Governor Nyesom Wike and his allies, described as the G-5, on Monday jetted out of the country to the United Kingdom in order to ratify their endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, for the 2023 general elections, Hotmedia.ng has learnt.
According to sources close to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) aggrieved governors who spoke with Daily Independent on Tuesday, while in the United Kingdom, the five governors will strategise on what to do and how to ensure that their chosen presidential candidate wins the 2023 presidential election.
Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) have refused to support their party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, citing injustice in the party.
They have been in the forefront for the removal of the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, as a condition to support the presidential candidate of the PDP, angling for a Southerner to take over from Ayu for regional balance.
Governor Wike, by extension the G-5, while inaugurating the Rumuokwurusi- Elimgbu Flyover (10th flyover) in Rumuokwurusi town, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, promised to unveil to Nigerians his preferred candidate for the presidency of the country in January.
Speaking with Daily Independent, on Tuesday, one of the sources privy to the meetings of the G-5, said that the UK meeting is to ratify their decision on the support of Peter Obi.
“The five governors traveled to the United Kingdom on Monday to strategise and take their final decision on who to support ahead of the 2023 presidential election. The person they are supporting is Peter Obi,” the source said.
It would be recalled that while Wike had been telling his people in Rivers State that he would announce the presidential candidate they will support for the 2023 election, the direction of the G-5 was clearer on Christmas day when the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, visited the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Benue State.
The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who received Obi, told Nigerians that the best person to rescue the nation is the LP presidential candidate, adding that he is the best person who can solve Nigeria’s socioeconomic problems.
Ortom praised Peter Obi for visiting the camps of IDPs to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with them, adding, “Several presidential candidates have come here, and none of them have chosen to visit those IDP camps and look at their plight to see how they are doing and give them hope that when they win, they will bring them succour, help, and hope.
“For you to have chosen to visit the IDPs on a Christmas day that you should be celebrating with your family, for me as a Christian, I say God will bless you and your aspiration. My prayer is that God will bless your aspiration to be the president of this country.
“Because I have seen capacity, faith, and hope, and I have seen someone who can bring the required equity, justice, and fairness that I have been pursuing since I became governor in 2015. If I were not in PDP, I would have been following you all over the place to canvass and vote for you.
“But because I’m in PDP, I’m telling Nigerians that this man can help deliver this country from its challenges.”
Recall that Wike had fallen out with the PDP leadership and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, shortly after the party’s presidential primary, where Atiku emerged as the candidate of the PDP.
This development generated bad blood in the party as Wike had thought he was the candidate to beat. The stepping down of Aminu Tambuwal, the Sokoto State governor, for Atiku, changed the narrative in the presidential primary that was held in Abuja.
While those that were in the camp of Wike and others who lost at the primary election were trying to come to terms with what happened, the action of the party’s national chairman, Ayu, fueled the crisis in the party at that time, when, instead of reaching out to those who lost at the primary, he decided to pitch his tent with the winner, and even described Tambuwal as the hero of democracy.
The anger in Wike’s camp was, however, intensified when Atiku decided to take Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State as his running mate, against the alleged decision of the committee set up to look for a running mate among those interested in the office, who voted in favour of Wike.
Efforts to pacify Wike, who at this time was enjoying the support of some governors and stakeholders in the party, proved abortive, as his demands were not meant by the party and the presidential candidate.
Even though Atiku had said he had met with Wike about five times to resolve issues in the party, Wike’s utterances in the past few months especially from live telecasts, where he was commissioning projects in Rivers State, showed he had already made up his mind on what to do.
The decision to shut the presidential campaign office of Atiku in Rivers State through executive order was interpreted by some concerned PDP members to mean that Wike had made up his mind not to support PDP in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.