Port Harcourt, Nigeria – Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Saturday said no vote of confidence can save the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, just as the assurance tool passed by the party’s National Executive Committee in April 2021 failed to save Ayu’s predecessor, Uche Secondus.
“I was listening, watching, they said there is one man they call Secondus. They said he was dancing, celebrating that NEC gave their person a vote of confidence.
“He (Secondus) forgets history that the same NEC through Aliyu Babangida who moved a motion for a vote of confidence supported by the same person – Ndudi Elumelu. They gave him a vote of confidence, what happened? He left office,” Wike said in Port Harcourt on Saturday when he received hundreds of defectors from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP in the oil-rich state.
Wike and Secondus are said to be kinsmen but a feud had thwarted their relationship last year and the Rivers governor had demanded his resignation as PDP chairman. Secondus’ tenure was later truncated last August when a court sacked him.
Speaking on Saturday, Wike challenged Secondus to come back to Rivers to mobilise support for the PDP ahead of the 2023 elections and insisted that Ayu must exit the chairmanship of the party for a southerner.
The governor said, “We don’t fight and go back. If you like, you can have as many votes of confidence, it is not my business; my business is to make sure the right thing is done and the right thing must be done whether today or tomorrow.
“So, let nobody worry himself. If you are dancing, come home and dance, come and mobilise for the party you think that will win election. I am here waiting for him. No more 419 in this game. Enough is enough.
“We are only waiting for INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) for them to blow the whistle. When they blow the whistle, we will know those who are in charge of Rivers State and those who are mere visitors to the state.”
Earlier the PDP NEC had in Abuja passed a vote of confidence in Ayu amid the crisis rocking the main opposition party.
Also, the party’s Board of Trustees chairman, Walid Jibrin (from Nasarawa State), resigned and a former President of the Senate of Nigeria, Adolphus Wabara (from Abia State), emerged as acting BoT chair.
However, Wike insisted that Ayu, who is from Benue State, must step down for a southerner, saying that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar (from Adamawa State), told him in person when he won the May primary that Ayu must vacate is position as party chairman.
Wike, who lost the party’s presidential primary to Atiku in May, has maintained that it is injustice for northerners can’t hold the two major positions of the party.
The Governor, who on Saturday, welcomed hundreds of defectors from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party, said his primary responsibility is to ensure that all candidates in Rivers are elected next year.
“Rivers State is paramount to me first before any other person or any other group,” Wike said.
“All of you who have come back to the family, you have one role or the other to play for the emergence of our governorship candidate,” he added.
The governor said the defectors came at the right time, noting that the 2023 elections “is not for big men, it is not for those who won’t come back home to mobilise their people; they are only interested in being politicians away”.
He stated, “Politicians are (made) at home. I have changed the strategy of this election – no more big men. I am going for those who matter in their various units.
“All those who are decamping are those who you will not be hearing their names but they are the people who do the work. So, we have been plucking them back and all those so-called big men are threatened.”
Other former APC members who defected are Sylver Opusunju, Tele Bethram Ikuru, Princewill Dike, Reginald Onwuka, Bestman Amadi, Amadi Nnokam, Muma Gift, Kennedy Ebeku.
Those at the event in Port Harcourt, the state capital, include PDP Chairman in Rivers, Desmond Akawor; former Board of Trustees’ member of the APC, Sam-Sam Jaja; ex-Commissioner for Sports, Fred Igwe; and hundreds of their supporters.