The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 election Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday shunned a parley by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and other PDP presidential aspirants in Port Harcourt.
The closed doors meeting was hosted by Wike, who is nusrsing a presidential ambition. However, Atiku was absent.
Recall that Wike and Atiku had a frosty relationship after he emerged the PDP candidate, beating Aminu Tambuwal, who the Rivers governor had solidly backed.
A media aide to the Rivers state governor said those at the closed-door meeting included the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Others present were the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the former Managing Director of FSB International Bank, Dr Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
The host, Governor Wike, while speaking to journalists after the meeting, said their interest was to ensure the consolidation of unity in the party.
Wike also expressed their interest in making Nigerians happy by developing a formidable strategy that would enable the PDP coast to victory in the 2023 presidential election.
He said, “Our interest is the unity of the party. Our interest is to make Nigerians happy by making sure that by 2023, PDP takes over the reins of government because Nigerians are patiently waiting.
“And I can assure you that we are going to work as a team to make Nigerians happy,” Wike stated.
On his part, the leader of the delegation, Senator Bukola Saraki said their discussion centred on identifying the best available ways to ensure that all concerned party members embrace unity, as there is strength in unity as proverbially said.
Saraki stated, “We are here to have a discussion and we just finished talking about the best way for us to reunite our party, bring unity among all those who are aspiring to lead this country under PDP.
“We all realise the importance of this and PDP is the only option ready to redirect this country in the right direction and bring progress and provide a better future for our people.
“We have been to some of the other states and today we are here with the Governor of Rivers State – a key stakeholder of this party to discuss frankly. He has given us his views and made some suggestions and we will continue to work with that as we move away from here.
”But the key thing is unity; the key thing is to put the country first and put the party first,” Saraki affirmed.
Meanwhile, the zoning committee of the PDP has recommended jettisoning zoning the presidency to the South, a decision, pundits say may cost the opposition party the support of the Southeast region, a zone that has staunchly supported the party since 1999.