Former VP Atiku has broken his silence on the Portharcourt meeting.
News Online reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in 2019 general elections and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has explained his recent meeting with Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt.
Specifically, he said it was not targeted at removing the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) but a move to mend fences within the party.
Atiku spoke against the backdrop of speculations that Wike and himself met in Port Harcourt on strategies to get the NWC members sacked.
The position followed the rumbling within the major opposition party, culminating in the resignation of its national officers Tuesday.
Prior to that time, three governors namely Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Ben Ayade of Cross River and Mohammad Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, had dumped the PDP for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku denies rumour
But speaking to journalists in a telephone interview, Atiku described the insinuation as “beer parlour talk.”
Speaking Wednesday through his media adviser, Paul Ibe, the former vice president said: “It is a beer parlour talk, it is also mischief. Why will a former vice president be behind the plot to sack PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus? What will be his interest? Someone who has commenced the process of having conversations with stakeholders of the party on reconciliation, a man who has encouraged processes aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the party.”
He explained that “the trip he made to Port Harcourt, he made a similar one to Delta. And he has more in the offing. Why will he promote peace and stability in the party and be behind moves to sack Secondus? It’s ridiculous for anyone to talk about this.
“Atiku understands the Constitution of the PDP and what the party says about tenure for party leadership. So he cannot be working against something that he understands. That is not how democrats behave, those are anti-democratic behaviour and that is not who he is. Whoever is saying this, should know it is beer parlour talk and unnecessary mischief.”
Speaking further on his principal’s efforts to resolve the crisis, Ibe said: “The crisis is related, we cannot isolate one from the other. He recognizes that there are issues, like in every party administration. When you have more than two persons, people will have different positions, so the important thing is how to resolve them. And he has commenced the movement to resolve the issues.”
Meanwhile, PDP stakeholders met late Tuesday night and agreed that everyone should go back to their zone to consult on the state of the party.
A reliable source who spoke to Blueprint in confidence said “some National Working Committee (NWC) members, members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and stakeholders met Tuesday night, at party’s Legacy Office, Maitama in Abuja to discuss the state of the party.
“Party stakeholders that attended the meeting, which lasted till about 3 am of Wednesday, agreed that everyone should go back to their zone and consult other party chieftains on the state of the party.”
In a related development, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Secondus met with the seven national officers of the party, who resigned from office, Tuesday, over what they described as poor leadership.
Blueprint correspondent gathered that four representatives of those national officers who resigned met with the embattled national chairman at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja Wednesday.
A top party source who spoke under anonymity revealed that Secondus begged the aggrieved seven to allow all of them finish peacefully and not to rubbish all the successes the team had achieved so far.
The representatives, Blueprint gathered, told the chairman they would convey his message to the aggrieved national officers and revert to him.
Dickson wants emergency NEC
Meanwhile, former Bayelsa state governor and lawmaker representing Bayelsa West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson urged the NWC to summon an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, adding that their powers under the constitution should be utilised to discipline erring members involved in the nefarious plot to destroy the party
In a statement, Wednesday, Dickson said: “We have observed for some time the growing tension, recriminations and outright attack on the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee by some leaders of the party.
“By the party’s constitution the appropriate authority, the NWC is empowered to make replacements. I, therefore, call on the National Chairman and other members of the NWC in accordance with the constitution of the party to immediately make appropriate consultations from the states and zones from which these officers have resigned and forthwith, make those replacements subject to ratification by the NEC.
“An emergency NEC meeting should be convened which should take appropriate decisions to stabilise the party. And if there is any member of the working committee who wants to resign, such a person should consider the overall interest of the party and have a rethink. If however, any NWC members goes ahead to resign, the resignation should be accepted and consultations be made by the Chairman and NWC to fill those positions as temporary vacancies subject to ratification.
“The National Chairman and NWC members should utilise their powers under the constitution to discipline erring members involved in the nefarious plot to destroy the party. PDP is bigger than any individual and should no longer tolerate people with inordinate ambitions to destroy the party which belongs to all Nigerians. People with ambition must know that unless the party is stabilized and strengthened, their ambition will be of no consequence even if they pocket it”.
But in all of this, Chairman of the PDP Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, Senator Bukola Saraki has maintained silence since the party crisis broke out.
Saraki who was contacted through his Media Adviser, Yusuf Olaniyonu, did not answer his calls nor reply to messages.