After weeks of brickbats since the conclusion of the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the aggrieved governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday evening met behind closed doors in Abuja.
Although details of the meeting were still sketchy as of the time of this report, sources in the PDP said the meeting between the two gladiators took place at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation and prominent member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Prof. Jerry Gana, signalling what observers believed were reconciliatory moves to pacify the governor.
It was confirmed that though the meeting took place in Gana’s house, he was not at the meeting. Also, interlopers were barred as the duo met without hangers-on.
A source disclosed: “The meeting took place in a very cordial atmosphere and at the end, both leaders happily exchanged banters openly. The two agreed to set up a small committee of equal representatives from both sides to thrash out issues of differences. That committee will ultimately submit a report to another larger committee that will finally lay the issues to rest. I can also tell you that the two leaders met without a third party.”
At the time The Guardian reached out to party chieftains to confirm the meeting, it was gathered that Wike had arrived in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
It was further learnt that the meeting was a follow-up to the meeting by the Wike camp last Sunday in Abuja. The Sunday meeting was said to have encouraged Wike to open his doors should Atiku express a genuine desire to meet him.
The Sunday meeting was said to have listed some conditions that must be met before the Wike group would ceasefire and suspend aggression.
Among the conditions is the need to ask the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign, to pave way for a Southerner to lead the party to elections.
The group was equally reported to have insisted that Atiku should sign an undertaking to spend only one term if he emerges the president.
Asked if it should be taken that Wike and Atiku have settled, the source said: “They have started the process; this started with a one-on-one interface. This will lead to a certain level of cordiality and trust and they can now resolve all the issues. The mediation is a sensitive issue.”
The source also said discussions were still ongoing about the choice of the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation.
EARLIER, Atiku had announced the appointment of Senator Dino Melaye and Dr Daniel Bwala as spokespersons of his campaign. According to a release signed by Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, the two appointments take immediate effect.
Melaye is a politician and a member of the eighth Senate, who represented the Kogi West Senatorial district. He hails from Ayetoro Gbede in the Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Bwala, on the other hand, is a legal practitioner, politician and public affairs analyst. He hails from Borno State.
Recall that Bwala dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last month over APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s choice of a fellow Muslim, ex-Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, as running mate. Bwala, last week, joined the PDP.
In his remarks, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the APC came to power through propaganda and lies, but PDP’s campaign will be focused on the issues.