By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Ahead of 2023 presidential election in February, the Governors in the Southsouth have reaffirmed their support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Addressing reporters at the Government House in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Governors Okowa (Delta State), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Senator Douye Diri (Bayelsa), assured their party that they were solidly behind Atiku and Okowa.
Okowa, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said the PDP governors were determined to deliver their party in next year’s presidential election.
The Delta State governor said the issues involving the party’s G-5 governors, led by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, were being addressed.
He assured all PDP stakeholders that the party’s presidential candidate and the other five governors in G5 will meet soon.
Sundiata Post recalls that Diri described the Southsouth as a stronghold of the PDP, adding that the party would emerge victorious at all levels in next year’s general election.
Obaseki said the Southsouth governors were in Yenagoa to show solidarity with the government and people of Bayelsa over the recent monster flood that ravaged the state.
Also, the hope of reconciliation between the G5 governors, led by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, against some chieftains of the PDP deemed yesterday.
The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) accused Wike of pursuing a personal agenda.
The council also said Wike does not practise what he preaches.
It said the PDP would still win the 2023 presidential election without the support of the Rivers governor and his colleagues in the G5.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme yesterday, the campaign spokesperson Daniel Bwala said Wike is not fighting for equity, fairness, and justice, as he claimed.
Since the presidential primaries, Wike and four other PDP governors, called the G5, have been battling the party’s leadership.
The Rivers State governor, who was second in the primary, has insisted that PDP National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu quit because he believed the primary election was unfair.
Other governors alongside Wike at the forefront of calls for Ayu to step down as national chairman of the PDP include Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
The governors had repeatedly maintained that the party’s chairman and the presidential candidate cannot be from the same region.
But Bwala said Wike was also guilty of the complaints he made about the party.
“If you look at the patterns of Governor Wike, it is becoming clearer that he is shifting the goalpost.
“At first, the presidential candidate was the problem. At other times, it was not the presidential candidate but the chairman of the party. And yet at other times, it was a set of stakeholders.
“I have not seen a single inauguration (of project) in Rivers State that Atiku has not been the subject of conversation. You are inaugurating a project and you’re discussing a crisis in the party. So, it is becoming apparent that Wike is pursuing personal ambition.
“So, if what they are agitating is what he calls integrity, I think it is clear now that Wike is pursuing his ambition and not what he claims to be equity, fairness, and justice.
“I can tell you that Wike is doing exactly the opposite of what he claims to be pursuing.
“He is an Ikwerre man. He took over from an Ikwerre man. His Chief of Staff is an Ikwerre man; the vice chancellor of their (state) university, an Ikwerre man; the Rector of their polytechnic is an Ikwerre man too.
“He is complaining about the fact that Atiku and Iyorchia Ayu are from the North. But his governorship candidate is from the same senatorial district as the chairman of the party in Rivers. And you can take that and apply it to virtually all that he says whether within or outside the government.”
Bwala also lambasted Wike for assuring provision of logistics to the presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).
“Apart from the fact that he drove Obi out of the party, it is a sign of insincerity because the people he is promising logistics to are from the same region, as the chairmen of the respective parties.”
Bwala said Wike, who participated in the process that produced Atiku, has no moral right to fight the party because he lost the ticket to the former vice president.
While admitting he sighted a fresh court case seeking to disqualify Atiku from the race, the spokesman said the content of the summons reflected what Wike had been saying all along.
“Essentially, the suit is saying the party should have zoned the presidential ticket to the South and disqualified Atiku while declaring him, Wike, as the candidate of the party.
But he said the suit, which he describes as a mere distraction, was dead on arrival.