The battle for the 2023 Presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has split the main opposition platform into three camps.
The division underscores the protracted disagreement over zoning, ahead of the primary.
In the first camp are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who submitted his presidential nomination form yesterday, and his supporters, including Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri and his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki.
The second camp comprises aspirants pushing for a consensus presidential candidate.
The contenders are former Senate President Bukola Saraki, Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal.
The third camp is made up of Northerners and Southerners canvassing for power shift and zoning of the ticket to the South.
Led by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, the group comprises pro-zoning governors from the South and their Northern allies.
Other members of the third group include Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and his predecessor, Senator Gabriel Suswam.
However, the camps that other aspirants, including former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, Publisher Dele Momodu, and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa belong to are not known yet.
Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel has been lukewarm, despite collecting presidential nomination form.
While the pro-consensus group visited Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) in Asaba and Obaseki in Benin yesterday to sell the consensus option to him, the pro-zoning camp paid a consultative visit to former military President Ibrahim Babangida and former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar at Babangida’s Hilltop Residence, Minna, capital of Niger State.
Wike was accompanied to the meeting by Ikpeazu, Ugwuanyi, Makinde and Suswam.
The group first held a closed-door meeting with Abdulsalami, who followed them to Babangida’s house where the meeting continued for about 20 minutes.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Ikpeazu said they were in Minna to consult with the two elder statesmen and discuss pressing national issues.
“I have come with my colleagues, the governors of Enugu, Oyo, River and some members of the National Assembly to consult with the former Head of State and President and discuss national issues and the problems affecting our country.
“We commended him for his support for the unity of this country and the discussions went very well and we will take it from there,” he said.
When asked about the response of Babangida to their visit, Ikpeazu said the former military President expressed his preference for the younger generation to take up the baton of leadership and rescue Nigeria.
On Wike’s presidential ambition, the governor said it would be discussed later.
Saraki, Tambuwal and Mohammed met with Obaseki and Okowa separately in their states.
The aspirants are exploring the possibility of having one of the 13 aspirants as a consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential ticket.
The consultation is coming amid agitation by PDP stakeholders in the South to have the ticket conceded to the region.
The four PDP governors have aligned with the demand of the Southern Governors Forum for power to shift to the South in 2023.
Details of discussions between the three aspirants and the four governors were not disclosed.
The team had held a similar meeting with the Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku in Abuja last week.
Obaseki said Nigeria needed a president with the capacity to rebuild and unite the nation.