By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
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Reconciliation moves by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) to resolve the protracted crisis between presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and camp of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike broke down yesterday.
After about five hours of discussion with Wike, the BoT delegation departed the Government House in Port Harcourt without achieving its mission.
When they arrived for the peace talk at about 12:30pm, the delegation comprising seven members was bubbling with hope.
It was, however, gathered that Wike spent significant part of the five hours to educate the BoT members on why his group would not back down on its demand that the National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, must vacate office ahead of the polls.
Those who met with the governor were a former Senate President and acting Chairman of BoT, Adolphus Wabara; former acting Governor of Kogi State, Ibrahim Idris and a former Governor of Enugu State, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo.
Others were a former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun; Kabiru TanimunTuraki, SAN; Dr. Esther Uduehi and Hajia Zainab Maina.
With Wike were the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Amb. Desmond Akawor; Rivers Elders Forum Chairman Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche, Senator Adawari Pepple, Elder Emmanuel Anyanwu, Senator Olaka Nwogu and Dr. Sam Sam Jaja.
Wabara said the meeting afforded the BoT the opportunity to properly understand the concerns of Wike, adding that they were better informed about the crisis.
He said they would convey their findings and make their position know to other BoT members in Abuja.
He said since it was the first intervention of the BoT in the crisis, he was optimistic of crisis resolution.
Wabara, who described Wike as an inestimable asset to the PDP, said ahead of the 2023 general election, the governor’s infrastructural development in Rivers was already campaigning for the party.
He said: “We have been rubbing minds for the past four hours with His Excellency, the performing Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Project. But we have not concluded.
“It is always easy to destroy, but to make peace takes sometimes. But I think we are better informed. We have gotten useful information. Every point has two sides. We have been briefed by his Excellency. So, we are going back to Abuja to digest all the information we gathered from His Excellency.
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“We had very frank talks. But one good thing is that this family remains one. You know, we are still under the umbrella called PDP and by the special grace of God, we will end up very victorious and we will end up in the Villa in May 2023 with his cooperation and support of other governors; four of them. I think we will make progress, no doubt about it.”
Wabara added: “It is work-in-progress. We will definitely get there. This is the first time the BoT is coming to see the governor. He is also a member of the BoT.
“We rubbed minds and we will find a solution very soon. Presidential campaign has started; he is campaigning for the party. I will go to Abia State to campaign. There is no ballot box for me in Abuja.
“Our governor is a PDP governor. Even if he doesn’t go out to campaign, he has campaigned already with all the projects he has delivered. I am an acting chairman of the board of trustees and I do not have the exclusiveness to stand here and tell you what the board of trustees will come up with.
“We are going back and during the meeting of the Board of Trustees, that is when Nigeria will hear where the Board of Trustees stands. Since it is an advisory body, we will be there to tell the party the truth and nothing but the truth.
Wike said what was important to all of them was to ensure that the unity of the party was not endangered.
He reiterated that he and his allies were not leaving the party, adding that they were more interested in resolving the crisis.
Wike said: “What’s important is that the house is united for the war that is coming in front. So, for me, the issues of whether they achieved peace or not today is immaterial. What is material is that PDP is united.
“What is important is to have unity, even if it takes you longer days. I think that is the message he(Wabara) is conveying.
“We have said repeatedly that we are not leaving the party. We have said so. But that does not mean that there are no internal issues that ought to be sorted out. I think what they are here for is to see how they can sort out some internal issues.”
However, spokesman for the Atiku campaign, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, yesterday assured that an end to the rift was in sight.
He said the reconciliation efforts were yielding results.
He spoke on an AIT current affairs programme, Kakaaki.
Aniagwu said Atiku and his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other leaders of the party were fully involved in the reconciliation efforts.
He added that they were working hard to resolve the contending issues in the crisis with a view to presenting a common front ahead of the elections.
Aniagwu said: “Atiku has said he is not going to leave anybody behind so what we are doing is to ensure that everybody comes on board.
“But beyond the issue of the votes, Atiku is interested in carrying everybody along even after winning the election, by the grace of God,”
“What he is doing now is part of his desire to carry everybody along and we commend our other governors for remaining in the party to express their grievances within the party.
“I can assure you that at the end of the day, the PDP will move as one family and as a cohesive force in addition to bringing other Nigerians on board with a view to reversing the ugly situation that in the country today.
“Rest assured that in no too distant time, you will see a very peaceful PDP.”