Some governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress on Friday met with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, ahead of the 2023 elections.
The governors include Kayode Fayemi; Rotimi Akeredolu and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Ekiti, Ondo, and Lagos States respectively.
Others in their entourage include the Ekiti State Governor-elect, Biodun Oyebanji; former Ekiti State governor and Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Ayodele Fayose, among others.
It was learnt that Wike, who lost the PDP presidential ticket to Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, is meeting with the APC chieftains and others at his country home in the Port Harcourt area of the state.
As of the time of this report, the purpose of the visit by APC governors and the subsequent meeting with their host is unknown.
Before the APC governors’ visit, there had been reports that the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, and Wike met in France. The reports were, however, debunked by the former Lagos State governor’s media aide, Tunde Rahman, who described them as “fake news”.
But it appears the APC governors may want to bank on the recent fallout of Wike with PDP leadership after the main opposition party’s presidential primary to woo the Rivers governor to their side ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
The PUNCH reports that as the crisis over Atiku’s choice of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as running mate worsened, the Chairman of the PDP’s Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, said the party had set up a nine-member committee to beg Wike.
Sequel to his victory at the PDP convention, where Atiku beat Wike and other contenders to the presidential ticket, the former vice president had nominated Okowa as his running mate, despite the recommendation of Wike by a 17-man committee set up by the party.
But the PDP’s standard-bearer allayed fears over the crisis in the party, saying he would ensure reconciliation.
The crack in the main opposition party came to the limelight after the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, accused Atiku of failing to honour the democratic choice in the selection of his running mate.
According to him, Wike, and others who backed (Wike) for the PDP vice-presidential ticket slot deserve a detailed explanation from the party’s presidential candidate.
Ortom, who said this during an interview on Arise TV on June 29, 2022, said it was surprising that Atiku could jettison the recommendation of 14 out of 17 members of the committee that recommended Wike as his running mate.
This is as he also said he had resorted to fast and prayers to seek God’s direction after the emergence of Okowa as the running mate to Atiku ahead of Wike.
“I was among the 17-man committee that was set up by the candidate himself and some of us said Wike should be the vice-president. We discussed that in our meeting and we said it did not matter if he had supported the presidential candidate or not, but all that we need is unity and how to make things work.
“Unfortunately, the candidate himself picked Okowa. Some of us have resorted to prayers. I was really confused because I felt Wike would have been the VP. He was the second person to Atiku and Wike has charisma. All of us have our weak points.”
“Wike can be something, but when it comes to mobilisation, impact, value addition and reaching out, Wike is an instrument. Wike is somebody who stood for the party. For some of us, we believed in him, but unfortunately, it was someone else. Well, the party is supreme but for some of us, for me, I have resorted to prayers,” Ortom said.
The PUNCH reports that Atiku had after announcing Okowa as his running mate clarified that he picked the Delta governor because he had the qualities to be a President, adding that he “is a President-in-waiting.”
He said, “In arriving at the decision, I held wide consultations with various stakeholders in our party including our governors, the national working committee, board of trustees, and other leaders to seek their inputs and their wisdom.”
“In these consultations, I made clear that my running mate would have the potential to succeed me at a moment’s notice, that is, a president-in-waiting.
“In other words, the person must have the qualities to be President. The person must have an appreciation of the deep rot which our country has been put into by the rudderless APC (All Progressives Congress) government; understands the great suffering that most of our people are going through and the urgency of relieving them of that suffering; understands the critical importance of economic growth and development to provide our young people with jobs, hope, and a pathway to wealth.”