The five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), otherwise known as G-5, led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and some other party chieftains, yesterday announced the formation of Integrity Group within the opposition party.
Other governors in the group are Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State. The governors and some aggrieved party members are currently having a strategic meeting in Lagos, which may not be unconnected to the agitation for the removal of the PDP national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Addressing journalists before going into a closed-door meeting, Governor Makinde said the Integrity Group remained the face behind the struggle within the PDP.
Makinde said, “We are here this morning to hold a meeting of the Integrity Group within our party, the PDP. We have been of the G5 – that is, the five PDP governors. The G5 is all about the Integrity Group.
“You can see us, five serving governors, as the face of this struggle; both the leaders and elders of the party that you see here are the people behind those faces. We are in the South-West to review the situation within our party, to review where we are and to also look at what is going to happen in the coming elections,” he said.
The Oyo State governor noted that at the end of the deliberations, the group would fully brief the press on their stand on all the burning issues within the main opposition party.M “On behalf of our leaders and elders in the South-West, I want to welcome members of the Integrity Group and wish us well,” he said.
The Wike-led G-5 has been clamouring for the resignation or removal of Dr. Ayu, since after the party presidential ticket was won by Atiku Abubakar, insisting that both the presidential candidate and the party chairman cannot come from the north in line with the party’s power rotation principle, especially after both the candidate and the chairman had reportedly pledged that the latter position will be yielded to a southerner.
LEADERSHIP reports that other PDP leaders at the Lagos meeting include former governors Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Donald Duke (Cross River), Jonah Jang (Plateau), a former deputy national chairman of the PDP (South), Chief Olabode George, and former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke.
Also in attendance is the current deputy national chairman of the PDP (South), Amb. Taofeek Arapaja; Senator Suleiman Nazif; Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje; Cross State PDP governorship candidate, Senator Sandy Onor, and Senator Mao Ohabunwa.
The party leaders have repeatedly maintained that Ayu must resign for the sake of fairness, justice and inclusivity, so as to bring peace to the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
We Will Contain Wike, Integrity Group’s Excesses – PDP
Meanwhile, the PDP Presidential Campaign Council has said that it already has a mechanism on ground to contain the excesses of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and the newly formed Integrity Group.
Spokesman of the Campaign Council in Rivers State, Dr. Leloonu Nwibubasa, disclosed this while speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, in reaction to the formation of Integrity Group by the PDP G-5 governors.
Nwibubasa said: “All the things Governor Wike has been doing after the primaries and, of course, after he lost out as being nominated the vice-presidential candidate of the PDP, have been orchestrated towards ensuring that Atiku Abubakar does not emerge president come 2023.
“So, forming the Integrity Group is to put a peg to stand – that all that he is doing is finally open and ready to fight to the end. Like we have always recognised, in a team, if there is a problem, of course, it is going to affect our chances in a war or the other, but at the same time, PDP, having recognised who Wike is and having understood his game plan, we also have a robust mechanism to contain Wike and his Integrity Group and their excesses. “Again, one of the blessings of the PDP in this election is the Electoral Act that has taken more of the powers to the electorate and not any governor that can hijack election using state powers.”
According to him, the party believes it needs to reach out to the electorate and preach its message, especially its manifesto. He added: “Atiku is much more prepared than any other person. We understand the challenges that is (Wike’s Group) going to pose to us but we are going to work hard to ensure that we reverse his damage and make our gains.”
Blame APC For Nigeria Economic Downturn – PDP
Also yesterday, the PDP national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has asked Nigerians to hold the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) responsible for the high cost of living and economic downturn in the country.