Crisis Rocks Senate As Labour Party, PDP Move Against Wike’s Ally
Minority party Senators are spoiling for a showdown with the immediate past governor of Rivers State Nyesome Wike over what they perceive as manoeuvring to foist his choice on them as the next Senate Minority Leader.
Newly inaugurated Senators from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and the Young Progressives Party (YPP) vowed yesterday to resist any such move.
Wike is currently not in the good books of some PDP stakeholders who blame him for the party’s misfortune in the February 25 presidential election.
Party sources told The Nation yesterday that plan by the anti-Wike forces to get him and other members of the G5 sanctioned is frustrating reconciliation efforts of the PDP acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum.
The PDP, LP, NNPP and YPP senators in a statement in Abuja yesterday alleged a plot to destabilise the minority caucus.
They vowed to resist any plot to foist a one party dictatorship on the Senate.
Their words: “It has come to the notice of the Minority Political Parties in the Senate of an attempt by forces inside and outside the Senate to divide the Minority Parties and foist a pliant and compromised leadership on them.
“We have pledged to work constructively with the new Senate leadership and the Executive branch to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people.
“We consequently hereby advise and caution that they should not aid any group inside or outside the Senate to divide and destabilise the minority parties and the Senate institution.
“Senators of the minority Parties would meet when the Senate reconvenes and, in consultation with our respective political parties, would select its leaders without undue interference from anti-democratic forces within or outside the Senate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no Senator has yet been endorsed or selected for any Minority position, as this would await due process as agreed by all Minority Parties in their last meeting.
“Attempt to foist a one party dictatorship would be resisted and would fail. We call on all members of the Minority Political Parties to work together in unity to defend the democratic institution of the Senate and Nigeria.”
The statement was signed by Senators Adamu Aliero, Henry Seriake Dickson, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Abdul Ningi and Patrick Abba Moro for the PDP; Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi for LP; Senator Kawu Samaila for NNPP and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah for YPP.
The only All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), and the two Social Democratic Party (SDP) Senators, Godiya Akwashiki (Nasarawa North) and Ahmed Wadada (Nasarawa West) did not sign the statement.
Abaribe was originally a member of the PDP but moved to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the run-up to the last election after he was denied a return ticket by the PDP.
Although the signatories made no mention of anyone in their statement, sources said they had Wike in mind.
It was gathered that the signatories were already concerned that Wike succeeded in getting his ally, Kingsley Chinda, endorsed by the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives as the next Minority Leader of the House.
They were also said to be unhappy with him for mobilising support for Senate President Godswill Akpabio against Senator AbdulAziz Yari who was their choice for the office.
Wike met with Akpabio on Thursday evening at the National Assembly for over two hours.
The former Rivers State governor, who wore a black suit, left the Senate wing of the National Assembly at about 6:30pm in the convoy of Akpabio, Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, and other senators like Saliu Mustapha and Isah Jibrin as well as Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Abdullahi Abubakar Gumel.
A source said Wike may be throwing his weight behind Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe (Cross River North) in the race for the Minority Leader contest.