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2023: Atiku Raises Team To Pacify Wike, Others, Rivers Gov’s Camp Adamant

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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, has set up a committee to pacify and woo the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and some other aggrieved members of the party.

The initiative was instituted by Atiku based on the need to go into the 2023 general elections with a united front.

It was earlier reported that the opposition party has been rocked by crisis following the choice of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate.

Wike, Okowa and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom had appeared before the screening panel set up by the PDP to nominate a vice-presidential candidate to the PDP presidential flagbearer.

Okowa was nominated by the PDP presidential candidate after rumours had it that Wike had been selected by the party advisory committee as the vice-presidential candidate the day before.

But findings indicate that the PDP feared Wike might work against Atiku’s ambition following his loss as the party presidential candidate and running mate to Atiku.

Signs that the PDP might run into stormy waters became pronounced with the defection of some of Wike’s supporters from the party in the last 24 hours.

Aside from the resignations of two allies of the Rivers state governor-a former minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe and an ex-commissioner in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua, a mass exodus of party members was also said to be looming.

Sequel to the ominous signs in the party, Atiku was said to have constituted a team to appease and fully bring back Wike into his campaign council, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a PDP chieftain who was privy to the decision, said, “ Atiku wanted to tell Wike about his choice of Okowa one-on-one but then, he heard that Wike had returned to Rivers. That clearly showed good faith. Even though Wike was not the selected candidate, Atiku wanted to accord him respect by letting him know before the news got to the public.

“Atiku has set up a reconciliatory committee to reach out to Wike and mend the cracks. Atiku understands the need to go to the 2023 elections with a united front. Everyone will be pacified. Not only Wike but every aggrieved person within the party.”

Corroborating the development, a top Atiku confidant stated, “Our people (PDP members) are still aggrieved and when you are doing mediation, you don’t give the impression that you are not sincere but it is a serious undertaking.“His Excellency, Governor Wike is strategic to Atiku’s victory, make no mistake about it. Whatever anybody may say, that is a party man through and through. He understands the times we are in and that was why he threw his hat in the ring; that is why he wants to be president because he feels that he has what it takes to lead the country so also the other candidates who contested.

“Now, that the contest is over, we really have a responsibility to bring everybody together. You don’t go to a battle with a disunited army. Wike is the kind of man you can go to battle with, you don’t leave him behind. You do all you can to bring him on board. The enemy is not within PDP; the enemies are those who have enslaved us; people that have impoverished us.”

Asked about the composition of the reconciliation panel, the source declined to release their names, noting that the job of the members was sensitive.

According to him, the team would approach those known to have Wike’s ears and get them to talk to the Rivers State Governor to close ranks with Atiku.

On the timeframe for the committee’s work, the source added, “No timeframe, it is an ongoing process. We are working very hard and I can assure you that a lot of work is going on. I know because I have spoken with one of those involved.”

The media adviser to Atiku, Mr Paul Ibe, could not be reached for comment while the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, declined to speak.

Meanwhile, Atiku’s peace moves may, however, be heading for the rocks as the Rivers State Governor’s loyalists have dismissed the initiative as unnecessary.

A PDP chieftain in Rivers State and former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbomna Nwuke, described the Atiku reconciliation committee as a contradiction.

Speaking on Tuesday, he said, “On one hand, somebody says he (Wike) is one who talks too much, who probably is uncontrollable. And then, on the other hand, you want him to help your cause. You want victory and you think he can contribute to your victory. Is that not a contradiction?

“There was an attempt to draft a man who was not interested in the vice-presidency into the vice-president; a committee set up, the caucus spoke, the national working committee of the party spoke favourably about Wike and it was not honoured.”

Nwuke further stated, “Atiku did what he wanted to do. So what committee is he setting up again? To do what? It doesn’t make sense.

“When the convention was over, nobody showed him the way to Wike’s house. If he wants Wike to work with him, he should walk to the Governor of Rivers State and speak with him. We don’t need committees, what will the committee do? It doesn’t make sense to me.

“I don’t know why relationships shouldn’t be exploited. What is this committee thing? You have something else in your mind, you set up a committee to do something else. What is the meaning of that?”

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Wike had said no matter what happens he would not leave the PDP. That was what he said.

“The implication is that a man who is committed to the PDP will work for the PDP, whether you set up a committee or not. And that is my personal opinion,” Nwuke stated.

Nwuke, who was also a former commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers State, also took a swipe at a former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, who accused Wike of being loquacious and rude.

Aliyu had in an interview on Channels Tv on Tuesday said that the PDP presidential candidate did not pick Wike as his running mate because he wanted someone that could complement him, rather than one that talks too much like Wike.

But Nwuke, who represented Etche-Omuma federal constituency in the National Assembly, dismissed Aliyu’s criticisms, saying he didn’t understand the difference between politicking and administration.

He argued, “The Wike that this man (Aliyu) is talking about has been chief of staff. As chief of staff, he never went against his principal. He spoke and did not go beyond his brief.

“This same man (Wike) had served as the Minister of Education. While serving as minister he did not also speak out of tune. Of course, he knew who the boss was, he knew what his role was and he played his role.

“And so people should draw a fine line between politicking and administration. They are not the same thing.

“Everybody who knows Wike knows that he is a team player. In trying to help build the PDP he worked with a team of committed PDP people. And together, they were able to bring the PDP from where it was, in defeat to where it is today.”

Efforts to reach the chairman of the River State PDP, Desmond Akawor, and the party’s spokesman, Sydney Gbara, proved abortive as they did not respond to calls.

Also, Kelvin Ebiri, the media aide to the Rivers State Governor could not be reached on his mobile phone as of the time of filing this report.

But the Commissioner for Information, Delta State, Charles Aniagwu, in an interview with The PUNCH, disclosed that the leaders of PDP were already on the move to pacify aggrieved members.

Meanwhile, political analysts have faulted Atiku’s committee, saying this was not the right direction for reconciliation.

Mr Adekunle Akinola said Atiku erred by allowing the PDP advisory council to interact with Wike and Okowa in the run-up to the selection of his running mate.

Another analyst, Mr Tonye Isokariari, said that the pacification was unnecessary. He noted, “It makes no sense; if I am Wike, I will feel insulted because if he knows he did the right thing he would not have set up a committee to pacify him and people like Wike will not take such an insult. ”

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State says it would shock the PDP and take over the Government House in 2023.

The state APC chairman, Emeka Beke, who disclosed this during an interview with one of our correspondents in Port Harcourt, also said the party would deliver the state for its Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

BIG STORY

‘Obidients’ Threatening To Burn Down Afrika Shrine – Femi Kuti

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Afrobeat singer Femi Kuti has alleged that some people threatened to burn down the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja over reports that he called supporters of Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi ‘zombies’.

The 60-year-old said this in a video posted on Instagram on Friday night, where he insisted he never called Mr Obi’s supporters ‘zombies’.

On Friday, reports that he described the LP candidate’s supporters as zombies emerged.

The singer immediately debunked the report, describing it as misleading.

In a performance at the Afrika Shrine on Thursday night, Mr Kuti said that at 60, he could not be obedient.

Supporters of the LP candidate refer to themselves as ‘Obidients’.

The threat
Despite clearing the air, the singer said he woke up to a barrage of insults and abuses by people whom he described as Mr Obi’s supporters.

He said, “I woke up today to insults abusing me, my family and my children, threatening that they will burn the shrine because they said I said Peter Obi’s supporters are zombies.”

Clearing the air, Mr Kuti said that he was too angry, too sad, and depressed to be obedient.

“How can anybody come up with that term? I cannot be ‘Obedient’ in this country with END SARS killings, my grandmother was killed, my father’s house burnt, and I’m supposed to be obedient.

“Did I call Peter Obi supporters zombies? Did I say that? No. What does ‘obedient’ mean? I wouldn’t say I like that terminology for myself and will never use it.

“Nothing can make me obedient. I’m too angry, too sad, too depressed to be. Stop threatening to burn the shrine, stop threatening my children, stop that rubbish,” he said.

He went on to express his reservations about Mr Obi’s candidacy.

He said, “Obi went to greet Obasanjo. That makes me sceptical. Obi went to meet Babangida. Who? Me? My family believes these people are a part of the problem in this country.

“Well, some people will say no. That is your business; you have the right to think like that if that is what you believe is good for you. But you, too, cannot tell me how to think.

“I have my reservations. I do. You cannot tell me not to have reservations.”

What transpired
An online publication reported his speech at the Afrika Shrine with the headline, ‘Femi Kuti says Obidients are zombies’.

In its report, the publication likened the Grammy nominee’s speech to his Father’s 1976 acclaimed song, ‘Zombie’.

The publication quoted the ‘Sorry Sorry’ crooner said, “You know what obedience means? Stand up, sit down, sit there — zombie.”

In his response, Mr Kuti said that the publication took his words out of context.

“You are such liars. What benefit is it to the people when you take my words out of context like this?”

He further added that he also gave his reasons for not trusting anyone else too in the present Nigerian political arena.

What actually happened
From the clip posted by People’s Gazette on YouTube, it appeared that Mr Kuti had paused a performance to talk about the 2023 presidential election.

He said, “At 60, why am I obedient? All my life, I don’t even remember a good time.

“I fear for my children; you say I should be obedient. Sit down. Be peaceful. That’s the meaning of obedience. ‘Obedient’, that was the Vice President of Atiku?

“Are you all ok in this country? Be obedient to who? Dem don suffer my life, make I come still dey stand up, obedient.”

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Akwa Ibom Monarch To Die By Hanging For Murder

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Akwa Ibom State High Court presided by Justice Edem Akpan, has sentenced 82-year-old Village Head of Efen Ibom in Ika Local Government Area of the State, Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, to death by hanging for murder.

The monarch, married to 12 wives and has 60 children, was standing trial on four counts of conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of the motorcycle, and murder of the owner, one Udoma Udo Ubom.

Delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Akpan said the court found the accused guilty of the murder of the deceased by injecting some chemical substance on him, leading to his death on 26th April 2017.

According to the judgment, the late Ubom was accused by his brothers of being a wizard and was reported to the Village Head, who brought him before the Council, where the deceased was administered an oath to swear and prove his innocence.

The court held, “Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the Village since 2017 and returned in 2019 when he was arrested by the Police.”

Justice Akpan stated, “The accused had voluntarily admitted that he sat at Efen Clan Council with five other village heads and members of the Clan Council to try the deceased on the allegation of witchcraft, and the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offense of conspiracy.”

The court further held, “The admission of the process of trial and the decision of Efen Clan Council to administer oath on the deceased, has logically brought to the conclusion that a plastic bath on the head of the late Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom and injecting some chemical substance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”

Justice Edem Akpan sentenced the Village Head to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labor for directing unlawful trial by ordeal, and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others now at large.

However, before the sentence was announced, the convicted Village Head, popularly known as ‘Kill and Bury’ pleaded for leniency, asking the Court to temper justice with mercy.

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”It’s Totally False And Malicious”, 2Face Debunks Rumour He Got A Banker Pregnant

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Nigerian singer, 2face Idibia has debunked reports he got a banker pregnant.

His manager, Efe Omorogbe released a statement debunking the rumor this afternoon, August 13.

Recall that few days ago, 2face came on social media to apologize to his wife, Annie Idibia, for being a “Shitty husband”.

Shortly after he shared his apology post, some social media users claimed he apologized publicly because he got a banker pregnant.

The singer has now debunked the report.

Read the statement below…

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