Andy Esiet, Calabar
A former lawmaker for Calabar Municipality/Odukpani Federal constituency of Cross River state, Mrs. Nkoyo Toyo has declared that it is dangerous for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to go into the 2023 elections divided.
In an exclusive interview, the former PDP governorship aspirant said, “We must remember that everyone who comes into an election, comes to win and when push comes to shove, people will deal with the reality of what is before them. Wike is not on a ballot paper, we are not going to vote him in an election.
“The fact that Cross River State was, overtime, historically, a PDP state, was because we were also a ruling party in the state. As we speak, the PDP is not the ruling party. The resources we had used to run elections in Cross River State in the past, have often been linked directly or indirectly to those in power”
She warned, “today, access to power and all the instruments to power are in the hands of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that APC is competing against the PDP, for me, it will be, to put it mildly, fool hardy to think that we in PDP as a whole to think that we can face this election, first as opposition, second without the resources of Cross River State, as well as the support of the state organs and institutions that hitherto, we used to have, and then decide that it is ok for us to split ourselves in the middle.
“I think there is sense in which some candidates owe their success to Wike, I can name them, Jaribe in the North, Sandy Onor as governorship candidate, and by extension, few other persons here in the South got their tickets courtesy of that arrangement. So you do not expect them to get up and do whatever they like, they do not even have the government of Cross River State as Wike has been the source of funding for them.
“In the absence of other funding sources that are dedicated to their elections, they have to be careful about which direction they take their anger and concerns to. Like we say in politics, one day is a very long time as so many things can change in one day. If you go beyond these persons that have had direct contact with Wike on the basis of their candidacy, you would hardly find anybody that is split between Wike and Atiku.
“So this so called crisis we are dealing with is an artificial construct because we in the PDP, are not in doubt as to how we would win this election. We know for certain that if, for example, Atiku wins the first election, the bandwagon effect of his victory would be such that in two weeks, a lot of States would begin to support on their own.
“So the overflow and impact of one’s victory on the other is linked, and for anyone to come in the middle or less that quarter to the election, saying that is such a big friction between us to the extent that we cannot come together, would be stretching the argument too far. I may be wrong about this but to my own understanding so far, Wike has been the source of support for certain persons in this election and it is only natural for them to stay loyal” .
She however stressed, “name one leader who does not know for Sandy to win, Atiku has to win and he will go around saying people should not vote Atiku, when he knows he is a pro-Sandy and Sandy is a Wike. Such a person cannot do so and hope that when Atiku loses,Sandy would win? Our leaders cannot do it. They have not come out to say anything openly but quietly, they are hoping and believing that this crisis would be resolved in a way that they would not have to say something against Wike.
“If you watch their election campaign pattern, it has been to be quiet on the candidacy of Atiku and not to propagate the candidacy of any other person. And the hope is that at some material time, some wisdom or revelation will come on everybody and make us realise that it is more important that we unite and win this election” .
Reacting to allegations that the Wike group may give their support for the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinibu, she said, they cannot do that, it is totally impossible and a figment of the person’s imagine because how would they do it? One of the strongest allies that can help Sandy to win, is Jaribe. The moment you support Tinubu, you are supporting Ayade against Jaribe and reducing his chances which Jarigbe’s victory is not a walk over.
“He is running against a sitting governor with all the state resources and Jaribe is our strongest candidate in all the elections. We cannot even imagine mentioning Tinubu in this election, it was Peter Obi I heard some people talk about and not Tinubu. If we go in that direction, it would be extremely disastrous for us.
“What I am saying is, at the end of the day, self interest of people would come to play. The APC story is not conceivable. The demography shows that the young people are the ones dominating the voting group and the young people are going with the young people, so we already have a very serious issue because we the older party, have tended to support the older generation of people and one of the accusations against the PDP in Cross River State is that the PDP has not been open to the younger people.
“So the younger people are saying they have seen APC and the opportunity Ayade gave to them as a break away and an ability to exercise their own independence from what PDP used to offer them. So there is something there that they are also pushing for and to be able to go anywhere with the limited support you have on account of the resources and all the things that are working against us this time, only to go and support Tinubu, would be inconceivable as a Tinubu project is not on the table” .