2023: Wike, Allies Send Strong Statement With Absence At Atiku’s Campaign Flag-off Event

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The lingering crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is showing no sign of abating on Monday as scores of the party’s southern stakeholders snubbed the kick-off event of the party’s presidential campaign sending a strong statement that the disunity in the party might cost the party the 2023 General Election.

The New Diplomat learnt that some notable aggrieved members of the main opposition party including Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his counterparts Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Ikpeazu Okezie of Abia State; Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose; former Cross Rivers State Governor, Donald Duke and other top party chieftains stayed away from the event which held at the Nest of Champions International Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

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This Newspaper had severally reported that the PDP had been witnessing stormy waters since it concluded the nomination process of both its presidential candidate and vice-presidential candidate.

Wike, who contested and lost the party’s presidential election has been aggrieved with top bigwigs of the party, particularly with the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, demanding his resignation.

Wike alongside his allies had demanded Ayu should resign on the grounds that both the presidential candidate and the National Chairman of the party cannot be northerners. He argued that the National Chairmanship of the party should automatically be zoned to the south to give room for equity and fairness.

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The demands have since been rejected by Ayu and those loyal to him. Ayu’s loyalists have since said their principal will only resign from this position when their presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar is sworn in as the President of Nigeria.

This degenerated into a full-blown crisis as several southern chieftains of the party pulled out of the campaign council of the party.

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The southern chieftain proved their initial statement on Monday, snubbing the flag-off campaign event of the party in Uyo.

Those at the campaign inauguration include the party’s National Assembly members and National Working Committee members led by Ayu.

Members of the PDP Board of Trustees led by a former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara were also present at the venue.

The PDP governors present at the rally include Sokoto State Governor and Director-General of the Campaign Council, Aminu Tambuwal; the Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintri; Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku; and the host governor and chairman of the PDP Campaign Council, Udom Emmanuel.

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Others are the Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri; his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed; Delta State Governor and Atiku’s running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa; and Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

Also at the event were the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu; former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido and others.

Meanwhile, addressing the mammoth crowd at the Nest of Champions International Stadium, Uyo, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku lamented that since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took over the leadership of the country in 2015, Nigerians have witnessed unprecedented hunger, insecurity and poor economy while Nigerian students have continued to stay out of school.

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According to him, the PDP on the other hand lifted Nigerians out of poverty when it assumed power in 1999, noting that Nigeria became the biggest economy in Africa.

He added that the flag-off of the presidential campaign mission was to rescue Nigeria from hunger, and poverty and bring back the unity the country lacked.

Atiku said, ‘’Today, as we inaugurate the flag-off of the campaign to rescue Nigeria, to rescue Nigeria from hunger, to rescue Nigeria from poverty and bring back the unity we are lacking in this country; I want to appeal to all Nigerians to vote for PDP.

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“If you vote for PDP, it will be a vote for prosperity, it will be a vote for unity, it will be a vote for your safety. So, there will be no more hunger and there will be security. I swear, if you vote for PDP, you will not be out of school, you will get jobs, there will be security, there will be unity.”

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