Walid Jibrin, chairman of the board of trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the party will do whatever it takes to ensure Nyesom Wike doesn’t defect.
Jibrin said this on Monday, while addressing journalists in Kaduna.
Wike, governor of Rivers, had contested the presidential ticket of the PDP but lost to Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president.
After the presidential primary in May, Wike had accused southern leaders of “betrayal”.
Also, when the choice of a vice-presidential candidate came up, Wike was said to be among the three preferred persons for the ticket but Abubakar picked Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta.
Following the development, there have been speculations that the Rivers governor may defect — he has also received several politicians in recent times, including Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso, presidential candidates of the Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), respectively.
Speaking on efforts to ensure that the party remains united ahead of the 2023 election, Jibrin said a reconciliation committee will be constituted to visit the Rivers governor.
“We in PDP know how to solve our problems. We know that governor Nyesom Wike may not be happy. It is the intention of this party to constitute a reconciliation committee that will meet Wike to talk to him, appeal to him, and pray that he will not leave our party,” he said.
Jibrin described Nwike as “a great man who has been fighting for the party, and the party will not want to see him moving to another party”.
He also said the party will meet with all the persons who participated in the primaries.
“We will all visit Wike together and if it means kneeling to Wike, we will kneel for him,” the BoT chairman said.
“We respect him. We respect his integrity and honesty in supporting the PDP. It is our belief that in any contest, there must be a winner and a loser.”
He also advised members of the party to be united in order to win the 2023 elections, adding that the PDP lost the recent governorship election in Ekiti because of lack of unity.
“I want to call on PDP members to come together and work together in unity,” he said.
“We should not be divided against ourselves. We must unite within ourselves. If we begin to have problems among ourselves, there would be more problems for us.
“What happened in Ekiti should not happen in the next governorship election in Osun state. We lost Ekiti because we are not even united among ourselves. If we are united, we would have won in Ekiti hands down.”