A three-member delegation dispatched by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, arrived Port Harcourt Thursday evening for a meeting on Friday with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his allies in the crisis rocking the opposition party.
In the delegation led by Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri are a former governorship candidate of the party in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, and Akilu Indabawa, a former Special Adviser on Political Matters to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Atiku sent the delegation after a 14-member committee he set up with Mr Wike to explore grounds for reconciliation between the two men failed to meet as scheduled on Monday.
Premium Times reported that the meeting did not hold due to a disagreement over venue. While members of the committee appointed by Atiku wanted the committee to sit in Abuja, Mr Wike’s team insisted on Port Harcourt.
Following the stalemate, the committee rescheduled the meeting for Friday, even though there was still no agreement on the venue.
However, to demonstrate his commitment for reconciliation with Mr Wike, Atiku on Thursday dispatched the smaller delegation to meet the seven representatives of the governor’s camp who had been in Port Harcourt since Monday.
A source in the delegation told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening that it was well-received by the governor’s people and that arrangements were being made for the meeting tomorrow.
“We have received very positive signals from them and we are confident more than ever before that this crisis will soon be resolved,” the source said.
On why Atiku cut the size of the delegation, the source said: “You know in matters like this, too many cooks can spoil the broth. It is an intra-party crisis and Waziri believes that the reconciliation can be better done by a compact team.”
Mr Wike came second behind Atiku in the PDP presidential primary held in Abuja on 29 May but has since refused to pledge his commitment to the success of the candidate at the general election.
The Rivers governor had been left aggrieved by some developments at the national convention which he said contributed to his loss at the primary.
He was further angry by the manner in which Atiku overlooked him to pick Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
Many leaders in the party who are unhappy over the lopsidedness of the party’s national leadership have teamed up with Mr Wike in demanding that the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, step aside for a substitute from the southern zone.
That issue and how to draw Mr Wike into the Atiku campaigns will top the agenda of the reconciliation meeting tomorrow.
The meeting will submit its report to Atiku and the governor.