A one-day retreat for elected officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is taking place in Bauchi State, and the immediate past Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is notably absent.
The event, located at the Banquet Hall, Government House, boasts attendance from numerous high-profile political figures.
Among the attendees are Governors Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa, Duoye Diri of Bayelsa, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta, Ademola Adeleke of Osun, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers, Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau, Agbu Kefas of Taraba, Dauda Dare of Zamafara, and Philip Shuaibu, representing Edo State’s Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Wike, who previously led a group of five governors, including Makinde of Oyo; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu; Samuel Ortom of Benue, and Ikpeazu of Abia, known as the G-5 Governors, was noticeably absent from the retreat and did not send a representative in his place.
No official explanation has been offered for his non-attendance.
Speculation has been rife that Wike has left the PDP, under whose banner he served as Rivers State Governor for eight years, to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Critics cite his increasing connections with APC leadership and the PDP’s poor performance in the Presidential election in Rivers State as potential evidence.
However, Wike has consistently denied leaving the PDP for the APC.
Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Umar Damagum explained that the inclusion of minority opposition party members in the retreat is part of an effort to “form a formidable and united force” concerning the National Assembly leadership.