atiku.”
Ortom claimed that the Presidential Candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar, insulted the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
He said it was an insult for Atiku to send emissaries to Wike, who was runner-up in the party’s presidential primaries.
The governor criticized Atiku for not reaching out to Wike personally.
Ortom said: “It’s an insult for Atiku Abubakar to send people to a powerful mobiliser like Wike.
“Atiku offended Wike. It is an insult for Atiku to send people to call Wike.
“Atiku and the leadership of the party at all levels must visit him, Wike is a strong pillar in PDP.”
“Why can’t Atiku visit Wike personally?”, Ortom asked, saying that it was the right thing to do to douse tension in the party and assuage the feelings of betrayal perpetrated against the Rivers State governor.
In response to questions on rumblings in the PDP in the aftermath of the Presidential primaries, Ortom said, “I was among the 17 member committee set up by Atiku and 14 of us in the committee said the person should be Wike. Unfortunately, Atiku picked Okowa, that is his wisdom.
“You cannot ignore the decision of a committee you set up yourself and expect people to be happy. For now, I have gone into hibernation.”
On whether Ortom will support the candidature of the PDP, he said, “I am in hibernation. I am praying. When I finish the prayers and whatever God directs me, I will do. We expect Atiku to do more but we are not seeing that.”
On alleged Atiku camp’s attempts to reach out to Wike by phone calls, Ortom said: “They should stop that. Atiku should go to him. Why won’t he (Wike) ignore their calls. Is that not an insult? Wike is a pillar in the party. Everybody knows that. Currently, nobody in the party has contributed more for the party to move forward than Wike.
In his reaction, the former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, explained why he believes Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, would never support the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Fayose, in an interview said power must shift to the southern part of Nigeria in 2023 after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.
The former governor also recounted how Atiku “promised” to make Wike, the Rivers State governor, his running mate after he was declared winner of the PDP presidential primary election.
According to Fayose, Atiku failed to fulfil his promise to Wike when he settled for the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.
“Wike never said he wanted to be VP, but when Atiku visited him, he was the one who said, ‘I want you to be my VP’. He said that to Wike. If that then changes, is Wike not supposed to be told? Is he not supposed to know?”
He recalled that Atiku had ignored the recommendation of a committee set up by the opposition party to pick his running mate.
“PDP set up a committee to recommend a running mate for the candidate and the committee voted and picked Wike, but they didn’t comply with the recommendation of the committee.
“If the party is now a one-man show, we will show them that we can resist it. We are with Wike 100per cent.
“When they need Wike’s money and Wike’s support, they will say, ‘Wike is good enough’. Wike has been injured, but we will remain with him. Whatever he does is what we would do; wherever he asks us to go is where we will go.”
When asked what would happen should Wike ask them to support Atiku, the former governor said: “Wike will never say we should support Atiku.
“Wike cannot come out to say he is supporting Atiku. I dare him to say so; because he knows that whatever he says will haunt him forever. If Wike supports Atiku, we will abandon him.”
On whether the plan is now to technically support the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, or his counterpart in the Labour Party, Peter Obi, Fayose said: “this is not about Bola Tinubu or Obi, but this is about our belief that power must come to the South and it is a struggle we must actualise”.
Fayose further explained that “when the June 12 election was cancelled, the presidency was zoned to the South-West to pacify the South-West region.
“When former President Goodluck Jonathan was over staying, it was believed that he was already using the northern slot. So, he was opposed and a northern candidate was installed through the APC.
”This time, it is the turn of the South because Buhari has spent eight years. Why will PDP be insisting that it must again be the turn of the North.”
Fayose also stated that he does not care if his actions are perceived as anti-party activity.
“What I am saying is, it is the turn of the South, and if they want to expel me, to hell with them. I am not taking money from anyone to belong to this party.
“If they want to rock this boat, we will help them to rock it.”
In his reaction, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Walid Jibrin, said that the party would do whatever it takes to ensure Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, doesn’t defect.
“We in PDP know how to solve our problems. We know that Governor Nyesom Wike may not be happy.
“It is the intention of this party to constitute a reconciliation committee that will meet Governor Nyesom Wike to talk to him, appeal to him, and pray that he will not leave our party,” he said.
Jibrin described Governor Nyesom Wike, as “a great man who has been fighting for the party and the party will not want to see him moving to another party”.
He also said the party will meet with all the persons who participated in the primaries.
“We will all visit Governor Nyesom Wike together, and if it means kneeling to Wike, we will kneel for him,” the BoT chairman said.
“We respect him. We respect his integrity and honesty in supporting the PDP. It is our belief that in any contest, there must be a winner and a loser.”
Wike has been involved lately in closed-door meetings with some top politicians who visited his country home shortly after the 2022 PDP presidential primaries and controversial selection of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate.
The governor has so far met with Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party; Governor David Umahi of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP); and the Bauchi State Governor and former presidential aspirant, Senator Bala Mohammed of the PDP in his private residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He has also met with PDP leaders in the National Assembly, as well as a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.
Reacting, yesterday, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, said the leadership of the party is taking action to address the grievances of all the PDP members.
Atiku stressed that every governor, legislator, and other officials elected on the platform of the party “are much loved and respected by me”.
He made this known via a string of tweets on his verified Twitter handle, yesterday.
He wrote: “The @OfficialPDPNig will remain united. Focus on our actions. We are taking action to address the feelings of all party members.
“The unity in our community is my priority. Our resolve to unify Nigeria starts in our party and moves to the community, then on to society.
“Every governor, legislator, and other elected officials produced by our party, and party members and loyalists, are much loved and respected by me
“When they speak, I listen. I do not only listen. Appropriate actions have been taken, are being taken, and will continue to be advanced,” the PDP standard-bearer stated.
This is coming amidst the crisis rocking the main opposition party ahead of the 2023 general election.
The PDP National Working Committee (NWC) later nominated three names that included Okowa, Wike, and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, to Atiku for the party’s vice presidential candidate.
Tai APC Collapses As Hundreds Return To PDP …Say They Were Blinded By Fake Promises
Over 500 former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Tai Local Government Area have returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The returnees led by the first PDP Chairman of the area, Hon Peter Gwezia, announced their return to the PDP, last Saturday, during the GDI’s sensitisation programme for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) at the Council Secretariat, Saakpenwa.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the returnees while renouncing membership of the APC, Hon Peter Gwezia, said he and other APC members decided to leave the party due to failure of leadership.
While promising to work for the success of the PDP in the 2023 election, Gwezia said the APC lacked ideas, and was like a vehicle without engine, could not take them to their desired destination, hence their decision to leave the party.
In his remarks, Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron, who received the returnees on behalf of the Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor, assured them of equal treatment, saying there are no new members in the party.
“I want to welcome you all and to say that in PDP and GDI where you are today, no person is new. We all have equal status, we all have equal rights. Some of the people that were with you there doing the jamboree that came back today, they are commissioners; they have gone to the National Assembly, become chairmen of councils.
“So, having seen what our leader, Chief Nyesom Wike has done in Rivers State, and in Tai, and what your chairman of council is doing in Tai, they have come back to take their rightful position. We want to thank all of you, and to say that the party chairman and the chairman of council will integrate you into the activities of GDI”.
Also speaking, GDI President-General, Chief Bright Amaewhule, said the performance of the present administration in the state was enough testimony for any Rivers son or daughter to reckon that PDP was the only party which had their interest at heart.
Amaewhule said that of the candidates lined up for the governorship seat in the state, only the PDP Governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, was competent and qualified to give the state good governance from day one.
He, therefore, challenged eligible voters who have not collected their PVCs to do so as soon as possible, and prepare to cast their votes for the right party which was a master of good governance and quality projects’ delivery in the state come 2023.
The returnees, alongside GDI members from the 10 wards of Tai, including youths, women and students groups, later engaged in a wild gyration, turning the entire arena into dance frenzy.
The event also featured solidarity speeches from stakeholders among them former and current National and State Assembly members, former and serving council chairmen, former commissioners, party stalwarts, and captains of industry, among others.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
MOSOP Tasks SPDC On Fresh Oil Spill
Factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, has called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (Shell) Joint Venture (JV), the oil and gas multinational company, to take full responsibility and appropriate action to curb a fresh oil spill in Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke, who noted that the spill was first noticed in the community early last week, blamed Shell for the spill and urged the Dutch multinational to alleviate its impact on the community, curtail its spread and commence proper remediation and compensation in accordance with global best practices.
The MOSOP leader noted that the oil spills from the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell JV, suddenly erupted within the residential area of the community, alleging that it must have been caused by equipment failure.
He observed that although the cause of the spills, which was occurring 11years after the release of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, was yet to be ascertained, the spills have affected residential areas and community dwellers have been asked by the MOSOP to evacuate the area, to avoid causality in case of a fire.
“This massive spill is occurring 11 years after the UNEP released a damning report exposing Shell’s devastation of the Ogoni environment.
“We have communicated with community leaders to cooperate with investigations and ensure that every detail about this spill is communicated to our secretariat as soon as possible”, he said.On his part, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said, “the cause of the crude oil spill which occurred inside the community where people live is not yet known at this time.”
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
Nigeria’s Freedom Of Expression Attracting Global Attention, Buhari Claims
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, said it was instructive that Nigeria was attracting positive international attention as a country that promoted media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said this was premised on the government’s understanding of the important roles that information literacy and media education played in sustainable development.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this while pledging his “full support” for three major international events scheduled to hold in Nigeria in October and November 2022.
They include: the 2022 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Media, Information Literacy Week in Abuja, in October, the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Lagos, as well as the second Global Association of Literary Festivals Conference, Abeokuta, in November.
In the statement titled ‘President Buhari pledges support as Nigeria hosts major cultural, tourism and literary events,’ he said the global events were opportunities to showcase the nation’s rich heritage in culture, arts, tourism and entertainment as well as advancements on media freedom.
Earlier, the Minister of Information ad Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that hosting the 2022 UNESCO Global Media, Information Literacy Week, would help to address the rising spate of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Expressing his delight to welcome international visitors to Nigeria, Buhari urged citizens to leverage the events to exhibit the values “that make us a unique, friendly and peace-loving people.”
The statement read in part, “Welcoming the decision by the UNESCO’s World Tourism Organisation and the Global Association of Literary Festivals to grant Nigeria the right to host these separate historic events, the President assures all relevant stakeholders and participants of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Nigeria.
“On the MIL Week, Buhari notes that it is instructive that Nigeria is attracting positive international attention as a country that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression, recognising the important roles information literacy and media education play in sustainable development.
“On the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry, the President says the rapid growth of Nigeria’s film, fashion, music, and the Information and Communications Technology sector, and the increase in international appeal and acceptance would continue to spur government to devote more resources to the sector.”
Among other initiatives, Buhari noted that the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, established by his administration and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had provided single-digit financing to many young Nigerians in the fields of fashion, film, music and information technology.
He noted that the $100 million re-development of the National Theatre, Lagos, into a world-class creative park is also ongoing, following the handover of the facility to the CBN and the Bankers Committee.
The President, therefore, expressed confidence that the literary world would find many good things to celebrate about Nigeria when they meet in the historic city of Abeokuta, homeland and birthplace of one of Nigeria’s finest literary icons and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
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