2023: PDP Presidential Ticket; Wike Dumps Tambuwal, Courts Makarfi As Running Mate 

Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, may have dumped his long-time political associate, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto State Governor, for former Kaduna State Governor, Mr Ahmed Makarfi.

The governor, who was in Kaduna on Monday in the country home of Makarfi, made a full show of their parley in his drive for new political alliance within the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

The gathered that Wike’s latest move is aimed at getting new political alliance to entrench himself among the political movers in the North that are members of the PDP.

Wike’s political association with his long-time political friend, Tambuwal, has been fractious lately following increasing demand from southern Nigerians for major political parties to zone their presidential tickets to the South.

Governor Nyesom Wike

The former Minister of State for Education has been vocal in his support for power shift to the south with key southern groups backing the move.

This has pitched him against Tambuwal, who’s said to be insistent on running for the PDP presidential ticket.

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Initial thinking that Wike will support the zoning of the PDP’s presidential ticket to the North quickly banished following loud demand for power shift to the South.

Other PDP members whose interest for the PDP ticket have begun to wane are former Vice President, Mr Atiku Abubakar, and former Senate Presidents, Mr Bukola Saraki and Anyim Pius Anyim. Also, Mr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is hopeful.

Wike’s rising profile has placed him ahead of others such that one of his new political associates, Mr Samuel Ortom, did not receive Atiku cordially over the weekend.

Atiku had visited Ortom seeking his support to enable him get the PDP presidential ticket during the coming primary.

But the former Vice President left Benue angry with Ortom accusing him of not speaking “When our state came under siege and we did not see you, we were not happy.”

Beyond the alliance however, Makarfi, who contested the 2019 presidential ticket on the platform of the PDP may be the likely missing piece of the jigsaw for Wike to actualise his presidential ambition, a member of the PDP’s National Working Committee has said.

A source close to the former senator said, “It’s not impossible for him (Makarfi) to be Wike’s running mate. In this game, anything can happen but I have not heard anything, so I can’t say more.

“All I know is that Senator (Makarfi) is interested in Aso Villa whether as president or vice.”

Senator Ahmed Makarfi

However, speaking to the mammoth crowd in Kaduna, alongside Makarfi, Wike said the PDP has to take over the affairs of the country because the country is bleeding.

The governor pointed out that Makarfi is respected and honoured by “PDP members because of his leadership qualities and the gallantry he displayed to save the party,” when Ali Modu Sheriff was allegedly being used to break the PDP.

Attempts to speak with Makarfi were unsuccessful as he did not pick his calls and failed to respond to text message sent to his phone.

Wike, who’s serving out his second term, is reckoned to be the major financier of the PDP and holds the levers of power to dictate the affairs of the party.

When contacted, an aide to the governor said that, “I don’t know if the Governor discussed his political ambition with him (Makarfi) because such discussions are held under closed doors.

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“Has the Governor said he will contest? I know he’s ambitious and qualified to contest but he hasn’t said he will.

“And Makarfi, has he said he’s interested? It’s possible the discussion featured but I can’t say.

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