The choice of location of the proposed People’s Democratic Party’s Convention that was slated for Portharcourt but now having issues with Board of Trustee (BoT) of the Party has started to generate controversy with the Rivers state governor Wike, who in turn handed down a stern warning that any attempt to change what was initially planned may come with dire consequences.
The governor made this disclosure when his counterpart from Gombe, Gov Ibrahim Dankwambo who indeed happens to be among the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirants paid him courtesy visits.
Wike who said he was not there when all the planning took place and that it was the governor of Delta state, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa that told him of their decision of choice of location who happened to be in Port Harcourt that is now having some undertones of relocation wondered why all of a sudden the plan change of location.
”There is no sense it that purported action and there may be dire consequences he said, the Rivers Governor submitted.
‘’Among those aspirants, there are some that are talking about restructuring, to which I feel it’s all about politics, rivers people are now wise, you can’t come here and feel you can take undue advantage of rivers people and at the end, seeing you here would become gold, we can no longer tolerate that anymore”.
Wike told his guest that there are moles among the presidential aspirants and that he would reveal the identity of that individual in due course.
Wike threatened that Rivers would teach the party a bitter lesson if it allows unnamed desperate contenders to thwart the hosting of the primaries in the Garden City as originally agreed by leaders of the party.
There have been accusations from the party’s trustees and aspirants that the governor is tilting towards backing a sitting chief executive from a North West state for the ticket.
But he said: “Let me warn the party, if you dare, Rivers State will teach the party a lesson.
Those days have passed when they took Rivers State for granted. Nobody can use and dump Rivers State.
“No presidential aspirant can use and dump Rivers State.
We never lobbied for it, we never asked for it, but it will boost the economy of the state. People will make money.
Those who are against Rivers people from making money to improve their businesses will not get our support.”
The governor wondered why anyone who wants to be president would be afraid of a venue, stating those clamouring for a change of venue were ill-prepared.
He further threatened: “Nobody should dare Rivers State any longer. Enough is enough.
PDP should know that we are not a punching bag. We are not people you can use and push. We are not harlots. Whenever you want, you come.
When you finish, you push us aside. We will retaliate at the appropriate time.
When you go, tell your colleagues, the presidential aspirants.
We were not interested, but having given it to us, you cannot insult us.”
He stressed that there were misfits among the lot who were just capitalising on the zoning of the nation’s number one seat to the North by the main opposition party.
“You come here to deceive us about restructuring. Just that Rivers State is a venue, you fight it.
Then, when you are there, what will happen? You think we are fools where you preach restructuring, then when you get the position, you abandon restructuring,” the governor fumed.
Dankwambo, however, urged Nigerians not to make the ‘error’ of 2015 when they ‘chose promises ahead of performance.’
According to him, the crisis of development being suffered by the country was as a result of the leadership vacuum at the federal level.
The visitor implored Rivers PDP delegates to support his aspiration, arguing that he has the capacity to set the country on the path of growth.
The Guardian, however, learnt the relocation idea is mooted following the sudden objection by party leaders, including some aspirants, governors and BoT members.
A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who pleaded anonymity, said: “Some of the party leaders, aspirants and their supporters said Wike’s utterances and actions since the choice of Port Harcourt was made showed that he is already working for the emergence of a particular aspirant from Northwest zone, who is also a sitting governor.
They had petitioned the party leadership and expressed fears that Wike will take advantage of the event being hosted in Port Harcourt to influence the outcome in favour of his preferred candidate.
“Some presidential aspirants and their supporters alongside some BoT members have vowed that it is over their dead bodies for the convention to hold in Port Harcourt again.
In short, a particular influential aspirant is so angry with the manner Wike is influencing things in the party, using the party’s national chairman.”
That is why we are consulting with the BoT members, governors, convention committee members to make a choice on Abuja or Asaba or at worst persuade aggrieved members to accept Port Harcourt.”