BARING any unforeseen developments, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, may be named as the running mate to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the former vice president has offered the position to the Rivers State governor who was the first runner-up in the primary that produced the party’s new standard bearer.
It was gathered that Atiku, who was also the candidate of the PDP in the 2019 exercise, would have since announced the Rivers governor as his running mate but for the opposition to the idea by some other state governors.
As at Wednesday, efforts were in top gear to smoothen the way for the Rivers State governor to be named.
The efforts were spearheaded by Governors Sam Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) who were said to be mounting pressure on their colleagues to accept Wike as the running mate.
The three governors in a car driven personally by Makinde, on Wednesday, went to Atiku’s residence in Abuja where they were thought to have briefed him on the progress in the move to get the buy-in of other governors on the running mate issue.
Wike was also present in a meeting that was later confirmed by the presidential candidate in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle @ atiku, saying:
“Governors Nyesom Wike, @seyiamakinde, Samuel Ortom and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi came calling on a courtesy visit before my meeting with the @OfficialPDPNig Governors Forum.
“Slowly but surely, the seeds of unity are being planted in our party. – AA”
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was also believed to be interested in the position, with many of the governors now saying that Wike is best suited for the job because of “the goodwill he can bring to it.”
A source close to the Governors confided in the Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday that the meeting of the three governors with Atiku was a sign that progress had been made on the choice of Wike.
The presidential candidate along with the national chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, also on Wednesday met with the governors at the Legacy House, Maitama, where the presidential candidate bared his soul on the idea of his running mate.
At the end of the hour-long meeting with the governors, Atiku left them to continue their deliberations on the issues he canvassed.
Briefing correspondents later, chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, confirmed that the issue of the running mate to the presidential candidate was part of the discussions.
He said Atiku and Ayu left the governors to continue with the process of consultations on the way forward going into the 2023 election campaign.
Tambuwal said, “You must have seen the national chairman and our presidential candidate attending our meeting, which is the first after our national convention.
“On this note, therefore, on behalf of my colleagues, the governors, let me commend our leaders and members of our party for a very successful national convention and to say that the national chairman along with the candidate came to thank the governors for their various roles in the convention.
“And we have discussed about cooperation, collaboration and prosecuting a very successful electioneering campaign that will result into victories for the PDP at various elections from the state houses of assembly, National Assembly, governorship and the presidential election come February 2023.
“So, it’s more of a consultative meeting on the matters concerning the way forward.”
Asked to comment on the move to name a running mate, Tambuwal added: “It’s part of the consultation. It’s ongoing and governors are being consulted on that.”