An indication has emerged that all that transpired at the 97th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week Thursday, where Ambassador Walid Jubril stepped down as the Chairman, Board of Trustee (BoT), of the lead opposition party was all a game of survival.
Sources close to the party, who confided in Sunday Telegraph, said it was an anticlimax of a sort as Jubril became the sacrificial lamb against the expectation that national Chairman, Dr. Iyiocha Ayu, would be sacked.
Before the meeting, speculations had been rife that the One – time Senate President during the short lived Third Republic would be shown the red card as means to appease the Governor Nyesom Wike’s camp. What was the fight about?
One of sources said: “Wike’s people were angry that the Rivers State governor lost the presidential ticket to Atiku Abubakar and that the hierarchy of the party was dominated by Northerners. Chairman of the party, northerner; presidential candidate, northerner and the BoT chairman, a Northerner too.
“What irked the Wike’s group was the claim that there would be a change, if a northerner emerges the presidential candidate. However, this did not take place as Ayu stayed put. The man who runs the party is the chairman and not the BoT chairman, who is an advisory position. In this case, Ayu, who they believe is very close to Atiku, does not hide it. The Wike group is pushing for a bigger pie in order to remain relevant if they win the election.”
On whether Wike would leave PDP, our source said it is in Wike’s interest to remain in the opposition party.
He said: “I am convinced Wike will remain in the party but wants a bigger bargaining pie. Is it APC you want him to go where he does not see eye to eye with Amaechi. If PDP eventually wins, he and his group will be well accommodated.
“That is why Wike is the beautiful bride. PDP cannot afford to lose him. So, they will do everything to accommodate him by giving in to one of their demands (sack of BoT chairman).”
Also another source said: “Atiku’s camp is reconciliatory. They have come a long way and they cannot afford to lose him (Wike). That is why they are doing all to pacify him.
“Politics is about give and take. They have met one out of their demands. Atiku’s camp has conceded to them.
Those in Wike camp are also positioning themselves to be given key positions.”
On Seyi Makinde’s stand, our source said that it is about his own political fortunes and not about the party.
“His fortunes will be enhanced with PDP as a dominant party in the centre. He is also gunning for his second term, which if he leaves the party, it may lead to his eclipse.
“Makinde cannot afford to go into a second term battle with a divided house. It will affect him in Oyo State.
“He has spoken to former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose. That is why he is saying that we cannot afford to go into 2023 general elections with a divided house.”
Our source continued. “The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting is about give and take. Everybody would be accommodated if PDP wins.”
However, it is not going to be easy, volunteered another source who said: “If they win, there will be a bigger fight.
“They cannot afford to lose in 2023 as they did in 2015 and 2019. If they lose in 2023, that will sound like the death knell of the PDP. Hence, they are binding together in order to dislodge the ruling APC. For now, they will tolerate one another just to face their common enemy.”