Mr. Peter Obi’s Labour Party (LP) on Wednesday gained a federal lawmaker, Senator Francis Onyewusi (Imo East), who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through a letter of resignation to join LP.
Onyewusi’s letter of resignation and that of an All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator who defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Prty, (NNPP.), Haliru Dauda Jika (Bauchi Central), was read on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Wednesday by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Onyewusi’s defection came on the same day Peter Obi met with Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Details of their closed-door meeting for hours were not made public, but it also emerged that a meeting between a committee set up by the Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Wike has hit the rocks.
It has also led to verbal fireworks between a PDP chieftain and former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Aliyu Babangida, and a Wike supporter.
Explaining why Atiku picked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State instead of Wike, Babangida said in a Channels TV interview that Wike “insulted his way to power.”
Added the former governor: “You do not go around choosing people that will not compliment you.
“You choose people who will complement your office. People that are ready to take over from you and will make you comfortable.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know if it is his temperament. Sometimes when you speak too much. When you insult your way to power, it does not always happen.
“I can count many people who he has insulted. People will say he is always speaking his mind. But there are times you don’t need to speak your mind.” explaining the preferred choice of Governor Ifeanyi Okiwa over Wike by Atiku.
A PDP chieftain, former Commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers State, Rivers State and former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbomna Nwuke, described the Atiku reconciliation committee as a contradiction.
His words: “On one hand, somebody says he (Wike) is one who talks too much, who probably is uncontrollable. And then, on the other hand, you want him to help your cause. You want victory and you think he can contribute to your victory. Is that not a contradiction?
“There was an attempt to draft a man who was not interested in the vice-presidency into the vice-president; a committee set up, the caucus spoke, the national working committee of the party spoke favourably about Wike and it was not honoured.”
“Atiku did what he wanted to do. So what committee is he setting up again? To do what? It doesn’t make sense.
“When the convention was over, nobody showed him the way to Wike’s house. If he wants Wike to work with him, he should walk to the Governor of Rivers State and speak with him. We don’t need committees, what will the committee do? It doesn’t make sense to me.
“I don’t know why relationships shouldn’t be exploited. What is this committee thing? You have something else in your mind, you set up a committee to do something else. What is the meaning of that?
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Wike had said no matter what happens he would not leave the PDP. That was what he said.
“The implication is that a man who is committed to the PDP will work for the PDP, whether you set up a committee or not. And that is my personal opinion.”
On Babangida’s comments on Wike, Nwuke said “The Wike that this man (Aliyu) is talking about has been chief of staff. As chief of staff, he never went against his principal. He spoke and did not go beyond his brief.
“This same man (Wike) had served as the Minister of Education. While serving as minister he did not also speak out of tune. Of course, he knew who the boss was, he knew what his role was and he played his role.
“And so people should draw a fine line between politicking and administration. They are not the same thing.
“Everybody who knows Wike knows that he is a team player. In trying to help build the PDP he worked with a team of committed PDP people. And together, they were able to bring the PDP from where it was, in defeat to where it is today.”