A new conflict is brewing between prominent members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike, as they vie for the minority leadership position in the upcoming 10th House of Representatives. The rivalry between the two politicians has been ongoing, with Atiku and Wike mobilizing support from fellow party members in a bid to gain an advantage. This article explores their history of discord, the current contenders for the minority leadership, and the divisions within the PDP caucus.
During the February presidential election, Governor Nyesom Wike and four other governors formed the G5-Governors group to oppose Atiku’s bid for the presidency. Their disagreements stemmed from the emergence of Atiku as the PDP’s presidential candidate and the appointment of Dr. Iyiocha Ayu as the party’s national chairman. Wike and his coalition believed that Ayu, as well as Atiku, hailing from the North East, should step aside to allow a southerner to assume the chairmanship for the sake of equity and national cohesion. Their objections were dismissed, leading to a split between them and Atiku.
The tension between Atiku and Wike has resurfaced regarding the minority leadership position in the House of Representatives. Two PDP members, Hon. Oluwole Oke from Osun State and Hon. Kingsley Chinda from Rivers State, are contenders for the role. Atiku is supporting Oke, who currently chairs the House Committee on Public Accounts in the 9th Assembly, while Wike is endorsing Chinda. This clash of interests has divided the PDP caucus into two groups, known as the “Greater Minority” and “Minority Apex,” with each faction aligned with one of the contenders.
In the previous 9th Assembly, Wike supported Chinda for the minority leadership position, but their efforts were thwarted by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, who backed Hon. Ndudi Elumelu from Delta State, resulting in Elumelu’s victory. Meanwhile, a separate rift between House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Hon. Abiodun Faleke, chairman of the House Committee on Finance, has been resolved. The intervention of the President-elect helped reconcile the two, with Faleke being persuaded to support Gbajabiamila’s choice for House speakership.
As part of the reconciliation, Faleke relinquished his support for Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji and aligned with the preferred candidate backed by the President-elect and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In return, Faleke is slated to become the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee in the upcoming 10th House of Representatives. The rift between Gbajabiamila and Faleke, both close associates of Tinubu, was seen as detrimental to the party’s image, prompting the President-elect to intervene and restore harmony.
The battle for the minority leadership position in the 10th House of Representatives has reignited the rivalry between Atiku and Wike within the PDP. The support for different contenders, Oluwole Oke and Kingsley Chinda, has caused divisions within the PDP caucus. Simultaneously, the conflicts between Gbajabiamila and Faleke have been resolved through the intervention of the President-elect. These developments demonstrate the intricacies and power dynamics at play within the political landscape as various stakeholders strive to secure influential positions in the upcoming assembly.