Following the frosty relationship between the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Governor Nyesom Wike-led Integrity Group, a last-minute push by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, retd; former President Goodluck Jonathan and prominent party leaders to resolve the crisis is ongoing and is expected to yield positive results, Vanguard has gathered.
Atiku and the Rivers State governor have been at daggers drawn over demand for the resignation of PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
However, both camps said they were committed to resolving the crisis before the 2023 general elections.
Atiku and Wike visited IBB and Jonathan, recently, where the crisis rocking the party was discussed at length.
Peace moves by IBB, Jonathan, others
A member of the Integrity Group told Vanguard in confidence that there were efforts to get Atiku and Wike to reconcile.
The source said: “A lot of people have intervened, they have told Atiku to go and reconcile with those, who are aggrieved.
”IBB told Atiku and his team to go and reconcile with Wike and his allies. Other party leaders also told Atiku that he caused the problem and should go and solve it.”
Asked whether Wike and his allies were interested in making peace, the source said: “Honestly, there are so many people within the Integrity Group, who are genuine PDP leaders and have said that all Atiku ought to have done, which he can still do, is to ask Ayu to go.
“If Atiku should mount pressure on Ayu to resign, he will resign. If this is done, it will also be easy to separate the boys from the men. Three zonal vice chairmen of the party are with the Integrity Group; there are also several of the candidates across the geo-political zones that are with the Integrity Group but they are ready for peace if Atiku is ready to play the game.”
Atiku’s meeting with ex-President fruitful – PCC source
When contacted, a member of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, who confirmed the peace moves, said it was fruitful.
The PCC member, who is privy to the reconciliation efforts, said given the efforts of the former presidents and other PDP leaders “Reconciliation is not impossible, though I cannot speak authoritatively on it.
”I am aware there are internal efforts to intervene but I cannot speak on the terms of it.”
On whether the meeting between Atiku and Jonathan hit the brick wall, the PCC member said: “That is not correct. The meeting they held in Abuja was very fruitful, that is the only takeaway I had from their meeting.”
Pro-Atiku group chides Jang, G5 govs over stance on Ayu
Meanwhile, a pro-Atiku/Okowa group in Plateau State, Plateau for Atiku Movement, yesterday, faulted the continued call for Ayu’s resignation, saying its members were disappointed with former Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State and the G5 governors for their insistence on Ayu’s resignation.
The group distanced itself from the agitation, saying that Jang’s involvement with the Port Harcourt/Lagos group does not represent the thinking of the Plateau State PDP.
Addressing journalists in Jos, the group’s spokesperson, Istifanus Mwansat, urged Senator Jang to return to base in Plateau State and engage with his constituents to shed more light on how the position of his group affects the state.
According to him, an average PDP member in the state does not significantly understand the basis of Jang’s decisions and actions.
Mwansat, a former speaker of the State House of Assembly, said: “One of the key demands of the G5 governors is that the chairman of the party should resign because he had agreed to do so before he emerged as the chairman if the north produced the flagbearer of the party.
”As a movement, we have some concerns: If the chairman resigns, what happens to the Deputy National Chairman (North), who is required by the PDP constitution to assume leadership?
“Shifting the national chairmanship of the party at this moment will affect other positions, thereby leading to broad-based consultations and consensus for which time is not available.
”No serious political party will engage in leadership change at a time other political competitors are out in the field canvassing for votes from the electorate.
“As critical stakeholders working for the victory of the PDP, we are deeply concerned by the involvement and participation of one of our leaders and former governor, senator and member of the Board of Trustees and founding member of the PDP, Dr Jang, with the Port Harcourt/Lagos group.
“We are constrained to say that the agitation of the group to which he is part does not represent the thinking of the party and its members in the state.
“Therefore, we wish to request that he should return to base in Plateau State and engage with his constituents to shed more light on how the positions taken by the Port Harcourt/Lagos group affect us in the state.
‘On the average, members of the PDP in Plateau State do not sufficiently understand the basis for his decisions and actions.
“As an important state in the North Central zone, we also seek to know what we are going to get in exchange for giving up the national chairmanship of the party, which he supports.
“Since this position belongs to the North Central zone, since we do not hold the presidential ticket and since we have not been briefed or carried along, we see it as a disservice to us for the group to continue to demand the resignation of the chairman without spelling out the terms.
”We condemn the prolongation of conditions that will hurt our party and our candidates in any form.”