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PDP: We’ll help them rock the boat – Fayose declares Wike won’t support Atiku

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Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has restated that Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State won’t back Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate going into 2023, an indication that the party’s crisis is deepening.

The emergence of Atiku as the party’s presidential candidate in March had frayed nerves among southern elements in the party who had insisted that power should return to the region in line with the north-south power rotation arrangement. And although truce appeared to have been agreed initially, Atiku’s decision to pick Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate in total disregard for the recommendation of the party’s governors and other stakeholders who had recommended Wike, has escalated tension.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Fayose announced that power should return to the South in 2023, as according to him, President Muhammadu Buhari would be completing eight years in 2023, and therefore, it’s only logical for power to return to the South.

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Fayose’s declaration was an indication that he won’t be backing Atiku, a northerner who is his party’s presidential candidate, even as speculations about the possibility of him joining the All Progressives Congress (APC), are already rife.

Further doubling down on the point he made in the tweet, the former Ekiti governor who received Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, the state’s governor-elect in his Lagos residence on Wednesday, told Premium Times that Wike would never support the Atiku candidacy, and that they would help rock the PDP boat going into 2023.

We recounted how Atiku “promised” to make Wike, the Rivers State governor, his running mate after he was declared winner of the PDP presidential primary election.

According to him, Atiku failed to fulfil his promise to Mr Wike when he settled for the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

“Wike never said he wanted to be VP, but when Atiku visited him, he was the one who said, ‘I want you to be my VP’. He said that to Wike. If that then changes, is Wike not supposed to be told? Is he not supposed to know?”

He recalled that Atiku had ignored the recommendation of a committee set up by the opposition party to pick his running mate.

“PDP set up a committee to recommend a running mate for the candidate and the committee voted and picked Wike, but they didn’t comply with the recommendation of the committee.”

“If the party is now a one-man show, we will show them that we can resist it. We are with Wike 100 per cent.

“When they need Wike’s money and Wike’s support, they will say, ‘Wike is good enough’. Wike has been injured, but we will remain with him. Whatever he does is what we would do; wherever he asks us to go is where we will go.”

When asked what would happen should Mr Wike ask them to support Mr Atiku, the former governor said: “Wike will never say we should support Atiku.

“Wike cannot come out to say he is supporting Atiku. I dare him to say so; because he knows that whatever he says will haunt him forever. If Wike supports Atiku, we will abandon him.”

On whether the plan is now to technically support the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, or his counterpart in the Labour Party, Peter Obi, Mr Fayose said: “this is not about Bola Tinubu or Obi, but this is about our belief that power must come to the south and it is a struggle we must actualise.

Fayose further explained that “when the June 12 election was cancelled, the presidency was zoned to the southwest to pacify the southwest region.

“When former President Goodluck Jonathan was over staying, it was believed that he was already using the northern slot. So, he was opposed and a northern candidate was installed through the APC.

“This time, it is the turn of the south because Buhari has spent eight years. Why will PDP be insisting that it must again be the turn of the north.”

Fayose also stated that he does not care if his actions are perceived as anti-party activity.

“What I am saying is, it is the turn of the South, and if they want to expel me, to hell with them. I am not taking money from anyone to belong to this party.

“If they want to rock this boat, we will help them to rock it.”

Fayose’s argument re-echoed those of Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue State who lamented on Wednesday that Wike, who is currently on vacation in Turkey with Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State, was betrayed by the former vice president, after all he did for the party.

Ortom had also refused to declare support for the Atiku candidacy, noting that he is “waiting on God” to direct him in that regard.

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Meanwhile, the former vice president, through his spokesperson, Paul Ibe, said himself and the party will continue to appeal to aggrieved persons within their fold to embrace dialogue.

“Because the bigger challenge is winning the election, kicking out the APC and stopping them from the many years of impoverishing our people,” Mr Ibe told PT.

“It is normal for our people to be aggrieved but the PDP has a way of resolving issues like this and that will be done and we all shall be happy.”