The Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has “set up” another committee to interface with aggrieved members of the party.
Some of the aggrieved members that the committee hopes to placate are Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State governor, and other party leaders who support him.
The Chairman of the BoT, Walid Jibrin, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday shortly after the BoT meeting which lasted over two hours.
The committee is a committee of the whole, he said. This means all members of the BoT are part of the reconciliatory panel as well.
“We have set out, from this BoT, a committee to interface between warring factions particularly between the acrimony taking place between the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike and any other conflict that is taking place in the nation, within our party formation.”
Mr Jibrin did not, however, say how long the panel will take to reconcile the aggrieved members.
“I cannot tell you the grievances and the duration but right now, we are heading to the candidate’s house in Asokoro to start this project.”
‘A different committee’
This panel comes about a month after the PDP recommended a delegation to meet with Mr Wike when he returns from his foreign trip.
The panel was to be led by Atiku. The BoT chairman, in a statement, had said it was necessary for the peace and progress of the party.
But when asked about the previous panel, the BoT chairman simply said it was different from the one set up today.
“That is not within the purview of the committee. This is the BoT committee. That one is the NWC.”
The creation of a reconciliatory panel comes amid a crisis in the party resulting from Mr Wike’s anger at the manner he lost the presidential primary to Atiku. Mr Wike and his supporters, including some state governors, are also angry that Atiku did not pick the Rivers governor as his running mate.
Mr Wike has refused to congratulate the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who later emerged as the vice presidential candidate.
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Mr Wike also claimed that nobody was sent by Atiku to meet with him since Mr Okowa was selected as running mate.
Nothing on Ayu stepping down
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Wike met with some serving and former PDP governors on Sunday. The meeting was also attended by other PDP leaders in support of the Rivers governor who came second in the PDP presidential primary.
One of the attendees was a former information minister, Jerry Gana.
Mr Gana, a member of the BoT, told journalists after the meeting, that it was aimed at reviewing the primary election and its outcome.
However, sources who attended the meeting later told PREMIUM TIMES that the group insisted that the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, must step down to allow another person from the south of Nigeria to take his place.
Apart from Mr Ayu being from the northern part of Nigeria like Atiku, the PDP members also believe that the party chairman supported the former vice president against Mr Wike.
They listed his removal as their precondition to resolving the feud ahead of the 2023 general election.
However, when asked if the demand for Mr Ayu’s resignation was discussed at the BoT meeting, Mr Jibrin simply said “that has never been an issue. We have not discussed any matter about anybody stepping down.”
Mr Wike and his supporters have decried the lopsidedness of the leadership of the party in favour of the northern zones – Mr Ayu is from Benue State in the North-central zone while Atiku is from Adamawa State in the North-east zone.
They also complained that Mr Jibrin, Umaru Damagum, the Deputy National Chairman, North, and the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, are all from the North.
They also accused Atiku of sidelining some party leaders in his decision-making and alleged that those in his camp have shared key government positions among themselves, even before next year’s elections.