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2023: Wike, aggrieved PDP govs weigh Obi, Tinubu options

■ As APC presidential candidate intensifies lobby ■ Atilu: I’m committed to resolution of PDP crisis

Four out of five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may finally take a position on the presidential candidate to support ahead of the 2023 general elections. The four PDP governors are Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

The other aggrieved governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, it was learnt may not align with the position expected to be taken by his four colleagues in the weeks to come. The aggrieved governors who had earlier pulled out of the PDP presidential campaign, said during the week there is no going back on their demand.

Similarly, Atiku Abubakar, PDP presidential candidate, was quoted to have said in an interview with Voice of America (VOA), Hausa Service that the party had moved on. Saturday Sun has gathered that barring any last-minute change, the four aforementioned governors may throw their weight behind the candidacy of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A source familiar with the development said the governors, having failed to resolve their differences with the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, are weighing their options between Tinubu and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP). The source said Ortom appears to be the lone governor among the five, who may pitch his tent with Obi, while the other four will likely root for Tinubu if certain conditions already tabled before the APC candidate are met.

The source who revealed further details, said Wike, Ugwuanyi and Ikpeazu, are also demanding that certain positions in Tinubu’s cabinet be ceded to their cronies if he wins. He said though they will not resign from the PDP because of their candidates and interests, they’ll, however work for the APC from within. The politician said: “Wike has already kick-started the move, with the appointment of thousands of aide, expected to man the various polling units during the elections in Rivers State.”

He added: “Wike and Atiku can’t reconcile. Wike needs to support a candidate and that person is likely to be Tinubu. They’ve been meeting. Wike seems to be more confident with Tinubu, so, he’s pitching his tent with the APC candidate. But he has given certain conditions which are not very strident for Tinubu to meet. We expect to see some sudden alliance soon, unless something happens otherwise. Ugwuanyi, Makinde and Ikpeazu are with him. You saw when Makinde’s deputy declared in Akure, Ondo State capital that Oyo State governor will support Tinubu.”

On Ortom’s stance, the source said: “Ortom is taking a different position for now. We don’t know if that will change. But these are the current realities. Tinubu is making serious progress, while Atiku appears to be stuck and he believes only votes from the North will save him.”

But Atiku has said he remains committed to efforts to resolve issues in the opposition party. The PDP Presidential Candidate who spoke through his media aide, Paul Ibe, told Saturday Sun that there are different levels of engagement to ensure that all leaders of the PDP close ranks ahead of the 2023 polls. According to him, several leaders of the party, as well as other well meaning Nigerians, who understand the significance of the 2023 general elections, are working round the clock to broker a truce among feuding members of the party.

Ibe told Saturday Sun that former vice president has not shut the doors against the aggrieved governors, noting that when PDP candidate said the party has moved on, he was speaking in respect of the presidential campaign. He, however, noted that though the campaign train has taken off, the governors and other aggrieved members of the party are always welcome.

He explained: “He will never shut the door. The Atiku Abubakar that I know, his politics is of no bitterness. The doors will never be shut. Our expectation is that along the line, some persons will come to the realisation of what the 2023 is all about.

“They will come to the point of understanding that this is the most consequential election in our democratic journey; the most consequential; the most important. This is because it is an election that is going to set the pace for the recovery and restoration of Nigeria. That is how important it is.

“So every process to ensure that every person is on board will be pursued. All options are on the table. There are different levels of engagement that is ongoing. There are persons on both sides, men and women; well-meaning Nigerians, some of them are not even members of the PDP who understands clearly what this election is all about. This election is to serve Nigeria and save our people.”

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