PDP Crisis: Wike Witch-hunts Atiku’s Loyalists; Seals Petrol Station, Hotels Belonging To Them In Rivers
Security operatives directly attached to Rivers State Government House on Friday sealed up a petrol station, two hotels owned by some of the associates of the presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in Port Harcourt, the State Capital.
The properties sealed are Mega Tools filling station at Ojoto Street in Diobu Area owned by Dr. Chinyere Igwe, Priscy Lounge at Elekahia area owned by Hon Jones Ogbonda and Peray Hotel in Eagle Island belonging to Ikechi Chinda.
Journalists found out that the three business owners are associates of Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, an erstwhile Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and former allies of Governor Nyesom Wike.
Opara, a chieftain of the PDP in Rivers is currently with the former Vice President Atiku.
“Wike has started fighting Rivers people again. Government house security last night sealed Mega Tools filling station owned by Hon. Dr. Chinyere Igwe, sealed and arrested customers and staff of Priscy’s lounge owned by Hon. Jones Ogbonda and Preray hotel owned by Ikechi Chinda, a former PDP Chairman in Port Harcourt.
“All three business owners are associates of Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, a former ally of Governor Nyesom Wike,” said a source to SR.
The duo of Atiku and Wike have been at loggerheads owing to the nomination of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP.
The governor’s camp said Atiku has been ignoring Wike despite moves to reconcile the duo. Atiku was in the stead meeting with some Rivers PDP chieftains, with the intention of doing without him ahead of the election.
This has complicated situations for Rivers PDP, as those who are opposed to the leadership of the governor have decided to dare him and face the challenges involved.
Some of them expressed their support for Atiku while others went for other candidates.
The governor has proceeded to eject some people who are not loyal to him.
A typical example is the move to deal with Senator Lee Maeba, he dissolved the board of the Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Port Harcourt headed by the erstwhile Senator.
Others dealt with by the Governor for their political leaning are former governor of the State, Celetine Omehia: Austin Opara and a few others who he removed as leaders of the party in their various local government areas.
In an interview, Senator Maeba stated that the reason for Wike’s dissolution of the board of the polytechnic was owing to his closeness to Atiku.
The Senator’s view came against the background of the political intrigues that set the former Vice President up as the candidate of the PDP for the 2023 presidential election.
He said, “we have a candidate of the party who has the capacity to lead Nigeria out of crisis. So, nothing can deter us from supporting Atiku to save Nigeria.
“Wike is not hiding that he is fighting Atiku. He is ready to fight to the finish. We don’t know what he (Wike) is planning to do because when campaigns start, we are qualified to campaign too. We are waiting to see how he will do it. This is a joke taken too far.
Maeba also attested to the fact that the removal of former Governor Omehia and ex-deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Opara, as leaders of their party in Ikwerre and Port Harcourt City LGAs respectively.
Maeba added, “yes, he (Wike) called them before their people because we went to pay a solidarity visit to Atiku which we are supposed to do. All of us knew Atiku before him. Austin Opara has been in the House of Representatives since 1999. He was the deputy speaker when Atiku was VP. That time, Wike was struggling to be a local government chair. So, if Austin Opara has to take a permission from him today to go and see Atiku, then something is wrong.”