Wike absent at PDP Bauchi retreat

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The immediate past Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, was noticeably absent from a Peoples Democratic Party elected official retreat taking place at the Banquet Hall, Government House in Bauchi State.

Some of the dignitaries present at the retreat are: Governors of Adamawa – Umaru Fintiri; Bayelsa – Duoye Diri; Bauchi – Bala Mohammed; Delta – Sheriff Oborevwori; Osun – Ademola Adeleke; Oyo – Seyi Makinde; Rivers – Siminalayi Fubara; Plateau – Caleb Mutfwang; Taraba – Agbu Kefas; Zamafara – Dauda Dare and Edo – Godwin Obaseki (was represented by his deputy, Philip Shuaibu).

Others are: the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar; National Working Committee of the party led by the Acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Adolphus Wabara; former PDP National Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi; former Board of Trustees Chairman, Walid Jibril; former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu; former Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal; Kogi State Governorship Candidate, Dino Melaye.

Also in attendance are: serving Senators and House of Representatives members, many of whom came alongside the Senators-elect and House of Representatives-elected members.

Abubakar Suleiman, Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, was also present at the meeting.

Similar to this, a number of politicians from the Labour Party, the Young Progressives Party, and other minor opposition parties made a point of attending the event.

However, Wike, who led four governors – Makinde of Oyo; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu; Samuel Ortom of Benue and Ikpeazu of Abia, to form the G-5 Governors, was clearly not in attendance at the meeting and he didn’t sent a representative to stand-in for him at the parley.

Although Wike’s absence has not yet been officially explained, there are persistent rumours that he has defected from the PDP, the party on whose platform he was elected to serve as governor of Rivers State for eight years, to the governing All Progressives Congress.

Those who charge him of abandoning the party point to his frequent and strengthening camaraderie with the APC leadership. They also highlight the PDP’s appalling showing in Rivers State during the Presidential election.

Wike, however, has stated that he is still a member of the opposition PDP and has denied defecting to the APC.

Damagum, the Party’s acting national chairman, stated that the purpose of inviting members of the minor opposition party “is to form a formidable and united force as it concerns the National Assembly leadership.”