2023: Atiku, Mark Push PDP Reconciliation Drive

  • Why ex-VP met with Wike
  • Governor demands sack of Secondus, NWC as precondition for peace

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is leading an initiative for reconciliation in the crisis ridden Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2023 election, party sources said yesterday.

It was the main reason for his Wednesday meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Port Harcourt, it was gathered.

Wike and the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, are currently at loggerheads over the way the party is being run.

The Rivers State governor, who spearheaded Secondus’ emergence as party chair, does not want the chairman in place by the time the party picks its presidential candidate for 2023.

Atiku, who enjoys Secondus’ backing, is said to be interested in the race once again.

Sources said the Port Harcourt meeting was also meant to enable the former vice president to resolve the crisis of confidence between the governor and the PDP National Chairman.

But Wike, according to sources, insisted on the sack of Secondus as a precondition for peace and stability in the PDP.

Atiku cautioned against crisis in the party before 2023 poll.

Also pushing for peace in the party is former Senate President David Mark who has summoned a meeting of like minds on the way forward for the PDP.

It was not clear yesterday whether the Mark initiative is a consolidation of the recent effort by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on the matter or a fresh one.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that Atiku’s move was a precursor to the unveiling of his plans to contest the 2023 presidential race.

One of those shortlisted for reconciliation is Wike, who was aggrieved by the loss of his ally, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in the PDP Presidential primaries on October 7, 2018.

Atiku won that ticket with 693 votes to Tambuwal’s 532.

Although Wike is aspiring to be either a presidential or a vice presidential candidate, it could not be immediately ascertained if he would want to pair with Atiku.

Wike and Tambuwal have maintained parallel positions in their approach to the sack of Secondus and the NWC.

It was also strategic for Atiku to take advantage of the ‘little gap’ between Wike and Tambuwal to seek reconciliation with the Rivers State governor.

A reliable source in the know of Atiku’s shuttle to Port Harcourt said: “As part of reshaping for the 2023 poll, Atiku was in Rivers State to reconcile with Wike, who is still nursing the party wounds of the outcome of the 2018 presidential primaries.

“Atiku, who is reviving his structure for the next general election, also seized the opportunity to call for calm and peace in PDP to enable it to be united to dislodge APC.

“He said the PDP cannot afford a major crisis at the moment.

“But Wike gave a condition for peace in the party bordering on the sack of Secondus and the NWC.”

Another source added: “The fear of party leaders is the determination of Wike to take over the party’s structure. In fact, at the last week’s meeting of the PDP governors in Bauchi, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State pointedly accused Wike of being behind the crisis in PDP. It was that bad.”

Mark too pushes for peace

Senator David Mark, on his part, has met with leaders of like minds on how to resolve the crisis in the PDP.

The meeting, which was held at Mark’s residence in Abuja, was also said to be part of steps to suggest ways on how to reposition the party for the next general elections.

Those at the meeting were ex-President of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim; ex-Senate President Iyorchia Ayu, ex-governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Sule Lamido and Ahmed Makarfi (who is  also a former National Chairman of PDP) and Senator  Zainab Kure, among others.

A top source said: “No one is happy with the situation in PDP. Our party is not in good stead for the 2023 polls. Some leaders and governors are behaving as if they are greater than the party.

“Mark convened a meeting of like minds in order to salvage the situation. We must have a solid party before we can aspire to any office.

“These elders are trying to find ways of bringing all forces in the party to the table to save the PDP from collapse.”

It was not certain if the like minds would be meeting with the Chairman of the PDP Reconciliation Committee, Dr. Bukola Saraki.”