Following a statement by the presidential candidate of the PDP Atiku Abubakar that he had moved on, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his camp are said to be weighing other options ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Others in his camp are Governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
THISDAY gathered that the PDP and its presidential candidate have concluded that the five governors would not be backing the party’s candidate in the presidential election.
It was learnt that Atiku is still pushing forward to have his way in the five states despite the opposition by the governors.
Wike had on Friday doubled the number of his special assistants to monitor the political units to 200,000, to maintain a substantial presence of ground troops in the war ahead.
The special assistants according to Wike, are to guide him and the state on how they would vote in the presidential election.
THISDAY learnt that there are suspicions that Wike appeared to have made a deal with Tinubu, but there are indications that it would be difficult for him to pull off the deal in Rivers given the popularity of Atiku and Obi in the state.
Also given that the Rivers governor has lost most of his foot soldiers in the persons of Lt. General Kenneth Minimah (rtd), Austin Opara, Lee Maeba, Celestine Omehia, the Sekibos and several others to Atiku, it will be difficult for him to defeat Atiku in the state.
Makinde also appears to have already made up his mind to back Tinubu given his presence by proxy at the residence of Pa Fasoranti when Afenifere endorsed Tinubu.
THISDAY also gathered that the other governors in the group may reluctantly back Obi.
Ortom said recently that Obi is the best presidential candidate of the lot but diplomatically pulled back a full endorsement, saying that he belongs to the PDP.
Tambuwal, Lamido, Ayu in Closed-door Meeting with Bauchi Gov
Meanwhile, despite Atiku’s position that he had moved on, efforts to resolve the internal crisis rocking the PDP continued on Saturday with its National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu; Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, and a former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, meeting behind closed door with Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.
The delegation met with Governor Mohammed Saturday evening.
Speaking, Ayu described Mohammed as one of the major national stakeholders, who have contributed immensely to the development of the party.
He said the meeting was also to rally support for Atiku.
According to him: “We are here to brief you on some of the developments that are going on in the party, nationally and to seek your wise counsel because you’re not just the Governor of Bauchi, you are a leader in this country –very experienced. In all the places you have served, you gathered the experience. And we thought people like you in this campaign from time to time we need to come around and consult, brief you on some things.”
After the closed-door meeting, which lasted for about one hour and 30 minutes, Ayu declined to brief journalists on its outcome.
But Mohammed, who spoke briefly, said that delegation was in Bauchi to discuss issues of the party, the campaign and elections.
“They came to Bauchi to discuss some grey areas concerning my position as Deputy Director General of the Campaign Council in charge of the North,” he said.