Rivers State Governor, Nyemson Wike and four other aggrieved governors under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have met with the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu in London, the United Kingdom.
The APC standard bearer was said to have lobbied for the endorsement of the five governors during the marathon meeting which was held on Tuesday.
Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu states and some political heavyweights from the South had vowed not to support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, over the refusal of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign after Atiku obtained the presidential ticket of the party.
But hours after the governors meeting with Tinubu, the PDP said it was not aware of their parley with the ruling party’s presidential candidate, noting that as far it was concerned, the governors were in the UK on vacation.
The main opposition party, however, threatened to punish the governors for any anti-party activities, stressing that it had the capacity to discipline the recalcitrant governors.
Shedding light on the London meeting, a source stated, “Tinubu met with the aggrieved governors yesterday (Tuesday) along with a delegation that included (Kayode) Fayemi, (Babajide) Sanwo-Olu, one other governor and an ex-governor. For now, we are only waiting for the G-5 governors to make the official pronouncement in January.”
On what the demands of the aggrieved governors were, the source declined speaking, saying he wouldn’t want to speculate.
“I don’t have details about that. What I know is that they have met and declared their indication at the meeting that they are not supporting any other candidate,” he stated.
The PUNCH could not independently verify the presence of the Lagos State governor and Fayemi at the meeting.
A source in the Lagos State Government House, stated, “I have received several inquiries on this report of the governor’s supposed travel with Asiwaju (Tinubu) and I can tell you that he is still in Nigeria. In fact, I spoke with him twice today (Wednesday). Even if he were to travel to meet the G-5 Governors outside the country, it is not something he would want to disclose, but he is very much in the country,”
But commenting on the governors’ reported alliance with Tinubu, a member of the PDP National Working Committee, Timothy Osadalor, said the party has what it takes to impose the necessary sanctions on the governors should they make real their threat of dumping the party’s presidential candidate.
Osadolor, who is the Deputy National Youth Leader of the party, further dared the governors to endorse their preferred candidate so the party could take appropriate steps against them.
He said, “These governors know the party they belong to; they know what the party can do. Should they take this step they have been working on for a while now and the party will do what is necessary.
“We want to believe that they are in the United Kingdom for vacation and so reacting to speculations is not what we should be doing now. We want to assure Nigerians that if they take that decision and support a candidate other than ours, the PDP will act. Let me put it straight: this party has the capacity to discipline them and any member who tries to undermine its will.’’
When contacted, the PDP Spokesman, Debo Ologunagba said the party would apply relevant provisions of its constitution when the need arose. According to him, all members, including the governors are aware of this.
He stated, “The PDP is a party of constitution, rules and procedures. We don’t react to speculations. In taking decisions, we look at the our party constitution in relation to issues. Whatever happens, it is the constitution that will guide the action we will take.
“These governors are conversant with the PDP constitution having sworn to uphold it. If they take that action (endorse a rival presidential candidate), we will take a decision in line with the provisions of the constitution.
“They have contributed to the success of the party and they have also benefited immensely from the party. They should know that the provisions of the constitution are applicable to every member of the party.
“Reconciliation is not 100m dash but a marathon. We hope they will realize this and embrace the party for good,” – Debo Ologunagba, former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP.
Another party chieftain, who confided in The PUNCH said the governors could face sanctions in line with section 58 (1) of the party constitution, which states “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the party shall have power to disciple any member who says or does anything likely to bring the party into disrepute, hatred or contempt, or engages in anti-party activities.”
A PDP chieftain and member of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Eddy Olafeso, expressed the conviction that a workable solution can still be found to reconcile the governors with the PDP presidential candidate.
When asked if the party would sanction the governors over their alleged romance with the APC standard bearer, he said, “I cannot act on rumours; there is nothing before the party to consider. We are still thinking that we will be able to have a common ground for this election, but if those things happen, then it will take a position of issue of discipline. That is when we will be talking about that.”
On his part, the Director of Strategic Communications, National Election Management Committee of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Dele Momodu, said there was nothing new in the governors’ threat to endorse a presidential candidate of their choice.
He, however, urged the Wike-led group to make good its promise to enable the Election Management Committee to react appropriately.
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