Six PDP governors oppose presidential candidate Atiku and may sabotage party’s chances in 2023
The crisis shaking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems far from over before the constitution of the campaign organization of its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The festering crisis that took on a new dimension last month after Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was announced as Atiku’s running mate began weeks after Iyorchia Ayu was elected to the national presidency of the PDP.
According to The Sun, sources said the Gulf expansion has now pitted six PDP governors, mostly from the south, against Atiku’s presidential bid.
The source listed some of the governors as Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Samuel Ortom from Benue State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi from Enugu State; Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ishaku Darius of Taraba and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, as governors unwilling to support Atiku’s candidacy.
Confirming the animosity in the party base, Ortom had during the week said that he might not work to actualize Atiku’s presidential bid.
The Governor had said: ‘All that was needed even before the pronouncement, after making our recommendation, Wike would have been contacted, is a human being.
“He is a man who built the party today in the PDP. He fought all night and all day to keep this party united. So he would have been contacted, to say that’s the decision we’re making and that’s why we’re making this decision, and I think he would have understood.
According to the PDP source, the unrest started when Ayu was elected National Chairman of the PDP.
The source said party leaders had agreed to delineate the PDP presidency in the North, while the South, like the All Progressives Congress (APC), would produce the presidential candidate.
He said that as soon as Ayu took office, he abandoned the arrangement he inherited and started working for the emergence of Atiku, who is considered his close political ally, to become the nominee.
The source, who did not want to be named, said that despite attempts by governors and other party leaders to persuade Ayu to stick to the deal he inherited, the former Senate speaker remained adamant.
“When it was apparent that Ayu was not ready to listen and zone the presidential ticket to the South, the governors and other leaders decided to leave the contest open. But they agreed to support a candidate from the South, but people like Okowa, Godwin Obaseki from Edo State and others especially from South-South started working to make sure that a northern candidate emerges,” he said. .
Revealing further, the source said that when Wike lost the primary election to Atiku, the party leaders agreed that it would be best to choose him as Atiku’s running mate.
He revealed that the aforementioned governors met with Atiku and other leaders to choose Wike as the popular choice, but were ignored by Ayu and Atiku, who would be micro-managed by powerful northern leaders.
Unable to get what they wanted, he said the six governors decided not to play any active role during Atiku’s presidential campaign. He said that although they cannot move to the APC, they are likely to sabotage the PDP’s chances from within.
“Governors cannot and will not default. They understand it clearly. If they defect now, their candidates cannot win the election. Some of them are running for a second term. But they will sabotage Atiku the same way PDP governors sabotaged President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
“If you recall, many PDP governors, especially from the North, worked for the emergence of Buhari. They didn’t leave the PDP, but sabotaged it from within. This is what can be played out in the case of Atiku.