Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Executive Committee have confirmed the claim by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, that he notified the party’s leadership before accepting to serve in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, and a source who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the claim to our correspondent.
Wike, a former governor of Rivers State, said upon assumption of office as a minister a few weeks ago that he sought the approval of key leaders of the PDP before accepting the offer from an All Progressives Congress-led government.
Responding to accusations that his decision to work for the APC government was a betrayal of his loyalty to his party, the PDP, Wike stated, “They said they will sanction me that I took an appointment. That’s ridiculous. The President wrote to all the 36 state governors to bring names of people to appoint. Didn’t PDP governors submit names?
“Before this appointment came, I wrote to the (PDP) National Chairman. I wrote to the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. I wrote to the zonal chairman of the party and my state chairman.
“I wrote to my governor and all of them wrote me back and said ‘accept.’ I have my evidence documented. Forget these reggae dancers. I call them reggae dancers because when you have lost your opportunity, you have lost because of arrogance and impunity.”
Meanwhile, the PDP NEC members confirmed that Wike in a letter addressed to the party’s acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, informed the party of a ministerial offer for him to serve in Tinubu’s cabinet.
Abdullahi told our correspondent in an interview on Friday that Wike sent a letter to PDP acting chairman before accepting Tinubu’s offer. He noted that Wike in the letter informed Damagum that he was going to “answer President Tinubu’s clarion call” and requested for approval.
He stated, “Before he accepted the appointment of the governing party, Governor Wike decided to accept the offer after informing the party. In other words, he had written to the party stating his position. But the party did not respond to him, whether to confirm its approval for him to accept the appointment or for him not to take the position. What we just did was to keep mum and watch events.
“In the letter he wrote to the party, Wike explained that he was going to answer the clarion call by the President and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Therefore, the party has not taken a position as to whether or not that will be in its interest.”
READ ALSO ENUGU TRIBUNAL: CEO UgamaTV, Hon Tochukwu Congratulates Gov. Mbah, Describes Victory as a reflection of Hope for Ndi Enugu.
When asked why the party kept mum on the issue, the party’s deputy spokesperson said, “Because we were indifferent. The letter was just to inform the party. You can tell from the wording in the letter that his mind was made up. He routed the letter through the PDP Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih, to the acting national chairman, explaining that this is the time to shun party affiliation to work for a united and prosperous Nigeria.”
Also, a member of the said, “Wike wrote all those he listed, including Damagum”.
Confiding in our correspondent, the member said, “They cannot deny it; they were all informed. He informed them that Tinubu wanted to form a government of national unity and competence and he gave him a ministerial offer.”
Responding to a question on whether the party gave him approval, the source said, “I’m not aware, but to be honest, can any of these people tell him not to accept the offer?”
Call for expulsion
Meanwhile, the Deputy National Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, Timothy Osadolor, has reiterated his call for the expulsion of the minister over what he termed anti-party activities.
He said the youth wing of the party believed there should be no sacred cows and that continued indulgence of anti-party activities among members would send wrong signals to committed members of the party.
Osadolor in an interview with journalist said, “I’m of the school of thought that former governor Wike should be expelled from the party until he purges himself of the anti-party spirit that has taken over him. For the youth wing of the party, we believe that discipline should be instilled in all members without exception when they err. There should be no sacred cows.
“We believe strongly that the party will stand to gain more when it shows it does not support anti-party activities from members, especially senior members of the party. Wike has shown he is against PDP and therefore he should not claim to have her interest at heart.”
NWC divided – Ex-gov
A two-time former governor from the North-West has expressed concern over the division in the party’s National Working Committee over Atiku and Wike.
The former governor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Wike and his group were instrumental in the victory of some national officers of the party and that while many fell out with him for working against the party, some remained loyal to him.
The former governor said, “The two leaders (Atiku and Wike) are dividing the leadership of the party with their utterances and this is not good for us as a party in opposition,” as he warned that the future of the party might be worse than it is currently if urgent steps were not taken to address what he called the leadership gap in the party.
He added, “The party is facing an uncertain future. As a leader of the party, I am shocked that Mr Umar Damagum (the acting national chairman) is yet to present his plan for the party before the stakeholders. He is torn between his loyalty to Atiku and Wike. As things stand, things would only get worse because either Atiku or Wike must give way for the party to breathe.
“My stand is that the leadership of the party should stand its ground and deal with those who worked against the party. If this is not done, discipline will be difficult to enforce in the future.”
A former National Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Tsauri, however urged party faithful to be patient, noting that the Supreme Court would soon give a final judgment on the election petition, to enable the party to decide on the next line of action. “Like I always say, no single individual is big enough to kill the PDP, which is the only organised and truly national party in Nigeria. We will deal with these issues at the appropriate time,” he added.