Leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are optimistic that the Nyesom Wike-led G-5 governors in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will throw their weight behind the presidential bid of its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the 2023 general elections.
The G-5, otherwise known as the ‘Integrity Governors’ include Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) are demanding the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu as a condition for their support for Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.
They also want Atiku to sign an undertaking that if he wins the 2023 presidential election, he will only rule for one term and allow power to move back to the Southern part of the country in 2027.
The aggrieved governors and their supporters had pulled out of the campaign council of Atiku and declared that they would not work for his aspiration unless their demands were met by the candidate and the leadership of the party.
While many of Atiku’s associates such as Chief Raymond Dokpesi had publicly said he will only serve for one term, Wike and his allies believe it is a mere political statement as the agreement may not be honored.
In recent times, Wike has been full of praise for President Muhammadu Buhari whom he commended for approving all the monies accruable to the Niger Delta states since 1999.
He has also been romancing prominent APC leaders, inviting them to Rivers state for project commissioning.
Last week, the governor said he will reveal the presidential candidate to mobilize votes for in the 2023 general election in January 2023, adding that he would undertake a nationwide campaign tour to tell Nigerians the most preferred presidential candidate requiring their votes.
On the other hand, supporters of Atiku in Rivers and Benue were recently attacked for pasting posters and wearing t-shirts of the PDP presidential candidate.
Speaking on Sunday, a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC who asked not to be named said many leaders of the party are confident that Wike and his allies will pitch their tent with Tinubu.
” We in the APC are very confident the G-5 governors will back Asiwaju. There are three major presidential candidates in the election. They have completely ruled out the Atiku of the PDP. Atiku’s campaign team even boasted that they can win the election without the support of the integrity governors. Don’t forget, Atiku also ignored Seyi Makinde and announced Ademola Adeleke as the Chairman of the South-West Coordinating Committee of the campaign council”.
” With Atiku out of the picture, the two remaining candidates are Asiwaju and the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi. From the look of things, a highly sophisticated politician like Wike can never support Obi who has no structures but only relies on social media and fake online polls to claim victory”.
” Politics as they say is a game of numbers. With the flop witnessed in Kogi, Osun, and Port Harcourt rally of Labour Party and other parts of the country, do you think any serious politician will support him”? he asked.
Another APC chieftain who is a member of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA’23) said the body language of the governors shows they are in support of Tinubu’s aspiration.
” From the body language of the governors, it is clear they are supporting Asiwaju. If you remember, the Oyo State Governor Makinde said they are in support of the Pa Reuben Fasoranti-led Afenifere which endorsed Tinubu’s presidential bid”.
Also speaking, Hon. Festus Asiriuwa, a chieftain of the PDP said since Atiku has ignored their demands, the aggrieved governors may have decided to pitch their tent with Tinubu for the presidential election while supporting PDP candidates in the governorship, senatorial, and the house of assembly elections.
“ Except Atiku and the PDP leadership accede to the demands of the PDP G-5, then they have no choice but to pitch their tent with the APC for the presidential election. They will however canvass for PDP candidates in the other elections such as governorship, national and state assembly elections”.
“The issue at stake is more than the presidential election. It is about the political future of the aggrieved governors. Every politician is concerned about their future career in politics”.
“For someone like Wike, he is not going to the Senate after leaving office in 2023, so needs someone who will protect his interests. If Atiku wins, what guarantee is there that he won’t use presidential power to deal with him?”.
” Makinde is seeking reelection and will not want the APC to use federal might while the likes of Ikpeazu, Ortom, and Ugwuanyi are also hoping to install their candidates as successors”.