Wike sponsoring petitions against us -PDP gov aspirants
The crisis rocking the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party seems unbaiting as 16 aggrieved governorship aspirants on Monday accused the immediate past Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, of sponsoring spurious petitions against some them.
The governorship aspirants expressed shock that some of them were confronted by the gubernatorial screening panel with petitions that they were not members of the PDP.
Under the aegis of the Rivers Mainstream Coalition, the governorship aspirants said it was difficult to rationalise such 'frivolous' petitions when the aspirant had been certified as members of the PDP by the National Working Committee.
The aspirants who spoke with newsmen through the National Coordinator of the coalition, Professor Israel Owate, stated that only 32 members of House of Assembly aspirants who belong to the Grassroots Development Initiative were cleared behind the scene by the screening panel.
The GDI is a group funded by Wike, who is the Grand Patron to increase the strength and popularity of the PDP in the state.
Explaining that PDP House of Representatives aspirants in the state were also facing similar treatment, the 16 governorship aspirants expressed sadness that none of the House of Assembly contenders had been given clearance certificate.
'At the gubernatorial screening panel, most prominent aspirants were confronted with spurious, trumped-up, frivolous petitions, alleging that the aspirants are not members of the PDP in Rivers State.
'These are the same aspirants who had been certified as members of the PDP by the National Working Committee that issued them the interest and nomination forms and from whom the state and the South-South zonal secretariats had collected N3 million as dues and administrative cost.
'These spurious petition, no doubt, sponsored by Barrister Nyesom Wike in his desperation to foist himself on the Rivers people, were purported to have been submitted against the aspirants by persons who have denied knowledge of such petitions.
'It is alarming that such fraudulent petitions could be concocted to derail the gubernatorial screening process. But we are however hopeful that the screening committee shall take appropriate position by dismissing these petitions,' the governorship aspirants said.
However, reacting to the allegation against Wike, the Secretary-General of GDI, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, described the claim that the former minister was sponsoring petitions against some of the PDP governorship aspirants in the state as frivolous.
Nwanosike explained that Wike, who is also a governorship aspirant had been talking to the delegates, adding that the GDI was not in charge of the screening of PDP aspirants in the state.
'They (16 governorship aspirants) should not make frivolous allegation and stop bothering about Wike who have been moving about and talking to delegates. The 16 governorship aspirants are trying to distract the state PDP. But the party cannot be distracted.
Also, the Chairman of the State PDP, Mr. Felix Obuah, explained that the screening of aspirants was not a function of the party at the state level, maintaining that those in charge of the exercise were from Abuja.
Obuah, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Jerry Needam, described as false the allegation that Wike sponsored petitions against some of the governorship aspirants.