Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has perfected arrangements to deliver the states votes to an opposition party in the 2023 presidential election.
Concerted efforts by stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to resolve the lingering crisis between Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate and Wike has failed to yield the desired results as the Rivers State governor and his allies have insisted that there would be no peace deal until the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigned his position in honour of the agreement reached before he was elected.
The Atiku camp, however, wants Ayu to keep his job until the conclusion of the 2023 general elections, saying he can only resign if the PDP wins the presidential election.
Atiku on his part had said he had no powers to remove Ayu. He further said if he must be removed, due process must be followed in accordance with the party’s constitution.
Few days ago, Wike appointed 14,000 persons as political advisers, 319 ward liaison officers and 40 local government area liaison officers. Twenty-four hours later, he appointed another 28,000 special assistants increasing the number to 50,000 for the over 6000 polling units in the state.
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Speaking further, the governor revealed plans to increase the appointments of the special assistants on polling units from 50, 000 to 100, 000, saying he wasn’t bothered about criticisms.
Speaking with Daily Independent, an associate of the governor said aside creating employment for the newly appointed SAs, Wike’s aim is to deliver “total votes in Rivers to any presidential candidate he pitches tent with”.
While ruling out possibility of a reconciliation with Atiku, the PDP chieftain who does not want his name in print said Wike cannot make peace with Atiku again since he has sided with Ayu and has embarked on his campaign without heeding his group’s demands.
Speaking further, he said Wike decided to appoint aides in all the polling units in the state after his opponents like Uche Secondus, Lee Maeba, Celestine Omehia and others vowed to deliver the state for Atiku.
He said with the appointment of the 100,000 aides, Wike wants to prove that he is in total control of the political structures in the state, adding that the SAs will be mandated to ensure victory in their respective polling units.
He said, “The number one aim is job creation which the governor mentioned in his media chat. But the ultimate aim is to ensure a total victory for whoever Governor Wike supports in the presidential election. All the SAs must ensure they deliver their polling units.
“The implication is that with the appointment, Wike is already 100,000 votes ahead because all the appointees will vote for the presidential candidate who the governor backs. If the appointees now deliver their respective polling units, then it’s total victory.
“One thing is clear, the governor will deliver the state to the opposition even though he has not formally given any instruction to that effect. For now, any reconciliation between him and Atiku is completely ruled out.
“Not only did Atiku chose Okowa who betrayed him as running mate, all his other appointments are from the North. Tambuwal who also betrayed Wike is appointed campaign DG. The Director of Field Operations, Umar Bature, is also from Sokoto. The national chairman of the party is also from North. Except Aniagwu who is from Delta, all the spokesmen are also from the North.
“When they sit down to take decisions, no Southerner is involved. One of Ayu’s children is also a deputy director in one of the units. One of his children was also given contract to renovate the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI). So everything is centred on the North and so there is no way they can get Wike’s support”.
Atiku’s project is already dead on arrival. He went to Kaduna and said Northerners should not vote for Yoruba or Igbo and then you want governors like (Seyi) Makinde and (Okezie) Ikpeazu to tell their people to vote for you. That’s impossible”.
Governor Wike on Sunday claimed that Atiku Abubakar does not need him in his campaign for the 2023 presidential election and would as such not force himself on the candidate.
Wike made this assertion while speaking at the commissioning of the PDP governorship campaign office and the inauguration of the PDP campaign council in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Atiku’s pictures were conspicuously missing on the party’s branded vehicles for campaigns for the 2023 general election in the state.
He also accused Atiku of appointing some members of the PDP in Rivers State into his campaign council without his (Wike) contribution.
He said, “The presidential candidate entered Rivers State and picked those he wants to pick without the contribution of the governor. So they said they don’t need me to campaign for them, that they don’t want Rivers people to campaign for them, will you force yourself”?
“I have never seen how people will disrespect a state like Rivers State and go and choose those who are enemies of the state. So they don’t want us to campaign, let’s campaign for those who want us to campaign for them,” he stated.
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