The political drama playing out in Edo State appears to be tearing at the seams of Nigeria’s two major political parties. In the All Progressives Congress (APC), no one is sure who is actually in charge, or even if Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s ticket is a done deal.
And in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a different kind of political war is brewing: Governor Nyesom Wike, believed to be angling to be a prominent player in the party as a prelude to an undefined ambition in 2023, has described some party top guns as tax collectors.
A statement by the Rivers Commission for Information and Communication, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, tells it all about the undercurrent of the relationships in the party. The opposition party has been roundly accused of “selling” a window of opportunity to embattled Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State. Posts on social media allege that the Edo Governor coughed out N6 billion to be accepted to the PDP. No evidence has been provided for the weighty allegation.
According to the Rivers statement, Wike pulled out of the reconciliation efforts of the Edo State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) because some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP are sycophants and tax collectors who will never tell the truth.
According to him, instead of the NWC to carry everybody along in Edo state, they resorted to using the media to blackmail him.
“I told them that in Edo State, we must handle the issue carefully and carry everybody along. They must respect human beings and not behave like tax collectors.
“They said because an order was obtained from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, then I am responsible.
“I have had sleepless nights to resolve the issue in Edo state. The Governors of Edo, Adamawa, and Delta states, know what I have done to resolve the issues in Edo state.
“As a result of this senseless accusation, I have pulled out of Edo State settlement. My integrity matters. I have also directed my lawyer to write ThisDay Newspaper on the publication they made against me in their Tuesday,23rd June, 2020 edition.
“I know the members of the National Working Committee of PDP who connived with ThisDay. They are tax collectors. Let them challenge me and I will come out with more facts.
“Nobody will rubbish me by raising false accusations against me. I will fight back”, he stated.
Governor Wike said he would no longer participate in any reconciliation and wondered why the NWC now wants to consult Governors of the party.
He questioned why the NWC did not consult with Governors in the case of Bayelsa State.
The governor warned that if PDP is not careful, the crisis in the All Progressive Congress (APC) would be a child’s play.
“I am brought up not to accept injustice, and that is why I keep speaking out on national issues. Nobody in PDP can intimidate Rivers State.
“Nobody can threaten me because I said things must be done constitutionally. I will always continue to satisfy my conscience.
“From now on, I want to concentrate on the development of Rivers State”, he added.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in its statement, insists that no member of its NWC sponsored any media publication to castigate and malign the person of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
The party described such publications as handwork of external forces and enemies of the PDP who are bent on sowing seeds of discord within the party.
“The NWC also wishes to place on record that none of its members has acted like a “tax collector” in whatever meaning the term represents, either in the process leading to the Edo primary election, or any other state.
“Our party holds Governor Wike and indeed all our PDP governors, who, of course, have been the pillars of our great party, with utmost respect and had always consulted them on all party affairs.
“The PDP appreciates the efforts and sacrifices of our governors and will not allow enemies of our party, who are out to cause disunity in our fold by sponsoring baseless publications against our leaders, to have their way.
“This time demands the unity of all our leaders in order to keep our political rivals, who are facing extinction, from importing their crises into our party.
“The PDP remains one indivisible family and our members are at alert and will continue to resist every attempt by external forces to divide our ranks at this critical time,” its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan added.