No deal until Ayu resigns, Wike tells Atiku…

Renewed efforts by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, to resolve the lingering crisis between him and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, failed again as their Thursday meeting could not resolve the crisis.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the governor insisted there would be no peace deal until the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, resigned his position.

The party has been plunged into crisis since its presidential primary in May. Wike, who lost to Atiku, had expressed dissatisfaction with the exercise, stating that he was unfairly treated by the PDP and was not carried along. Reports said he was further dissatisfied with the emergence of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as Atiku’s running mate.

Wike had insisted that Ayu must resign if his camp must reach a truce with the candidate, but Atiku had said he had no powers to remove the chairman. Atiku said if the chairman must be removed, due process must be followed in accordance with the party’s constitution.

After a series of meetings between them and their representatives failed to address the crisis, Wike and some of his colleagues and allies boycotted the inauguration of the party’s presidential campaign council on September 28.

Some of his allies absent at the inauguration are governors Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom, Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Oyo, Benue, Abia and Enugu states, respectively.

Others who also boycotted the event were Prof Jerry Gana; and former governors Ayo Fayose, Jonah Jang, Donald Duke and Olusegun Mimiko. A former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, was also absent.

Meanwhile, in a fresh move to placate Wike, especially as the presidential campaigns began on Wednesday, Atiku again met with the governor on Thursday at his private residence in Asokoro, Abuja.

One of Wike’s close allies, who was privy to what was discussed at the meeting, Senator Olaka Wogu, told Sunday PUNCH in an interview that during Thursday’s meeting, the governor reiterated his demand to the former vice-president that there was no going back on his demand that Ayu must go.

He affirmed that the meeting between Atiku and Wike ended in a stalemate after the governor stood firm on his demands.

Wogu stated, “I just want to set the record straight that no matter what you have heard, the meeting ended because Wike stood firm that there was no basis for any resolution until Ayu stepped down.

“Every other thing can be discussed, whether it is 2027 or not after the needful has been done. This will put the party in a position where the national chairman can go to every state to campaign for the party. There are some states where Ayu may not be welcomed.”

Wogu, a former lawmaker, dismissed reports that Atiku offered to support Wike for president in 2027, stressing that there was no such discussion between them. “Talks are still ongoing between them and I know that there will be continued talks between them,” he added.

When prodded to speak on the reported agreement between them, Wogu said, “There is nothing like that. I told you that talks are still ongoing between them. I won’t lie to you, but I cannot disclose the content of the meeting; the idea is to find whether they can reach an agreement.

“As you know, Wike has stood his ground that Ayu must leave for a sense of fairness, equity and for what is right. He should go. This was even compounded by the fact that Ayu himself said he would go. So, as a matter of honour, he should go.

“Before now, Atiku had said that there were constitutional challenges to…

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