News of EFCC perfecting plans to arrest National Chairman of the PDP aspirant, Mr Jimi Agbaje may not be unconnected with a N2 billion war chest set aside by the Rivers State governor to get his man elected to lead his party.
Text messages intercepted by the EFCC have indicted a close associate of Wike who revealed the Rivers State governor has assured Mr Jimi Agbaje’s camp that he will single-handedly finance the full cost of getting him elected on the platform of the PDP.
Our source who pleaded anonymity told our reporter that the Rivers State governor had set aside N2 billion to cover all costs associated with appeasing party leaders, logistics for delegates, security provisions and legal fees to fight off the impeding cases instituted by erstwhile chairman Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
The EFCC is understood to be on the trail of several aides of Governor Wike to be used in the disbursement of funds to the delegates.
$12 MILLION 2015 CAMPAIGN FUNDS
The EFCC’S investigation into the $12m campaign fund used to finance Jimi Agbaje’s gubernatorial ambition hit a brick wall early this year as the EFCC failed to establish concrete evidence against the gubernatorial aspirant.
Lawyers to the EFCC advised against detaining Mr Agbaje until they could gather more evidence.
The campaign funds were disbursed in cash without a direct trace between the ONSA and the gubernatorial aspirant.
However several indicting confessional statements have sustained EFCC’S interest in the matter.
They believe the Port Harcourt convention presents a perfect opportunity to swoop on Mr Agbaje’s closest aides undertaking Wike’s bidding.
“Catching them in the act will give us the leverage to break them down and get the evidence we need” an EFCC operative told us.
PETER ODILI’S VICE-PRESIDENTIAL AMBITION?
Governor Wike desperately wants to control the PDP by proxy from Port Harcourt and will not relent in having his strategic officers elected in key positions of the party.
The intensity of his intolerance from some party leaders to allow for a free and fair convention betrays a hidden interest in the outcome of this convention.
He is a first time governor who is expected to recontest and get re-elected in 2019 for another four years until 2023.
What then could be his interest in 2019?
Apart from playing a key role in determining which region in the North the Presidency is zoned to and thus who may likely emerge, Governor Wike may also be preparing a seat for a preferred candidate for the vice-presidential slot which has been zoned to the South.
Before the intrigues leading to this convention, conventional wisdom within the PDP had projected the Vice Presidential slot to be zoned to the South East with present Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a strong contender for the slot.
However there appears to be a shift in the thinking of the Port Harcourt political establishment.
The unexpected appearance of the past governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili at the PDP Southern Leaders conference which zoned the Chairmanship of the PDP to the Southwest has raised a question or two about the sudden rekindled interest the self-exiled emperor has exhibited in the affairs of the party.
Could Odili be nursing a vice-presidential ambition in 2019?
What implications would this have on the Southeast agitation for the 2019 vice-presidential slot?
Our correspondent was made to understand that it was on the basis of getting the vice-presidential slot that the Southeast did not express interest in contesting the office of National Chairman of the PDP.
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