Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who alonside other members of the G-5 governors are at loggerheads with Atiku Abubakar, the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, today gave the strongest indication that he may not support the latter’s bid for president.
Wike said on Thursday while he commissioned the tenth flyover by his administration in the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers, that he will reveal his preferred presidential candidate known in January 2023.
He added that he will also campaign for his adopted candidate nationwide.
The Rivers Governor said, “From January next year, I will campaign to my people whom they will vote for.
“So, all of you who have been in suspense, who have been saying all kinds of things, abusing me, wait. January is here.
“Not only will I tell them (my people) whom to vote, I will move from state to state (for campaigns) and why they should vote for the person, nothing will happen.”
The members of the G-5 insist that Iyorchia Ayu must step down as PDP national chairman for there to be equity since he and Atiku are from the North.
So far, Ayu has vehemently pushed back, saying he will never resign.
Recall that after the presidential primary, which the former Vice President won under controversial circumstances, he bypassed Wike, who came second and who was recommended by the party and chose Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
Wike, with four other members of G5 or the Integrity Group, say the resignation of Ayu, from Benue State, is a condition precedent to supporting the 2023 ambition of Atiku.
The Rivers governor had last month promised logistic support for the campaign of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, who was in Port Harcourt to commission a flyover on Wike’s invitation.
He also extended the same offer to the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso.
With about two months to the presidential election, Wike and his allies have not been seen to campaign for Atiku, even though they keep insisting that the door to peace has not been slammed.
Today’s statement by Wike could be seen as a clue that he will not be supporting Atiku’s presidential bid. If he would, he would have expressly said so – and not that he will announce his preferred candidate in January.
And the use of the word ‘preferred’ suggests that it would be someone else outside his party.
The Rivers strongman has been unwavering in his call for fairness, saying that “there cannot be another eight years of a northern president after Buhari.”