The cracks in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) widened yesterday as the five aggrieved governors begun moves to woo Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed into the anti-Atiku forces.
The G5, comprising Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), is expected to meet Mohammed today in Bauchi, capital of Benue State.
However, to forestall the expansion of intra-party opposition to him, the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, held a meeting with the Bauchi governor yesterday, shortly after returning to the country from his trip abroad.
Also, former House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and former Bauchi State Governor Adamu Muazu have joined forces with Atiku against the Bauchi governor.
Mohammed had complained to the national chairman, Dr. Iyiochia Ayu, that Atiku had sidelined him by refusing to visit him after the presidential primary, although he visited other aspirants.
He also alleged that Atiku was frustrating his re-election bid.
Mohammed, who is the vice chairman of the Atiku Campaign Council in the Northeast, also alleged that Atiku picked campaign coordinators from his state without consultation with him.
In his view, Atiku was bent on “punishing him for contesting the presidential primary and not stepping down for him”.
Mohammed’s letter of November 3 to the national chairman forced Ayu to lead a delegation to Bauchi last Saturday to appease him.
There were indications yesterday that the five aggrieved governors have capitalized on the sidelining of Mohammed by Atiku to woo him to their side.
A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “Since Atiku is yet to meet peace terms with Bala and other stakeholders, the G-5 has been mounting pressure on him to join their team in the battle against Atiku.
“All the aggarieved five governors are relocating to Bauchi on Wednesday to prove a point that they are forces to be reckoned with in the party.
“We do not know whether or not Bala will accept the offer to increase the team to G-6.”
In his letter to Ayu, the Bauchi governor opened up on how he was hurt by Atiku and demanded an apology.
The latter reads in part: “There have been undisguised efforts to sabotage my re-election and impose on the state, a governor from another party who is ready to satisfy their selfish interests to the detriment of the larger interest of the people of the state.
“I wish to state that I am indeed surprised by the underserved attitude of Atiku Abubakar towards me. He knows that I have always regarded him as an elder and I have always accorded him all the respect he deserves as the shining light of our North East zone and a foremost nationalist and statesman. In recognition of this, we built and named one of the most important roads in Bauchi after him.
“You would recall that ahead of the formal flag off of the presidential campaign, we hosted a major rally for him in Bauchi. Could all this have been swept away simply because of a legitimate step I took which actually validated his victory?
“Why would he still ‘teach me a lesson’, when his trashing me at the primary is humbling enough? Why would he allow political opportunists to ride on his back to wreck vengeance on his younger brother whose sole preoccupation is the upliftment of the people of Bauchi?
“While Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his political cohorts insist that I must be punished for contesting against him during the presidential primary, the self-acclaimed kingmakers around the Wazirin Adamawa want a pound of flesh from me because I have refused to capitulate to their unbridled sense of entitlement which is pregnant with selfish and dictatorial tendencies.
“It would interest you to know that faced with this adversarial conditions, I complained to both our presidential candidate and his running mate as well as party elders whose names I do not want to mention here. Yet, the treachery has escalated under the watchful eyes of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who to all intents and purposes, is the leader of the groups.
“Based on the above, I wish to make the final following points; that our presidential candidate should issue a public statement disowning renegade elements who are neck-deep in the anti-party plot of subverting my re-election effort and to admonish members of our party to reject the devious overtures and manipulative strategies of my detractors.
“Short of complete public repudiation of those incognities (sic) within a reasonable time frame, coupled with explicit guarantee of sincerity of purpose and public support of my re-election by the presidential candidate, I may withdraw from the PCC and feel free to create new measures and strategies that would guarantee the election and re-election of all PDP candidates in Bauchi and myself.”
Dogara, Mu’azu team up
Dogara and Muazu have joined forces with Atiku against Mohammed.
The governor is not comfortable with the Atiku/Muazu parley.
The source said Mohammed had accused the former PDP chairman of being a disloyal party man.
He added that the feud between Muazu, who heads Atiku’s presidential campaign for North East, and Mohammed dated back to 2007 when he (Muazu) lost Bauchi South senatorial ticket to the governor.
According to the source, at a PDP caucus meeting last year, Mohammed publicly quarreled with Muazu before storming out of the meeting.
The source said further that although Mu’azu has no political relevance and cannot be a threat to Mohammed’s reelection, the failure of Atiku to call him to order aggravated issues.
“So, all is not well. The likes of Dogara and Muazu have added fuel to the whole thing. As a result, Atiku might likely support another candidate against Mohammed.”
On Dogara, another rival of the Bauchi governor, the source said Atiku may likely take advantage of his stance on the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.
The source said: “Atiku needs Bauchi votes and might likely rely on Dogara and some others since Mohammed is out of the picture”
So, an alignment between Yakubu Dogara and Atiku cannot be ruled out at this period when the former speaker has a score to settle with the governor.”
“You know Dogara’s defection to the PDP on the eve of the last general elections assisted Mohammed to oust the immediate past Governor Mohammed Abubakar, who contested the election on the platform of the APC”
“Similar scenario might play out between Dogara and Mohammed who later parted ways before the governor celebrated one year in office.”
“The former speaker had accused the incumbent governor of mismanagement while alleging that he has derailed from his electioneering promises; a development, he said, forced him to return to the APC.”
When contacted, the Publicity Secretary of PDP in Bauchi, Yayanuwa Zainabari, who confirmed the development, said the chapter was united behind Atiku and Mohammed but “it’s quite unfortunate that the likes of Dogara and Mu’azu are the ones meeting in Abuja to cause disaffection in our party.”
Atiku meets Mohammed
Sources said Atiku met the Bauchi governor at his Asokoro, Abuja residence.
Although details of the meeting were not made public, it was gathered that it was a move to douse tension arising from threats by Mohammed to opt out of the Atiku campaign.
Emmanuel has not resigned, says Atiku campaign
The Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation denied reports that Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel has resigned as the Chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council.
The denial was contained in a statement by a spokesman for the organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan.
Ologbondiyan dismissed the report as “fake news”, saying that Emmanuel did not at any time contemplated resignation.
The statement said: “Our Campaign assures Nigerians as well as all pro-democracy and development partners that such idea is not in the contemplation of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel, this afternoon at the flag-off of the PDP Governorship Campaign which held at the Nest of Champions Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, declared that the rumour is a lie “from the pit of hell” and that he remains the Chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council.
“The appointment of Governor Udom Emmanuel as Chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council was predicated on his belief and commitment to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ideals of our founding fathers as well as his unwavering confidence in our Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as the leader that has the required capacity to lead the charge to rescue and rebuild our nation.
“Governor Emmanuel is effectively leading a successful campaign that will take our party to victory and will not be distracted by the wishful thinking of the enemies of Nigeria.
“The Atiku/Okowa Campaign therefore urges Nigerians to ignore such shenanigans and fake news coming from the enemies of our nation who are desirous of causing confusion in the polity with a view to derailing the electoral process.
“We caution those behind this wicked rumour to desist from such and know that they are fighting a lost battle as Nigerians across board are already rallying with the PDP and cannot be swayed by fake news”.