The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has once again weighed in on the internal affairs of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement yesterday, the party decried the seeming influence of Governor Nyesom Wike over the PDP, saying it is ready to welcome freedom lovers in the opposition who are willing to abandon it for the Rivers state governor.
“The PDP, to all intents and purposes, has become the theatre of the Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike,” APC’s spokesperson, Yekini Nabena, said.
“Since assuming office after the disputed 2015 Rivers governorship election, Wike has assumed the role of de facto PDP National Chairman, sole administration, spokesman, organising secretary and BoT Chairman.” The statement weighed in on the recent controversy over the venue of the party’s national convention where its presidential candidate would be chosen.
Wike insisted that the convention must be moved to Port-Harcourt, saying holding such a high-profile event in his state would bring tremendous economic benefits.
But not all the presidential aspirants were comfortable with Port Harcourt, although they did not openly express their reservations.
But Wike knew that some camps within the PDP were looking for a different town or city to hold the event, and moved to neutralise them earlier this week.
On Wednesday, the governor threatened presidential aspirants to desist from suggesting any other venue outside Port Harcourt, or risk suffering heavy political misfortune at the general election next February.
None of the over a dozen PDP presidential aspirants openly responded to Wike’s comments, but he was eventually made to apologise for it during a PDP National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Friday.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was amongst those who did not favour Port-Harcourt.
He feared that Wike would use “a home advantage” to impose Aminu Tambuwal, his Sokoto state counterpart who recently defected to the PDP from the ruling APC.
Wike, reports said, had promised to give Mr Tambuwal the presidential ticket of the PDP.
But there are concerns that the Sokoto governor does not have enough political influence to defeat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was at the NEC meeting that Port Harcourt was announced as the venue of the party’s convention on October 6-7, and the message immediately went out that Wike has once again had his way over all other powerful interests within the party.
All the aspirants who spoke publicly after Port Harcourt was chosen said they were comfortable with the arrangement, but critics continue to castigate Wike as exerting too much influence over the party.