Wike, Ortom, others may face suspension  over romance with Tinubu – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party may in the coming weeks wield the hammer against some of its prominent members for rebelling against it and instead fraternising with the ruling All Progressives Congress and President Bola Tinubu.

Sunday PUNCH reliably gathered that the main opposition party was considering expelling key members of the G-5 governors elected on its platform, who refused to support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the February 25, 2024 presidential election.

It was learnt that the PDP was planning to show the exit door to the immediate governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who was the arrow head of the rebel governors, as well as the immediate governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.

Apart from not supporting Atiku, the party considers the current romance Wike and Ortom are having with Tinubu and the APC as serious anti-party activity, whose consequence is expulsion.

The PDP has therefore warned that if the former governors accept any appointment from the President and the APC, they would be summarily expelled from the party.

It is not clear yet what the PDP plans to do with the other members of the G-5 as Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is serving his second term on the platform of the party and participated at the recent retreat of the party in Bauchi, while the immediate past governors of Abia and Enugu states, Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, appear to be in political wilderness having lost their respective bids to go to the Senate. Ortom similarly failed in his bid to become a senator.

However, the five ex-governors recently visited the President at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in solidarity with Tinubu even as the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, is still trying to upturn his victory at the Presidential Election Petition Court.

Relying on the May 31, 2023 judgment of an A Federal High Court that it had the right to suspend or expel Wike or any other member if the action was done in accordance with the law, Sunday PUNCH gathered that the party was seriously considering kicking the ex-Rivers governor and other recalcitrant members out.

Justice James Omotosho had ruled on a suit filed by Wike prior to the 2023 general elections seeking for an order to stop the PDP from taking action against him without fair hearing.

The ex-governor had sued the PDP, its National Working Committee and National Executive Committee, and joined the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Justice Omotosho held that suspending or expelling the applicant without affording him the right to defend himself would breach his fundamental rights as enshrined in the party’s and Nigeria’s constitutions.

He said though the party had the right to suspend or expel its members, this must be done in compliance with its own law.

The judge said that though Section 46(1) of the law vested jurisdiction on the court if one’s rights had been breached, he added that the court would not dabble in the internal affairs of any political party, except where the right of a member had been violated by the party without recourse to its own laws.

Against the backdrop of a possible approach for its members to be part of the President’s government, the PDP reminded its members of the consequences that await those who while the party was still contesting the outcome of the 2023 presidential election, go ahead to serve in the new government.

The party insisted that neither its NWC nor any of its members had been approached by the ruling party for the possibility of working together in the interest of the country.

During their visit to Tinubu, Makinde and Wike took turns to commend the President for starting off very well, singling out his announcement of removal of subsidy on petrol as a step in the right direction.

Added to this are the utterances of Wike, who alongside his four colleagues not only worked against the PDP, but has continued to berate the party for lacking the courage to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the South after eight unbroken years in the North.

When asked a few weeks ago if he would serve in the APC-led government, Wike responded, “Tinubu has not informed me about getting an appointment. I am not too big to serve my country, but he has never told me that he would give me an appointment. If he asks me, the first thing I will do is to ask my wife and friends what they think about it.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sunday PUNCH, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said, “Whether we are approached or not, the PDP is a party of process and a truly democratic party. But let me say this, our members are conscious of what the party believes in.

“They are aware that we are in court, and they will be guided appropriately. They know the right thing to do and the consequences of not doing the right thing.”

He added, “As a party, we have not been approached to release any of our members to serve in the government. There are processes in issues like this. In any event, it will be premature to talk about this because the election that brought this government into power is being challenged by the PDP. Election is a process involving four stages – the pre-election, the election itself, declaration and post-election, particularly the petitions and all that.

Leave a Reply