APC exploits PDP crisis, Governors woo Wike
As preparations for the 2023 general elections hot up, the ruling All Progressives Congress is making frantic moves to win more influential politicians into its fold. Three governors on the platform of the party on Friday visited the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, to woo him to join the party.
Wike is said to be dissatisfied with the outcome of the presidential primary of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, which produced Atiku Abubakar as the candidate, while he emerged as the first runner-up. The governor is also said to be aggrieved by the choice of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate despite the recommendations of a committee that favoured him.
The aftermath of the primary led to a deep crack in the party with some members, believed to be loyal to Wike, calling for the resignation of the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu and substitution of Okowa’s name with Wike as the running mate.
The absence of Atiku, who has been on vacation abroad, is also said to be exacerbating the crisis, as many believe he should have met Wike in person and play a critical role in uniting the party before the crisis escalates.
The APC is therefore believed to be taking advantage of the festering crisis in the opposition party and Atiku’s absence to woo the governor, who is seen by many as influential and a mobiliser.
On Friday, three APC governors: Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum; Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State; and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, who is a PDP member, visited Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
As soon as they alighted from their vehicle, they exchanged banters, hugs and handshakes with Wike. However, a top government official in the state who did not want his name mentioned noted that as soon as they arrived, they went into a closed-door meeting with Wike and that the meeting lasted for about an hour and thirty minutes.
Though it could not be ascertained what their discussion was about, it is believed that the visit was about the 2023 elections and attempt by the ruling party to woo the governor to join the APC.
When asked by reporters what their visit was about, Fayemi reportedly said “it was a Sallah visit”.
While trading banters before the meeting, Fayemi who was the first to speak while in a handshake with Wike said, “Why did you come here with a camera?” Wike replied, “Am I hiding?”
Then, Akeredolu while shaking the governor, said, “Wike, Wike,” which elicited another response from him, saying, “They said I went to London. Which day did I go to London? Is this place (his residence) London?” But Fayemi interjected, “London via Turkey.”
Teasing their host, Akeredolu kept hailing Wike and told him that the cap he (Wike) wore was now in vogue but Wike replied, saying “I don’t want to wear it”, as they all burst into laughter and walked towards the governor’s residence.
They continued their banter as they walked towards Wike’s residence.
‘Come join us’
Meanwhile, a source at the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the APC governors told Wike to join them in their quest to win the 2023 presidential election.
The source said, “The plan is to woo him to our side since his party seems to be ignoring him. We asked him to work with us.”
Asked what Wike’s response was, the source said “Well, you don’t expect him to jump at the offer. This is because his party already had a candidate for all the elective positions, especially in his state. But we want him to work with our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. But he gave us no commitment.”
Their visit came a few weeks after Governor Dave Umahi, also of the APC, visited the governor and held a closed-door meeting with him. The details of the meeting were not known but it is believed it’s also about the 2023 elections. Umahi and Wike had previously had open disagreements prior to the party primaries.
Apart from Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party who also visited the governor, some PDP leaders, including Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, the Senate Minority Leader, Phillip Aduda; his deputy, Shuaibu Lau; and deputy Minority Whip, Danjuma La’ah, had paid similar visits to Wike recently. The visits also included closed-door meetings.
There has been widespread speculation that Wike may be contemplating dumping the PDP, but the governor who had always said he remained in the PDP, had yet to make any statement to that effect.
Governor Samuel Ortom had in a recent interview expressed displeasure over the way the party handled the aftermath of the primary, especially as it concerned Wike. Fayose, who contested the presidential primary, said about a week ago that it was either southern presidency or nothing.
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Breaking: Tinubu swears-in George Akume as SGF
President Bola Tinubu, has sworn-in Senator George Akume as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Present at the brief event today (Wednesday) were the Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, some servicing and former governors, including former Governor of Nasarawa state, Tanko Almakura and the immediate past SGF, Boss Mustapha.
Others were Vice President, Kashim Shettima; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr FolasadeYemi-Esan and the spouse of the new SGF, Mrs Regina Akume.
Recall that Tinubu had earlier announced the appointment of the former Benue state governor as the new SGF.
The President also appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as the Chief of Staff, and Senator Ibrahim Hadejia, a former Deputy Governor of Jigawa State, as the Deputy Chief of Staff.
The appointment was made public via a statement issued by Abiodun Oladunjoye, Director, Information, State House. Abuja.
According to the statement, the President announced the appointment during the meeting he held with Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Akume was the immediate past Minister of Special Duties, under former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akinyelure, Edo senator dump PDP, allege internal crisis
The lawmakers representing Edo South, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, and Ondo Central, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, have both defected from the People’s Democratic Party.
The duo of Urhoghide and Akinyelure made their defection known on Wednesday in separate letters read by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agegewho, who presided over the plenary.
In his letter titled, ‘Notification of Resignation of My Membership of the Peoples Democratic Party,” Uroghide stated that his exit from the party was due to irreconcilable differences and squabbles within the party.
He said, “I write to formally inform you and the entire Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that I am resigning my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, effective immediately.
“This difficult decision arose out of the negative political energy emanating at the moment from the irreconcilable differences and squabbles within the PDP at the national level and especially in my dear state, Edo State.
“These squabbles have spiked to levels that have made it impossible for someone like me, who is a confirmed democrat, to function and grow as I envisioned in my political journey.”
The Edo lawmaker stated that he was grateful to the party for the experience and opportunity given him to build relationships.
Similarly, Akinyelure noted that he was resigning to seek other means of adding value to his state.
He said, “Distinguished colleagues in the 9th Senate of the National Assembly, this is to inform you that I am resigning my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party with effect from June 11, 2023 when I must have completed my four-year tenure in the Senate of the 9th Assembly.
“I, therefore, wish to express my appreciation to the party for granting me the opportunity to serve Ondo Central Senatorial District and Nigeria in the Senate of the 9th Assembly on the platform of the PDP.”
Akinyelure said he was leaving the PDP “to enable me to settle down and look forward to other areas of human and professional endeavours where I can be of value addition to my dear state, Ondo State and Nigeria in general.”
Both lawmakers didn’t state what party they are defecting to.
Reacting to Urhoghide’s defection, the Edo State PDP Chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, said, “He is a respected senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I wish him well in his future endeavours.
“I disagree with him over the reasons he gave for his resignation but they are his personal opinion and I don’t comment on people’s personal opinion, no matter how highly placed they are.”
UK, US, Saudi Arabia, others in bilateral meetings with President Tinubu, pledge support, solidarity
Several countries on Monday formally presented their goodwill messages and letters of support and solidarity to President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The letters were presented to the president by the special envoys and heads of missions of the countries after his inauguration as the 16th President of Nigeria.
Among the countries are United Kingdom, United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Israel, Cape Verde, Somalia and Nicaragua.
While congratulating President Tinubu, the new UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, presented letters from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The US delegation led by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia L. Fudge, paid a courtesy call on President Tinubu and had a brief bilateral discussion with him.
Also, the South Korean delegation had bilateral discussions with Tinubu.
While delivering a letter of invitation from South Korean, President Yoon Suk Yeol for Tinubu to visit that country soon, the delegation also sought increase relations between the two countries.
The Saudi Arabian delegation delivered a goodwill message from the Saudi Royal House to the Nigerian president.
A special envoy of the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida equally paid a call on President Tinubu and extended a hand of support and fellowship.
In the same vein, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a delegation which met with Tinubu and expressed willingness to work with the country in the area of fin-tech.
Others who met with President Tinubu and pledged cooperation with Nigeria included delegations from Brazil, Somali, Cape Verde and Nicaragua.
Office of President,
May 29, 2023.
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