It became glaring yesterday that the five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), popularly known as G-5, have crossed the Rubicon in their bid to support a southern presidential candidate other than their party’s flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar.
They vehemently dared the national leadership of the party to proceed with the threat to sanction them for supporting any other presidential candidate instead of Atiku.
The G-5 governors who are currently in London to decide on the candidate to back in the 2023 presidential election insisted that they have done nothing wrong to deserve sanction by the party.
They called PDP’s bluff, saying threats of sanctions do not scare them, even as they stated that those proposing such sanctions know the consequences.
Reports had emerged that the PDP leadership would slam the governors with sanctions if they engage in anti-party activity by supporting any other candidate instead of Atiku, the party’s presidential candidate.
The G-5 governors led by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, include Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu),
They are said to have travelled to London in continuation of their series of meetings abroad to decide on which candidate to support.
Wike who has been enjoying closer rapport with APC chieftains since he fell out with the PDP national leadership had last week declared that he would reveal the candidate he would support in January 2023.
The five governors, alongside some PDP leaders, had distanced themselves from the PDP presidential campaign, insisting that the national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, a northerner, must relinquish his seat for a southerner as part of the power balancing deal in the party.
Disdaining the threat to sanction them for anti-party activities, Governor Wike told LEADERSHIP yesterday that the group was not afraid of any suspension from the party.
Speaking in Port Harcourt last night through his commissioner for Information and Communications, Alabo-elect Chris Finebone, the Rivers governor said, “We are watching if they can do that. It is those who want to do it (suspension) that deserves to speak.
“They know the consequences of doing that but let it come from the mouth of those who intend to do that – those who intend to suspend Governor Wike and four others.
“Let them be the ones that will say what the outcome will be. Being afraid of suspension is not in our dictionary at all.
“Let those who think they want to suspend Governor Wike and others attempt it. That means they want to plant a wind; they will reap a whirlwind.”
Also, Benue State governor, Ortom, insisted that they did nothing to warrant sanction from the party leadership.
“My reaction to this is simple: the governor has not done anything wrong against the party to warrant any impunity or sanction by the party,” Ortom’s chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, told our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the PDP in Oyo State has described the threat by the party’s national leadership to sanction the G5 governors, including Seyi Makinde over alleged anti-party activities as a rumour.
A source at state chapter of the party who initially declined comment said the party could not react to the rumour.
Noting it that is a matter at the national level, he said it is power play which one should not allow to consume him.
He said the party would wait for the leadership at the national level to carry out its threat, and allow the governor to react before the state chapter would react.
“I don’t want to react because it’s still a rumour. It is still at the national level. The state chapter of the party will have to allow the party to carry out its threat, allow the governor to react before the state chapter reacts”, the source said.
Wike’s Camp Denies Crack In G-5 Ranks
Meanwhile, the camp of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has denied reports on social media that there is a crisis within the ranks of the G-5 governors.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, a former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, said those suggesting that a crisis has erupted within the group were not even at the meeting.
Nwuke, who is also the spokesman of the Consolidation for New Rivers Vision Campaign Council, stated that the G-5 governors were knowledgeable about events and will take steps that are in the best interest of the country.
He said, “There is no crisis whatsoever among members of the G-5. Those who are suggesting a crisis are not in the meeting. We have not heard the meeting has broken up.
“What we expect is a decision and the Nigerian people are waiting for their pronouncement. That decision will come, despite what may seem like the existence of divergent views.
“The G-5 governors are knowledgeable about events, they are great patriots too and so will take steps that are in the best interest of the country.”