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2023: Row in Labour Party As Rivers Guber Candidate Tackles Obi Over Trade-Off With Wike, Others

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2023: Row in Labour Party As Rivers Guber Candidate Tackles Obi Over Trade-Off With Wike, Others

2023: Row in Labour Party As Rivers Guber Candidate Tackles Obi Over Trade-Off With Wike, Others
November 19
09:32 2022

Different interest groups in the Labour Party have sparked a row in the party over an alleged deal between its presidential candidate, former Governor Peter Obi and the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

Party sources told The Nation that various stakeholders of the party, including governorship candidates in some states and other candidates for the 2023 general election, are currently displeased with Obi over the said deal.

There are allegations that the LP presidential candidate has entered into agreements with some members of Wike’s G5 governors in a deal that will see him supporting PDP’s candidates in Rivers State, Benue State and one other PDP state in the Southeast in the hope that the governors of the affected states would work for the Labour Party during the presidential poll.

In Rivers State, it is even being alleged that Obi may have agreed to prevail on candidates of his party not to contest the 2023 general elections in the state.

Obi, who was in Rivers State on Thursday as an invited guest of the governor to inaugurate the Nkpolu-Oroworokwo Flyover, had begged Wike to take the state in 2023 and in exchange concede the presidential votes to him.

Obi, while addressing Wike, said: “I’ve listened to what you said. You said I should advise Labour people that they should be careful of the state.

“I’ll talk to them and we will negotiate. So, if we leave the state for him, he will leave the centre for us. Is it not?

“If we leave the state for him he will leave the center for us. So, we will negotiate it.

“We know you are in charge and we will not quarrel with you. Anybody who quarrels with you doesn’t know what he is doing. I will not try it.

“I’m begging, please give us this one, take the others, we will leave it for you. I’ll accommodate them in the other one.”

No sooner had Obi finished his speech than anger erupted among LP members, especially those who bought forms to contest elections in the state.

They were said to be aggrieved that Obi was willing and eager to compromise their chances in the forthcoming polls in his desperation for Wike’s support.

“Some of them were particularly concerned that the LP governorship candidate in the state, Beatrice Itubo, known to have been mobilising support for Obi, was in crutches nursing injuries she sustained from a domestic accident when her presidential candidate was trading off her ambition,” a source said.

Another source, who spoke in confidence said: “Obi came to Port Harcourt when Beatrice Itubo, the governorship candidate of Labour Party in Rivers State was still on the sickbed nursing injuries she sustained in a domestic accident.

“This woman has been mobilising support for him. Obi did not see any verifiable reason to at least visit the woman in the hospital. Rather, he was comfortably at home trading the woman’s ambition off with Wike, all in his selfish ambition to be President.

“Yes, there is horse trading in politics. The honest thing would have been to see the woman, probably discuss reasons with her on the importance of working with the PDP candidate and shown empathy with the woman.”

Contacted for comments, Itubo said she only understood Obi’s statement within the context of politics, saying she would never step down for Wike’s governorship candidate.

She insisted that since Obi did not buy forms for her, he would not negotiate anything on her behalf.

She appealed to aggrieved members of the party to see the statement as political.

Itubor said Wike lacked the capacity to influence votes for Obi and expressed worries over her presidential candidate fraternising with the governor.

She said: “It is a political statement. He didn’t buy form for me and I didn’t buy form for him. Everybody bought form for themselves. So, I didn’t see how he will go to negotiate for me.

“I am campaigning in Rivers State. If I didn’t campaign, we will not be a threat. They saw us as a threat and that is why he was trying to negotiate.

“I don’t see that as anything serious. It has not dampened anybody’s morale. If there is anything, it has increased my own morale.

“I am the incoming governor of Rivers State whether the devil likes it or not. It is a divine mandate. God has given the opening and the wherewithal to work for it. Nobody can stop it.

“Even Wike knows that what he has is his vote. Promising people he will deliver Rivers to them, he is overrating himself.

“Going to tell people he would deliver Rivers. So he will come and carry my PVC and vote for me? He is only trying to deceive those who don’t know him.

“With or without Wike, Peter Obi will win Rivers State. My fear is even this fraternity with Wike.

“With or without Wike, Peter Obi will win more than 70 per cent in Rivers State following the level of work we have done for him. So, I don’t see Wike as a threat.

“As for me, I am a Government House candidate come 2023, and I will invite you to that party.”

On her domestic accident, Itubor said she earlier informed the party, and some LP leaders including Obi called her to sympathies with her.

She said: “On my domestic accident, I informed the party. Most of them called me, including him, to wish me speedy recovery, and I think that was enough. Everybody has a way they react to issues.

“I am only telling them to read between the lines. Some statements are political. They shouldn’t take it to heart as if it is anything. The Obi that I know is wiser than that.”

Sources within the Labour Party in Benue State are said to be expressing the same concern over Obi’s fraternity with Governor Samuel Ortom of the state.

Ortom, like Wike, is at loggerheads with Abubakar Atiku, the presidential candidate of the PDP, and has vowed not to have anything to do with Atiku’s presidential campaign unless the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigns his position for a southerner to take his place ahead of the 2023 general elections.

A National Assembly candidate of the Labour Party in the state, while lamenting what he described as a ‘looming betrayer of many party members and loyalists by Peter Obi’, said the LP presidential candidate has allegedly entered into a deal with Ortom to work for candidates of the PDP in the state in exchange for the governor’s support during the presidential election.

“We are hearing and daily, the rumour is evolving into truth before our very eyes,” he said.

Reliable sources within the camp of Heman Hembe, the governorship candidate of Labour Party in Benue State, told The Nation that it will be difficult for Obi to see the alleged deal through in the state as Hembe will resist all attempts to make him jettison his governorship aspiration for any arrangement with the ruling party.

According to a former member of the National Assembly who spoke with our correspondent on Saturday, chieftains of the party in the state, especially LP candidates for the 2023 general elections across the state, are worried about the alleged deal.

“It is no longer a rumour. It is something we are waiting for the national leadership of the party to address.

“First it was Benue State. Now it has spread to Rivers State and nobody has categorically said it is not true.

“What we however know is that it is too late in the day to be cutting such deals. It will not fly in Benue.

“Those who know Hembe will tell you he is not someone to be railroaded into such a shameful arrangement. He will resist it and we will support him.

“As candidates of the party who have spent money and time on the forthcoming election, we will not agree to such,” he said.

Efforts to get the comments of the national leadership of the LP proved abortive as officials contacted declined comments on the matter.

Calls made to the phone of the spokesperson of the party did not grow through at the time of filing this report.

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Mujeeb

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