Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs performing governors like him to get the needed votes for the party to win the presidency.
The opposition party has been in crisis since May when former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar became the PDP presidential candidate.
Party stakeholders expressed concern that Wike was overlooked for Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, who Abubakar chose as his running mate.
Allies of Wike had recently demanded that Iyorchia Ayu, PDP national chairman, should step down — as a precondition for resolving the crisis. But Ayu has since dismissed the call.
READ PDP crisis: Wike’s camp reels out conditions for truce, wants Atiku to sign one-term deal, Ayu sacked
Abubakar; Walid Jibrin, chairman of PDP board of trustees (BoT); and Ayu are all from north, and Jibrin has offered to resign following allegations that the north is holding all the key positions in the party.
Speaking on Wednesday at the unveiling of the Emohua campus of Rivers State University, Wike said no one can prevent him from speaking on the happenings in the party.
“That is why I am telling the people there, ‘look, it cannot work; you can’t take everything. If you take everything, it will purge you. So, better do the right thing now’,” he said.
“Don’t sit there and think that you can muzzle me and you can do everything; you can manipulate anything. You can think you have the number to make sure you take everything, but the time is coming when you will account for it.
“If any PDP state is not doing well, don’t think you will be voted for because APC is not doing well. If in PDP state, for example, if in Rivers state, we didn’t do well, then you’ll say because APC did not do well at the national level, then the people will vote for us.
“They’ll tell you ‘PDP, you didn’t do well in Rivers state’. People don’t understand that. And that is why the party should respect us and know that we are the ones campaigning for the party, because we have what to use to campaign.”
Also speaking at the event, Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo, said he and his colleagues will continue to fight for their “space” in the party.
“Even the fight that we lost, we did not lose with our heads bowed. We stood for the truth and for what is good for the country,” he said.
“We will continue to fight for our space within the PDP. We will fight for what is good for our people.”