Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has reportedly deviced a means to block off former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki and some others from emerging the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to multiple sources from within the PDP, Wike is in support of zoning the party’s ticket to the south and picking a much younger candidate which is what informed his move against the northern aspirants.
To achieve this aim, the Rivers State Governor is said to have reached out to his colleagues in other states and has five of them – Benue, Enugu, Oyo, Abia, and Adamawa behind him.
Apart from that, Wike is believed to be a major financier of the PDP and also very influential in the emergence of Iyorchia Ayu as the new national chairman of the party.
“In his camp now, he has five governors. Nobody can challenge him now because he has been funding the party. Who has total control of the NWC of our party? It’s Wike,” the source quoted by Daily Trust said.
A former senator was also quoted to have said the governors don’t want Atiku to emerge party candidate and are doing their best to ensure he doesn’t.
“I want to be frank with you, nobody is talking about Atiku now because the governors said they don’t want him because he is above 70. They want someone who can relate well with them and has the energy to withstand the challenges bedeviling the country,” the source said.
However, when contacted for a reaction, Saraki’s media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, declined to comment on the matter.
The Atiku camp in a reaction through his media aide, Paul Ibe said they are not aware of any move against their principal as the former Vice President enjoys the support of stakeholders within the party including Governor Wike himself.
Ibe added that the collective resolve of the PDP is to save Nigerians from the gloom and troubles imposed on them by the All Progressives Congress (APC) through the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are not aware of any such move. Atiku Abubakar enjoys the support of a good number of stakeholders in the PDP including Governor Wike. The focus of every stakeholder in the opposition party at this point is to rescue Nigeria and Nigerians from the claws of bad governance that the APC has thrown the country into.
“And like all patriots and stakeholders in the Nigeria Project, the priority of H.E Atiku Abubakar and indeed the PDP is to recruit eggheads who will come up with brilliant policy plans that can turn the current state of mass poverty, insecurity, divisions, and hopelessness into prosperity and unity for Nigerians,” he said.
Meanwhile, Naija News reports some of the northern aspirants on the platform of the PDP apart from Atiku and Saraki who are believed to be eying the party ticket in order to contest the 2023 presidency include Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and others.