The camp of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has intensified plots to neutralize the stronghold of Governor Nyesom Wike-led G-5 governors in their respective states.
Naija News reports that several attempts to resolve the crisis in the main opposition party have failed as the G-5 governors and the Integrity group have continued to insist on the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, for a condition to back Atiku’s presidential bid.
Members of the Integrity Group include: Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti; Chief Olabode George; former Governor Donald Duke of Cross Rivers; Chief Dan Orbih; PDP Deputy National Chairman, Taofeek Arapaja; and many others.
Loyalists of the PDP presidential candidate now feel the opposition must secure the support of more PDP chieftains and members in the concerned states to boost their chances of winning next year’s election.
According to sources, Atiku camp has started recruiting party chieftains across the southern states where there are fears that the Atiku/Ayu combination as a presidential candidate and party chairman is not in the best interest of the south.
Atiku’s allies are said to be determined to take control of Benue State from Governor Ortom, vowing not to allow anyone to rubbish Ayu in his home state.
Ayu, who is from Benue State, is being backed by other chieftains in the state including, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Senator Abba Moro, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, Mrs. Margaret Ichen, and Hon. Chille Igbawua.
A source told The Nation that, “Benue is a PDP state with numerous PDP leaders scattered all over the state. Ortom is just one of them,” the source said.
“With the National Chairman and our Senators ready to support Atiku, the party is strongly behind him and he will do well in Benue state next year.”
But Ortom supporters have accused Atiku and his allies of seeking the support of “politicians who cannot win elections” to work against the Benue governor.
“We are not unaware of the move by these people to infiltrate Benue PDP. But I can tell you that our leaders are resolute in their support for Governor Ortom,” the source said.
“Yes, a few politicians who cannot win elections on their own without Ortom’s support are being recruited. But unless the right thing is done, Ortom will triumph over them all.”
Lagos, Oyo, And Ekiti
Similarly, Atiku’s camp has begun plots to shore up their support for the PDP presidential candidate in the southwest, especially Lagos, Oyo, and Ekiti states.
The camp is working with Lagos chieftains like Olajide Adediran, the governorship candidate in Lagos State, Engr. Adedeji Doherty, Adetokunbo Pearse, the state PDP chairman, Mr. Philips Aivoji, former Minister, Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu, BOT member, Mrs. Aduke Maina, former chairman of the party, Capt. Tunji Shelle, Mr. Wahab Owokoniran, Mr. Segun Adewale (Aeroland), and the State Working Committee of the party, among many other leading party chieftains.
According to sources, supporters of a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Bode George, and his allies across the state may have decided to work for the victory of Labour Party candidates in the state next year.
”Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, and many of the party’s candidates were members of the Bode George group before defecting. So, you should understand why Atiku and Jandor don’t stand any chance in Lagos again,” a source said.
In Ekiti State, it will be a fight to the finish between the two main factions in the PDP. While former governor Ayodele Fayose remains committed to the G-5 governors, the faction led by Senator Abiodun Olujimi is working for Atiku.
While in Oyo State, Atiku’s men are digging deep in their bid to outsmart Governor Makinde, who enjoys the backing of the state executive committee of the party as well as other leading PDP chieftains, led by Taofeek Arapaja.
Rivers State And Edo State
In Rivers, Atiku has recruited some prominent chieftains of the party who are now working for his aspiration across the state. Former National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, former Governor, Celestine Omehia and House of Representatives member and Rivers State 2023 governorship aspirant, Farah Dagogo, are said to be leading the new push for Atiku in the state.
However, Wike and his supporters in the state chapter of the PDP are unrelenting in their resolve to hold firm to the control of the party.
While in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki is working hard to deliver the state for Atiku in 2023 but Dan Orbih is a strong member of the Integrity Group.
Orbih has the support of a number of the state executive committee members as well as many chieftains of the party including the Edo State PDP Vice Chairman, Barr Henry Omagbon, House of Representatives member from Oredo, Engr Ogbeide-Ihama, Hon. Pascal Ugbome, Barr. Lucy Omagbon, Engr. Mike Onolemenmen, Larry Okunbor and Ogieva Okunbor.
Enugu And Abia State
According to The Nation, while the Atiku camp has taken control of the zonal leadership of the party and is using its structures to penetrate the two states, the governors of Enugu and Abia are in firm control of their respective state leaderships of the party.
A source said: “Atiku’s performance in the Southeast will determine how well the zonal structure can help him in Enugu and Abia states.
“His men are working hard to break the hold of the two PDP governors on their various states as well as on the zone as a whole.
“If Atiku’s men succeed, he will know by the number of votes he gets from here compared to what he used to get.
“But I can tell you that Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi, who are candidates in the elections, are not politicians you can walk over easily, especially in their own states.”