How Rift Between Wike & Atiku Started

The lawmaker said Mr Wike never wanted to be Atiku’s running mate.

Disinformation triggered the rift between Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State governor, a member of the House of Representatives, has said.

Solomon Bob, who represents Rivers State in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, said the disinformation put out by “Atiku’s men” before and after the party’s primary contributed to the crisis that rocked the party.

Some of these lies, he said, included the claim that the governor was unsatisfied with results of the party’s primary and also wanted to be named the running mate of the presidential candidate.

He said the disinformation was put out to “pull down Wike and elevate the candidate – who already has a huge profile and an election to win.”

He made these comments during an interview with Channels TV on Monday.

He was reacting to the crisis that has hit the party in recent weeks and efforts made by all players towards reconciling aggrieved members.

Mr Wike fell out with the party leadership since losing the primary election to Atiku in June. PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Wike failed to congratulate the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa Okowa, who was named the party’s vice-presidential candidate.

He also rebuffed attempts by Atiku and his team to meet with him.

He only recently agreed to a meeting on the condition that the party’s chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, would resign and the National Working Committee would be reshuffled.

Although the two men have taken steps towards reconciliation by meeting physically, Mr Bon said had Mr Atiku’s men not spread lies and degrading comments about Mr Wike, the matter would not have degenerated.

Reports that he (Wike) is aggrieved with the party and was not picked as running mate is false,” he explained.

The governor never wanted to be running mate to Atiku,” he said. “He never asked for it and never lobbied for it. That is the truth they won’t tell you. It was like a deliberate attempt to demystify and denigrate him.”

The lawmaker further said that all Mr Wike wanted was to be president because he had a workable plan of action for the country.

Mr Bon also blamed some party chieftains for spreading the lies.

“Atiku’s front men were all over the place making all kinds of derogatory comments…I found some of these things offensive and appalling.”

The whole thing, he said, started with “lack of good faith”.

He also said Mr Wike “never said anything about being unhappy with Atiku’s emergence” and has no reason not to support Atiku.

A former spokesperson for the PDP campaign organisation, Phrank Shuaib, who was also on the programme, said the crisis in the party is all politics and “nothing too much to handle.”

He, however, pushed back Mr Bon’s comments, saying Atiku never sent people to denigrate the Rivers State governor.