The chairman, board of trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Walid Jibrin, has constituted a 14-man eminent persons’ group to meet with the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike.
Jibrin said in a statement on Sunday that the committee is to be headed by Atiku and has the 13 PDP governors as members.
The EPG will discuss issues relating to the outcome of the party’s presidential primaries and the crisis trailing the nomination of a running mate for its presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Mr. Atiku Abubakar.
Sequel to his victory at the PDP convention, where Aitku beat Wike and other contenders to the presidential ticket, the presidential candidate had nominated the governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate, despite the recommendation of Wike by a 17-man committee set up by the party.
Recall that governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom and former governors Jonah Jang of Plateau State and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State have been most vocal over moves that the PDP should make following the emergence of Okowa as running mate to the party’s presidential candidate.
The BoT chairman said the visit to Wike would take place immediately after Abubakar and the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, return to the country from their vacation abroad.
“I have noted with a great concern and great sense of feeling on the various recent comments coming from some of our PDP members and some prominent Nigerians on the choice of Chief Okowa, the Governor of Delta State as the vice-presidential candidate by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of our Party PDP – the biggest party not only in Nigeria but the whole of Africa.
“All the comments and various submissions are very normal in any political setup in Nigeria today with PDP being the strongest and most prominent party that has all potential to form government in 2023,” he said.
He said the first assignment of the committee is to visit Wike, who, according to him is a “responsible and very obedient member of PDP who tremendously assisted in the building of the party.”
He listed members of the committee as himself; Atiku, Okowa, Ayu and the national working committee members; representative of the BoT; the 13 governors of the PDP; former governors; former ministers of PDP extraction, some party zones across states and geopolitical zones.
Walid called for restraint among party members over the choice of Okowa as the party’s vice presidential candidate.
Ahead of the reconciliatory meeting with Wike, Jibrin appealed to party members in Rivers not to leave the party and shun comments aimed at reducing and running down the party.
“We must come back to our senses by all our members and all most responsible and respectful Nigerians by giving total support to the party to enable it to form government by holding all political positions in Nigeria in 2023.
“We must come together and unite ourselves as earlier established by our founding fathers. We should, therefore, shun any bad comment aimed at dividing us. We must be ready to forgive ourselves, thereby encouraging Nigerians to continue supporting us and our party.
“It is my strong appeal to all current and former governors and former Presidents of Nigeria not to add more fuel to the fire but to always try to quench the fire from spreading. May I say it loud that we commend all our current PDP governors for their greatest assistance to the party always.
“It is, therefore, very necessary that when our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and our national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu return to Nigeria very soon from abroad, the following must be done immediately,” he said.