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Atiku by-pass Wike, secretly meets other PDP leaders in Rivers

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The rift between Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike took a new dimension at the weekend.

The governor’s camp alleged that the former vice president was playing “a divide and rule” in the opposition party.

The governor’s supporters alleged that Atiku has started by-passing Wike and reaching out to other prominent Rivers PDP chieftains in a bid to isolate the governor ahead of next year’s polls.

To check the contacts being established by the presidential candidate, the governor has tightened his grip on the Rivers chapter.

Also, Wike has not extended an invitation to PDP national leaders for the commissioning of projects across the state this week, despite inviting All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders for the ceremonies.

Party sources said the visits to Wike by APC governors have unsettled the PDP national leadership.

There were indications that the bad blood created by the PDP national leadership and Atiku during the process that led to the emergence of Atiku’s running mate, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, was far from over.

Sources said Atiku’s utterances and body language that he could win the next election without Wike and Rivers are infuriating to the governor’s camp.

According to sources, there were signs that Atiku was making efforts to divide the Rivers PDP by bypassing Wike to establish contacts with other party leaders in the state.

It was alleged that the flagbearer has been secretly meeting some Rivers PDP leaders, including former Senator Lee Meeba, former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Austin Opara and former Governor Celestine Omehia.

It was further gathered that the recent dissolution of the Governing Council, Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic and the removal of Lee Meeba as its Chairman was part of the fallout of the alleged meeting with Atiku.

Last week, Wike dissolved the Governing Council with immediate effect.

Wike has accused some leaders and elders of the party of holding secret meetings with Atiku during a parley that was deadlocked.

The governor, it was gathered, also took some drastic steps to reorganise the leadership of the PDP in local government areas where their former leaders showed signs of disloyalty.

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