Despite efforts to restore peace to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), loyalists of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have accused the presidential candidate of the opposition party, Atiku Abubakar of trying to divide the party in the state.
Wike’s camp alleged that Atiku has started by-passing the governor and reaching out to other prominent Rivers PDP chieftains including former Senator Lee Meeba, former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Austin Opara, and former Governor Celestine Omehia in a bid to isolate the governor ahead of the 2023 election.
The recent dissolution of the Governing Council, Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, and the removal of Lee Meeba as its Chairman were allegedly in response to the meeting with Atiku Abubakar.
It was gathered that the decision of Wike to snub chieftains of the PDP and invite All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders for the commissioning of projects across the state this week has unsettled the leadership of the opposition party.
Sources disclosed that Atiku’s utterances that he could win next year’s election without Wike and Rivers are infuriating to the governor’s camp.
Wike, who accused some leaders and elders of the party of holding secret meetings with Atiku, took some drastic steps to remove disloyal leaders from the PDP in some local government areas.
Speaking to The Nation, one PDP leader said it would be suicidal of Atiku to think he could get Rivers PDP support without Wike.
“These issues are still speculative. There hasn’t been any official statement to confirm them. But anybody who thinks he can bypass the governor to get the support of Rivers people should simply think again. It is politically suicidal to think so.
“I think that PDP leaders in Rivers should come together and hold a meeting. Governor Wike has surpassed the promises he made to Rivers people and the people love him. He also has total control of the PDP. Therefore, it will not be possible to bypass him,” he said.
On Atiku’s comment that the PDP could win the 2023 election without Wike’s support, a PDP stalwart, Ogbonna Nwuke expressed worry over Atiku’s utterances.
He said: “It is a shame if it is true. I want to believe he was misquoted.
“At this point, we are not talking about whether or not he will win an election with or without anyone.
“What we are thinking about is the unity of the PDP that he belongs to. If what happened was wrong, he had the responsibility to correct them. Pride goes before a fall.
“I am worried that at his age given the level of his exposure, he can make those comments. It is wrong for someone who has been a beneficiary of the PDP to make those comments.
“We wish him luck. We cannot reply a man, who has suddenly become drunken by some arrogance.”