The protracted crisis that has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) escalated yesterday as Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike vowed to crush his detractors in the main opposition party.
The governor boasted that he had the capacity to flog his opponents with “pepper”, stressing that God has given him the wherewithal to withstand his critics.
Wike said efforts to break the rank of his supporters will fail.
The governor spoke while inaugurating the Okezuo Abia Flyover built in Osieome, Aba, Abia State, by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
Wike and other PDP governors – Sam Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi, Ugwuanyi (Enugu) – are protesting the lopsided distribution of offices in the party.
They have insisted that the National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, should step down.
To them, the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the national chairman cannot come from the same bloc region.
The national chairman has fired back, describing the governors as children, who were not present when the party was formed.
The Minority Leader of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rasheed Elegbeleye, backed Ayu’s removal call, saying that Wike and other governors were fighting for equity and justice.
But, former PDP presidential aspirant Dele Momodu urged calm, advising the warring gladiators to focus on next year’s poll.
Wike, who said Nigerians will soon distinguish between boys and men, added that they will also know who is relevant at the appropriate time.
Wike said those trying to infiltrate his team to weaken its resolve have failed to understand its modus operandi.
He hinted that members of the team were simply forerunners to the real actors behind the scene.
Reflecting on his discussion with Ikpeazu, who had suggested he should leave matters to God, Wike said: “I was on plane with him and we were discussing and he said why won’t I leave this thing for God and I said what do you mean by that?
“Why are you overcrowding God? God has given me what it takes for me to crush these people, for me to crush my enemies, and you are telling me I should leave it for God.
“No. God has given me what it takes. God has so many things to do. There are the ones I should do and there are the ones I should call on God for.
“Now that I know I have the capacity to flog these small boys and you want me to go and leave it for God? I am going to flog them with pepper.
“Anybody who doesn’t understand that, let him know that I am not going to wait at all. All those ones who are talking in my state, calm down. When we start campaigning, we will know who is who.”
On efforts to infiltrate his supporters, Wike said: “I don’t associate myself with those who cannot show anything. I associate myself with people I know have something to offer.
“Ikpeazu, I want to say it without fear or favour and without any contradiction, you are a man that knows what to do for his people.
“I and Ikpeazu have come a long way. People do not understand relationship. They think relationship can be bought with money. No relationship can be bought with me.
“That is why when I read on pages of newspaper, they said some people were making attempts to break my rank and I say they don’t understand the modus operandi of what we are doing.
“If they understand the modus operandi, they won’t waste their time. If you like, go and meet Ikpeazu, Seyi, Ortom, Ugwuanyi, you don’t even understand the modus operandi.
“These are not the people doing what you are seeing. We are using ourselves as if we are the people. We are not the people. So, you are making mistakes.”
Wike reminded the people of Abia that Ayu described their governor, Ikpeazu, as a boy because they were seeking justice and fairness in the party.
He alleged that the party had distributed positions to Atiku, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and former Senate President Bukola Saraki, but had nothing to offer Abia State.
He said even the Senate Presidency and Secretary to Federal Government had been allotted to people without anything yet for Abia.
Wike said: “All those they are fighting are those who are projecting their party. They said that Abia State governor is a boy, Wike is a boy, Seyi is a boy, Ortom is a boy and Enugu is a boy. See what the boys are doing. They that are the men should show us what they are doing.
“Why is Ikpeazu a boy? It is because Ikpeazu said agreement is agreement. You told me you will do this. Now, time has come for you to do it, you don’t want to do it. Is it good? Ikpeazu said look, you have shared to this one, you shared to Atiku, you shared to Okowa and you shared to Saraki, which one did you share to Ikpeazu?
“When you are sharing Senate President to so so person, you shared Secretary to Government of the Federation to so so person, which one have you given to the people of Abia?
“Nobody should bother about any abuses on me. I don’t even know whether they are abusing me.
“If they like, let them put everything in social media and abuse me. We will know who is relevant or not at the appropriate time.
“Politics is not to go on pages of newspaper. It is not to go and buy TV spots and talk. Politics is who will deliver at the appropriate time. That is the key. If you like keep abusing me.
“What is important is when the time comes, we will know. When the jungle matures we will know those who can stand crisis. We will know those who have the capacity to say this is where our state will go.
“Ikpeazu is one of those governors with the capacity to decide what the people of Abia will do. So, don’t bother yourselves.
“When I wake up in the morning and nothing had been said against me, I am worried because it makes me happy when they talk about Wike. I appeal to them, don’t stop. Keep talking about Wike.
“We have not started campaign. When I came back yesterday from where I went to enjoy myself; life is full of enjoyment. I went to enjoy my life and they said I went for a meeting. My business now is to work and enjoy.”
Momodu calls for truce
Momodu urged Wike and Atiku to swallow their pride and end the protracted squabbles in the interest of the party.
In a letter to the party leadership, he said: “Months after we concluded our presidential primary, we are still busy fighting and calling ourselves unprintable names, thus forgetting that once upon a time, we were friends, with shared dreams and aspirations.
“Now that we’ve narrowed the principal actors to our national chairman, Governor Wike, and our presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, I wish to appeal once again to them to urgently rise above this war of attrition for the sake of long-suffering Nigerians who need our attention desperately.”
Wike is right, says lawmaker
Elegbeleye said Wike was on the right path by calling for the removal of Ayu.
He, however, advised the Rivers governor not to leave the party.
Elegbeleye, who spoke in Akure, said it was wrong for the PDP to pick holes in the Muslim-Muslim ticket, without talking about tribe and ethnicity.
He noted that Ayu had promised to resign if a presidential candidate emerged from the North
The lawmaker said: “Wike will never leave the PDP. He is not doing something that is wrong. Those of us in the PDP, we are campaigning against the APC based on Muslim-Muslim ticket. When you talk of religion, we should also talk of tribe and ethnicity.
“Presidential candidate of the party is from the North, party chairman is from the North, the Board of Trustees chairman is from the North. It will count a lot against the PDP in the South.
“Wike is not the problem in PDP. He is never the problem. The party has always won in Rivers State before Wike’s emergence as governor.
“Almost five or six governors are in line with Wike. There are former governors and party leaders. Wike is only their spokesman.
“They are not happy that the leaders have not taken proactive measures on the issue of the national chairman.
“The ruling party has not been doing well. They are only chasing the PDP members, but many APC members are defecting to the PDP. Winning River State is not a problem to the PDP.”