The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has cautioned his supporters, particularly party stalwarts to desist from making inciting statements that could affect the ongoing internal reconciliation process.
This is as the former vice president said Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his counterparts in other states are working frantically for the main opposition party’s victory during next year’s presidential election.
Atiku made the call through a press statement signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, in Abuja on Thursday.
The former President’s position followed reports by The PUNCH that there are increasing fears in the PDP that the crisis between Atiku and Wike may affect its chances in the 2023 presidential elections.
The party leaders, who spoke to The PUNCH in separate interviews on Wednesday, expressed concern about the growing relationship between Wike and influential members of the All Progressives Congress, describing the development as worrisome.
Also on Thursday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo met with the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, and Wike in London.
Wike attended the meeting with his allies including Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, among others.
Although details of the meeting were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, The PUNCH learnt that it was part of negotiations ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
However, Atiku on Thursday warned his supporters and other PDP stakeholders to desist forthwith from making statements that are capable of compromising the ongoing work towards further strengthening the party and bringing all its leaders together.
The statement read, “it has become imperative to appeal to all party members, leaders and everyone related to, connected with or associated with the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar to desist from making comments that potentially reduce the optics of PDP’s image as a united political party.
“This appeal becomes necessary in order to call the attention of party leaders and members to the diversionary antics of the ruling All Progressives Congress which, in manufacturing a false impression of division within the PDP, aims to hoodwink the Nigerian public to overlook the monumental failures of the ruling party.
“Today, Nigerians look up to the Peoples Democratic Party to lead the charge in ousting the ruling party. This expectation from the people is the reason why the APC is jittery of their impending fall in next year’s general election. It is also the very reason why the ruling party is manipulating the political process to create a sense of division in the PDP.
“Because they know that there is nothing to campaign with from their records of performance in office, the APC has elected to play the role of the devil’s advocate, regaling in celebration of their imaginary invincibility upon a fraudulent claim that the PDP is divided.
“It is for this reason that appeal to every true member of the PDP and anyone who truly wishes the success of the PDP presidential candidate to not fall for the antics of the APC in making statements that could give credence to the false claim of divisions in the PDP.
“All the leaders of the party, including especially the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike and all governors of the PDP are united in working for the victory of the PDP in next year’s general election across board.
“What is at stake in the next year’s election is the future of Nigeria and all leaders and members of the PDP are on the same page in the mission to rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of the APC.”