In a bid to avoid interruption or distraction from other politicians, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, chose to hold his reconciliation meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in London, UK.
Naija News reports that Atiku and Wike, alongside some governors, had been at loggerheads since May 2022, when Atiku emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP. The crisis escalated after Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was unveiled as Atiku’s running mate on June 16. Moves to reconcile all parties have failed.
Atiku had on Thursday met with Wike in London alongside governors of Abia, Benue, Adamawa, and Oyo States. There were other PDP stakeholders like Donald Duke who were in attendance.
The parties involved chose London to avoid many talks and media attacks already associated with the meetings.
An ally of Atiku, familiar with the available outcome of the meeting, told Saturday Sun that Atiku was able to prevail on Wike and other aggrieved governors to suspend their push for the removal of the national chairman of the PDP Iyorchia Ayu until elections are conducted next year. He said Atiku hinged his argument on the dangers it will pose to the success of the PDP during next year’s elections.
He stated that Wike and his allies, who didn’t fully commit to the request, demanded some key positions for his camp when Atiku forms his cabinet if he wins next year’s presidential election.
The top PDP member said that Wike expressed misgivings about the attitude of Atiku’s supporters, who have been accused of fuelling the crisis.
“Wike mentioned their names and asked Atiku the roles the people have played since they left office in supporting the PDP,” the source said.
“Wike and other governors were clear on that. They told Atiku that the South was supposed to get the ticket. They told him that now that he has got the ticket, the South must get key positions in the National Assembly.
“The North can’t have the position of the President, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation. APC did that in 2015. PDP must not repeat that mistake. That was part of what Wike told Atiku,” the source added.
The PDP member said: “APC has been fuelling this crisis. They were happy when the crisis was festering. They didn’t want it to end. They must be licking their wounds now.
“Many thought Atiku wasn’t ready to make peace with Wike. That has been settled now. The crisis is not over yet, but the PDP has made serious progress.
“Unknown to many people, both Atiku and Wike’s camps settled for a neutral ground to hold this meeting. It was brokered by Adamawa State Governor, Fintiri, who is a close friend to both Wike and Atiku.
“That was how they arrived at London being the best venue. There were too many talks in Nigeria already, and they didn’t want that. When they return, more meetings will be held. One thing is now sure, and that’s the fact that no PDP governor or members will defect. PDP will go into this election as a united family.
“The next phase of the reconciliation will shock many Nigerians. Peter Obi is still a close ally of Atiku. There will be surprises in the coming weeks if on-going talks pan out well.
“I also suspect that the party may hold its National Executive Committee meeting before the campaigns will start in September. For now, we just have to wait and see.”