The G-5 Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) returned home yesterday from their latest strategic talks in London and immediately launched into a fresh verbal battle with the party.
Rivers State governor,Nyesom Wike , dared the party to expel him if it could for alleged anti-party activity.
He also denied that he and other members of the Integrity Group – Govs. Samuel Ortom (Benue),Seyi Makinde (Oyo),Ifeanyi Ugwanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) – had struck a deal with one of the presidential candidates outside of the PDP.
He spoke on a day the PDP flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, called himself an elephant who cannot be taken by surprise by the G-5 governors.
Atiku’s running mate and Delta State Governor,Ifeanyi Okowa,said separately yesterday that God,and not the G-5,would determine the fate of the PDP in the election.
Wike, who moved straight from the Port Harcourt International Airport to Igbo-Etche in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area to kick off the construction of Enekah-Igbo Etche road project, taunted Atiku’s loyalists for preoccupying themselves with the engagements of the G-5.
He did not disclose details of their London meeting but wondered why Atiku’s supporters kept discussing every move of the G-5 which it repeatedly dismissed as insignificant and irrelevant to the victory of the PDP presidential candidate.
The governor told Atiku’s camp that what was unfolding currently was a prelude to the trouble that it would face in due course.
He dared the PDP to expel him and “try and see how you will survive it.”
His words: “I travelled overseas on the 25th night having worked hard. I didn’t know it was still important that just going to unwind was a problem to some people. Some people said they had moved on, they don’t bother about G-5. Why do they bother about where we go to and where we didn’t go?
“We go to a club, you are worried. We go and swim you are worried. Yet you tell Nigerians you don’t bother. They said I had a conversation with BBC. Where is the picture and where is the video?
“We don’t have journalists again, we have pressmen. You can see people not being able to dish out correct information. You see newspaper houses that are now running elections. You see TV houses now standing for election; Wike had interviews with BBC and say we have a deal with so,so candidate.Meanwhile, no video.
“Some of you waste your time to listen to such things. When I want to do something I will do it. Do you need to speculate? You don’t need to. They say there is trouble but there is no trouble. What we have is introduction to trouble that will come.”
Continuing, he said;”They said we had meetings with a candidate. What is your problem assuming there was a meeting? Has Atiku not been holding meetings with governors of APC? Ask him. As he is in Dubai, don’t we know what is going on?
“So, why do you bother about us? The G5 you said you could win without us. Leave us alone. Focus on your problems. So, I want to tell you that whatever decision I will take, I will let you know and I can’t take any decision without taking advice from you.
“We know the parties some of these papers are supporting and their candidates. I am not the one that will go and see somebody and hide. Hide from who? Who is that person that will threaten me?You said you would sack me, go ahead.
“I am not worried. You that are sacking, you are worried, me that you are sacking is not worried. Try and see how you will survive it. I just went to enjoy myself and my family. If you check their Blood Pressure (BP) now it is very high. My BP is like that of a kid. They are killing themselves for nothing.
“Focus on what you are doing and forget all these rumour mongering that Tinubu, Obi, Obasanjo have done this and that. Am I contesting election? You contesting, go and focus on your campaigns. Tell the people what you will do when you enter. When you want to tell people the truth, tell them the truth. They have been circulating on Arise TV, one of those contesting elections, that Wike said as a party man whoever wins I will support. I cannot deny that. In spite of the shortcomings of that primary election I still said ‘look I will not do anything. I won’t go to court.’
“You, fulfill the one you said that if a presidential candidate comes from this zone, I will resign. Now that the presidential candidate has come you don’t want to fulfill it and you want me stupidly to continue. Is that proper?
“The presidential candidate told me in my house in Abuja when he came to see me, there was no way he would be presidential candidate and they would also produce the chairmanship of the party. Let him say he didn’t tell me that. Fulfill the promise. Did I say I am not a party member? You that made a promise you don’t want to be a party member?”
Wike alleged that Atiku himself gave his (Atiku’s ) former boss,ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo conditions for his support in the run-up to the 2003 presidential election.
He said: “You said we are giving condition. We are giving no condition. We forget history. In 2002 and 2003, when President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to run for a second tenure, a whole President, he knelt down before his Vice-President and said, ‘my vice please allow me to run.’
“Do you know one of the conditions he gave him? Tony Anenih must be sacked as Minister of Works and that Tony Anenih must not be in the presidential campaign council. Obasanjo obliged and sacked Tony Anenih as Minister and removed him from the presidential council and brought him back to Southsouth. And people are talking about conditions.
“This is a president, a retired general that knelt down for his vice and he gave him conditions. This one we are not even giving conditions. We are only saying by the constitution of our party, by what the national chairman said and by what you told me in my house when you came to see me, give us the national chairman and you say you will not listen to us and that we should not give you condition. Something that is touching on the foundation of the unity of a country.
“When I see riff-raffs moving around and talking all kinds of things; what they don’t know, people just because of position they can sell their children, I will not do that. When the time comes, we will know who has capacity and who doesn’t have it.
“When you see members of their presidential council, some of them are professional beggars. One of them stupidly said that Wike should know that PDP had fought for him. I have never left PDP since 1998. Even when they came to destroy PDP, I remained to save PDP. So, how can these kinds of characters come and tell me that I should not destroy PDP. The PDP you destroyed.
“Since 1998 till now I haven’t left this party. Who is to speak for PDP? Is it all these dead woods? They would come to your state, beg you and stay with you for two months and say you are the best but later they would go back and do a different thing. People should be honourable in their lives.”
Wike blasts Secondus
The Rivers State governor did not spare the immediate past National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, for claiming that he (Secondus) was a benefactor of Wike.
He said: “I have been reading what Secondus has been saying. And that is what I have said that education is very important. He said that no one could impose a presidential candidate and I said I never said so.
“All I said is that I will tell Rivers people who I want to support. It is then left for Rivers people to see whether they will follow me or not. He now came up to say I am fighting my benefactors that I would soon leave office. Secondus, you couldn’t have been my benefactor and those following you couldn’t have been too.
“I ran as council chairman 1998-1999. You didn’t support me. Second tenure, you tried to upturn my ticket. But you couldn’t. My benefactors are the Nsirim family, Senator George Mbata and Dr. Peter Odili family. These are the people who gave me the necessary support to grow financially and politically.
“If you say you supported me I agree and it was because of the support that made me give you a lot of sugar to thank you. Rivers people and Andoni people will hear it today. I have said Abiye’s own and he said he would sue me, has he sued?”
Wike alleged that successive administrations in Rivers State awarded contracts worth over N50bn to Secondus.
He said: “Before I came as governor, Akpejo-Woji road was awarded by the former administration of Amaechi.That contract was awarded at the cost of N3bn to Secondus.He may come and say he recommended a contractor. That contract was revised by that administration to N11bn, then I came and it was revised. As I speak to you 100 per cent was paid on that road, N13.7bn.
“We are not owing a dime. We awarded Bonny-Nembe-Bille road, Bille Jetty, N3.2bn. As I speak to you, we have paid him N3.2bn. Marine Base Jetty was N3.9bn we have paid him N1.9bn only 10 per cent job has been done. Andoni-Unity-Opobo road, the total sum of N20.8bn we have paid N18.7bn and job done is 61 per cent. Meanwhile we have paid 90 per cent.
“Woji-Aleto Refinery road awarded at the cost of N11bn ,we paid N5.8bn. If you add everything, out of about N50bn job we have paid N43.9bn. Now Secondus what do you want me to do?
“Mention any state in this country that you merely supported somebody and the person appreciated and said do this. You can’t be my benefactor. You were not the one who made me governor. For you to make me governor you must be the one that sponsored my election. How much did you bring?
“You are deceiving Nigerians. Rather, I should be your benefactor. When the issue of national chairman came, people like Sule Lamido, all of them opposed you. But I said no, you would be. Abiye Sekibo, Austin Opara, George Sekibo, Lee Maeba, Celestine Omehia, all of them met and said you should not be national chairman.
“I called a meeting in Government House. I said time had come when we must build ourselves and trust each other. Lee Meaba stood up and said he was disappointed in all of them and said it wasn’t what we agreed. ‘We agreed we will tell the governor that Secondus should not go’.
“I made sure nobody ran even from the Southwest. So I am your benefactor. You can’t be my benefactor. The question I ask is: every job given to you under Odili to the people of Andoni mention one. Odili stayed eight years, gave you job as state party chairman.Mention one you have completed.
“Didn’t I know that I have eight years to be in office? If I had wanted to remain in power I would have run for the Senate. I am not like you. You wanted to be national chairman to impose your nephew to be governorship candidate of the PDP but I said it won’t work here. We had to kick you out first and we did and you are out.
“In 2008 you people took me to EFCC when I was the Chief of Staff, did I not defeat you people. I won down to the Court of Appeal. You can’t speak for Rivers people. I can speak for Rivers people because I have defended Rivers interest many times.
“You have not defended Rivers interest and no Rivers man will listen to you. When I was a minister, I brought things and as governor I have brought many things. My projects are fighting them not anybody. I don’t know how I will get money for a contract in my community and I won’t do it, put the money in my pocket. You must be a wicked person.
On his detractors’ claims that he owned properties, Wike said no law debarred him from owning assets and asked those against him to approach the EFCC.
He said: “No law says I should not have property. Go to EFCC. I have been there before and as a public officer as I am leaving I will go again.”
On the sealing of Atiku’s campaign office in Port Harcourt, the governor said: “They are making noise that I sealed Atiku’s campaign office. They are a bunch of liars and criminals. I said we would not be violent, that we would use the instrument of law.
“They applied and they told them it was a residential area. They used force. We went to court. Court gave an order and sealed the place. It is not me.The State House of Assembly made a law. There are people you can’t cow. I am a proper Ikwere man, you can’t cow me. You must comply with the law.If not, anything you see, you will take.
“We have made our demand and our demand is that national chairman must come to the south. It is non-negotiable. If you say you don’t care, no problem. Let’s go to the field. All these hangers-on in Abuja be careful. Nobody can use Rivers State to negotiate for oil block or juicy ministerial positions, no.
Atiku to G-5 governors: Make yourself president if you want to stop me
From the camp of Atiku to the G-5 yesterday came a salvo of its own .
Special Assistant on Public Communication to Atiku, Phrank Shaibu,in a statement said anyone planning to stop him (Atiku) from achieving his political ambition, should first make himself the president of Nigeria.
“Atiku will be president. Whether the cock crows or not, the sun must rise. Power belongs to God Almighty; no man can arrogate to himself the powers of God Almighty. Any man who can boast of stopping Atiku should first make himself president of Nigeria,” Shaibu said.
“Atiku is an elephant. Even when an elephant walks on thorns, it does not limp. And when you have seen a snake, it cannot bite you anymore. In this case, we have seen the snake, how can we be taken by surprise?”
Wike, others want to commit political suicide – Dino Melaye
Spokesman of the PDP presidential campaign council, Dino Melaye, said on Arise TV yesterday that the G5 governors were on the verge of committing political suicide by their continued opposition to the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
He said: “They (the G-5 governors) have no reason whatsoever to say they’re not going to support the candidate of their party. But I’ve made the statement that if they fail to support the presidential candidate of their party, and they themselves are running for elections, then they should be ready to celebrate their political obituaries.
“I don’t know what diabolic means they will use to dump the presidential candidate of their party and then advocate for another candidate outside their party. That will be a new trend in politics globally.
“So I advise that they don’t go that way, because if they do, I want to say politically, they will be like a dying horse doing the last kick.”
God’ll determine next president not G-5 Govs – Okowa
Atiku’s running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa,also fired his own salvo at the G-5.
The Delta State Governor told party supporters in Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West Local Government Areas of the state that God would determine Nigeria’s next President and not the action of G-5 governors.
He said: “God has said it that we, the PDP, will win this election. Many things may be happening now and people may be asking what about the G-5 governors.
“These governors are our brothers; everybody is important. But what God has said will happen, nobody can change it.
“So even if some of them decide to support APC, some will still remain with us because there will be division among them.
“The real truth is that I have strong political eyes and I have observed that no matter what they do, PDP will win the forthcoming election by the grace of God.
“It is only the power of God that can help us to win. So, no matter what the G-5 said that they would work with APC or any other party, we will win,”he said.
Okowa said the PDP would bring the desired change in the country and urged Nigerians to vote the party for progress
Two PDP bigwigs dump party amid fresh crisis
But the PDP in the state has been hit by the resignation of two of its top members in Ethiope East LGA.
Their resignations came within 24 hours of each other.
Evance Ivwurie, a former member of the Delta State House of Assembly, Ethiope East Constituency, Evance Ivwurie, and Faith Majemite, a former chairman, Ethiope East LGA alleged that the party had deviated from its ideals of inclusiveness, marginalisation, absence of good governance etc.
A source, who preferred anonymity, said while Majemite may have joined the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, Ivwurie’s next move remains unclear.
Majemite’s resignation letter was addressed to the chairman of the party in the local government area but copied the ‘Ward 6’ chairman and state chairman of the party.
She alleged that the party had deviated from the known ethics, values and ideological stand on inclusiveness envisioned by the party’s foundation members.
The letter reads: “This is to inform you, effective today, 28th December, 2022, I hereby cease to be a member of the PDP due to the heinous leadership impunity, hostile plots against my thronging supporters; and, I no longer find the very values, ethics and ideology of the party’s founding fathers.
“Therefore, in order to better serve my thronging supporters and my ward, local government, state, country and around the world, I have decided to end my affiliation with a party that has negative intentions for us.”
Ivwurie in his letter to the Ward 2 Chairman of the party in Abraka, said: “I write to notify you of my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party with immediate effect from today, the 27th of December, 2022.”
He attributed his decision to the absence of good governance and complete derailment of the Party from acceptable norms, ideals, tenets and principles of democracy in the state.
He said he left the party, “For neglecting and marginalizing my community, constituency and our entire state.
PDP’s $300,000 bribe: Edo dep gov, zonal chairman at war
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, is now locked in a stand-off with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Vice Chairman, Southsouth, Chief Dan Orbih,after Orbih named the DG in an alleged $300,000 bribe scandal during the September 2020 governorship election in the state.
Orbih,an ally of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, had claimed that Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki demanded the sum from Shaibu to make up the fund to pacify the then leading PDP governorship aspirant in the state, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama,to step down.
The PDP National Vice Chairman made the allegation at his Ogbona hometown in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State while hosting the PDP members at an end-of-the-year party.
He said: “Shaibu told me that Governor Obaseki demanded $300,000 from him, to make up the fund to settle Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama for the governorship ticket which he (Shaibu) gave his boss (Obaseki), only to discover that no penny was given to Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama, neither did he demand a dime for stepping down.”
Orbih also said he asked Obaseki to confirm if he gave money to anybody to allow him to join the PDP on June 19, 2020, from the then All Progressives Congress (APC), or to contest for governorship, but he said no.
He said: “Now, the truth is revealed for Edo residents to be the judge ahead of the 2023 general elections.”
Orbih also said that in view of the deepening crisis in the Edo chapter of PDP, the national leadership of the party had set up a reconciliation committee headed by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.
Part of the committee’s recommendations, according to him,was that the Edo South Senatorial District’s ticket of the PDP should be given to Ogbeide-Ihama, to compensate him for stepping down for Obaseki.
The zonal chairman stated that it was also agreed that the Legacy Group in Edo PDP, headed by him, would take one Senate ticket, while Obaseki’s group would take the third Senatorial ticket.
The Ortom Committee,he said,also recommended that the Obaseki group should take 13 of the 24 Edo House of Assembly tickets, while his (Orbih’s) group was allocated the balance of 11 tickets.
Orbih said: “Suddenly, Shaibu came back to me and said Obaseki stated that he wanted all the 24 Edo House of Assembly tickets.
“At this point, it was apparent that Obaseki really wanted no settlement in Edo PDP.”
However,Shaibu yesterday denied the claims by Orbih.
He dismissed the allegation that he gave $300,000 to Obaseki to “hand over to him (Orbih) as part of some sort of political settlement regarding the Edo State chapter of the PDP.”
“Nothing can be farther from the truth,” Shaibu declared,and added:”I want to state without equivocation that no such transaction ever occurred. It even betrays reasons that I, as Deputy Governor, would have to send the State Governor, my boss, on an errand to hand money to a party leader. It is an aberration of the highest proportion that deserves no contemplation.
“I, therefore, condemn the rumour in its entirety and urge that the insinuations be disregarded, as it has no basis in facts.”
Orbih and Obaseki have been at loggerheads since Obaseki’s defection from APC to PDP, over attempts by the governor to ensure that his allies, who defected with him, are in charge of PDP at the ward, local government and state levels, which the zonal chairman described as illegal, unconstitutional and he kicked against.
Obaseki is backing the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, while Orbih is with the Wike-led G-5/Integrity Group.