Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike’s team in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has pulled out of the campaign Council of the party’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
This decision was taken at a meeting early Wednesday morning in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Members of the Rivers State Governor’s team vowed not to play any role in the Atiku’s campaign for the 2023 general elections.
They said the only condition for them to return to the campaign council was for the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to resign.
Campaigns for the 2023 election are expected to commence exactly a week from now.
Pressure being mounted on Ayu to step down has resulted in Walid Jibrin relinquishing his role as the Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman of the opposition party, but Wike’s camp rejected this.
Last week, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, a strong ally of Wike, reiterated the call for Ayu to step down when Atiku visited Oyo to meet with party stakeholders.
Rising from a meeting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday morning, Wike’s loyalists vowed not to partake in Atiku’s campaign activities until Ayu resigns.
Chief Olabode George, who walked out of the meeting where Jibrin’s resignation was announced, read the communique on behalf of the group.
“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before horse; the pertinent issue remains the Ayu leadership. We therefore resolve that Senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the national chairman for an acting chairman of southern Nigeria extraction. We resolved not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr Iyorchia Ayu,” he said.
Among those who attended the meeting held at Wike’s residence are former Governors Olusegun Mimiko, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Jonah Jang, Ayo Fayose and Donald Duke.
Also in attendance are a former justice minister, Mohammed Adoke; Prof Jerry Gana, former Information Minister; South-South Chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih; and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche.
Many of those who attended the meeting are members of the over 300-man campaign team of the opposition party’s presidential candidate.
On Monday, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State called on the national leadership of the PDP to address the grievances of Wike, saying dismissing him would portend danger for the party in the 2023 general elections.
Osun 2022: Tribunal Adjourns Pre-Hearing In Suit Against Adeleke
The Osun Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, on Monday, adjourned until October 4 the pre-hearing of a petition filed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Kume, fixed the date and granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke seven days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.
Earlier, Counsel to the All Progress Congress (APC), Prof. Kayode Olatoke, SAN, had informed the court of his readiness to continue with the pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.
At the request of the tribunal for advice, Olatoke suggested that the matter should be delayed for a few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.
Counsel to the INEC, Ben Ananaba, SAN, said the pre-hearing could not go on because he was just served with the pre-hearing form this morning, saying statutorily, they have seven days to respond.
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Counsel to Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin and counsel representing PDP, Nathaniel Oke, SAN, also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.
Addressing newsmen after the sitting, Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place, but the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.
He said that PDP is ready to defend its victory in the last governorship election in the state.
Following the outcome of the July 16 governorship election in Osun, Oyetola and the APC filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the State High Court, Osogbo.
The petitioners who were seeking justice challenged the results of the election in some of the Local Government Areas and prayed the Tribunal to return their mandate to them.
Ayu in fresh trouble over whereabouts of N10bn nomination fees
The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu, is in fresh trouble over the whereabouts of N10 billion realized by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants.
The fresh controversy is coming barely 48 hours to the kickoff of the 2023 election campaigns scheduled for September 28, 2022.
The PDP had fixed its presidential nomination form and expression of interest forms for N40 million, governorship N21 million, Senate N3.5 million, House of Representatives N2.5 million, and House of Assembly N600, 000.
It was learnt that a bloc in the party is trying to offer each National Working Committee (NWC) member N28millon to gloss over the huge cash in order to curtail any further crisis in the party but some members of the NWC, who rejected the bribe, are insisting on accountability and on getting answers about the depletion of the cash from over N10billion to N1billion.
According to The Nation, the aggrieved camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was pushing for accountability to increase the pressure on Ayu to resign.
It was gathered that members of the PDP NWC were surprised to learn that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar allegedly made N1billion available to the party before the presidential primaries.
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Recall that Governor Wike, during a media chat on Friday, claimed that the opposition party chairman took N1 billion from a presidential aspirant before the PDP primary and did not remit the said sum to the party.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Ahead of our campaign, all is still not well in the party because some NWC members have raised issues over what had become of the N10 billion nomination fees.
“They are demanding immediate accountability from the party. I think their anger followed a leakage that the amount collected has reduced from about N10 billion to N1billion.
“Governor Wike’s disclosure of a N1 billion gift to the party before the PDP Presidential primaries has compounded the challenge in the party because some NWC members and stakeholders were just hearing for the first time.
“The anger is mounting and Wike’s camp is already capitalizing on the situation to push for accountability and plot Ayu’s exit.
“I can tell you that the party is in a tinderbox. Some forces wanted to use accountability as an excuse to cause confusion. We know that Ayu has repeatedly assured party leaders of being accountable and transparent.”
The source added, “These NWC members have been adamant on accountability. They are demanding the whereabouts of the huge cash.”
Pastors are to lead people to salvation not politics, Keyamo tells PFN
Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, has fired back at the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria for the body’s criticism of the MUslim-Muslim ticket of the party’s presidential candidate and running mate, saying says pastors should lead the people to salvation and not politics.
David Bakare, deputy national secretary of the PFN, in an interview, said the group has no affiliation with members of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria who met with Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate, on Friday.
The PFN also said its opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC remained unchanged.
Speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, Keyamo said the PFN has no right to criticise the decisions of the ruling party.
He said, “The PFN are not members of our party. They should go and vote that day. They should not be coming to question the decision of our party publicly. The purpose of pastors or their duty is to lead people to heaven not to lead people to [presidential] villa.
“If I go to church every Sunday, I want to hear the sermon of God and I don’t want to hear the sermon of politics or who should rule me.
“I want to hear the sermon of God and what will lead me to salvation and not what to lead me to the villa.”
Asides from the PFN, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also condemned the selection of Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as the running mate to Tinubu.
Commenting on the APC’s campaign strategy for the 2023 elections, Keyamo said the party will present to Nigerians the performance of Tinubu during his time as governor of Lagos.
The minister added that Nigerians are too hungry to be bothered about issues bordering on religion.
“Nigerians are hungry, they want to see how that hunger will be addressed, not how their Christian or Muslim faiths will be addressed,” he said.
“They want to see our policies on agriculture and what Asiwaju has done before as governor of Lagos state, how he improved Lagos and how he will bring that kind of posterity to Nigeria as a whole.”
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