Rivers State Governor and runner up in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has taken the party’s flagbearer, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and one of the other aspirants, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to court.
Wike wants to be declared the winner of the primary and the flagbearer of the party.
This development has further complicated the crisis in the party that has followed the outcome of the primary and declaration of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as Alhaji Abubakar’s running mate.
Wike is believed to have felt that he should have been made the vice-presidential candidate of the party in place of Okowa.
It is believed that Governor Tambuwal’s withdrawal from the presidential primary of the PDP at the last minute was the reason why Abubakar clinched the party’s flag, and Wike insists that Tambuwal’s action was unfair.
The relationship between Wike and Tambuwal, which was before now close has soured, with the Rivers State Governor, a few days ago inviting Tambuwal’s political foe and leader of APC in Sokoto state, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko to Port Harcourt to commission one of his projects.
Wike has also been in the forefront of the demand that the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, must resign his position based on the argument that both presidential flagbearer and chairman of the party should not come from the same region of the country. Ayu is also believed to have favoured Abubakar’s emergence as the party’s flagbearer.
The party, especially its two governing bodies, the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC) are said to be sharply divided as a result of the escalating crisis and many believe that the court case by Wike could further widen the gulf and jeopardise the chances of peace returning to the PDP any time soon.
The legal fireworks expected, analysts say, may also negatively affect the presidential campaign of the PDP, especially as Governor Wike has in recent times been hosting leading figures from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt, the state’s capital.
If the crisis continues, a source said, Wike could be suspended or expelled from the party for anti-party activities, and for not exhausting internal dispute resolution mechanisms before resorting to court action, further pushing him and his supporters into the waiting arms of the APC or the Labour Party (LP).
The coming days will determine whether the PDP will bow to Wike’s demands, including the resignation of Ayu, so that he will withdraw his legal action or whether they will prefer to call his bluff and meet him in court and risk the possible upturning of the result of the primary, which he will certainly want more than anything else.
Whichever way it goes, what is becoming increasingly evident is the fact that Wike is proving the point that he intends to remain a major stakeholder in the PDP in which he has invested much to nurture back from near desolation to reckoning.