…as G-5 govs, others split among 3 front runners for president
The leadership and other stakeholders of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are hoping of utilising the Yuletide break to pacify aggrieved five governors and other stakeholders and bring them back to the fold. The move is aimed at resolving the lingering crisis within the party with a view to bring all stakeholders back into the mainstream of party activities ahead of the forthcoming General Elections scheduled to take place in February next year.
Many sources within the party who spoke with our correspondents in separate interviews during the week revealed that the Presidential Candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is expected to lead the reconciliatory efforts during the current festivities. The new peace initiative is sequel to a series of earlier diplomatic shuttles by some party leaders particularly, Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his Delta State counterpart and Vice Presidential Candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to the aggrieved members.
Okowa is the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP, while Tambuwal is Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council. The new move is coming against what party members tagged as ray of hope, which the earlier shuttles had achieved “And to consolidate on the gains that have been achieved by the leaders so far.” One of the sources hinged the success and planned move on a recent statement credited to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue suggesting an imminent resolution to the conflict. Those who spoke with our correspondents however ruled out further oneon- one talks between Atiku and leader of the Integrity Group, Governor Nyesom Wike, over the crisis.
“You heard what our principal said during a live interview session recently that they (Atiku and Wike) have met five times. I don’t think there is any need for further meetings between them,” a top aide to Atiku told one of our correspondents when contacted. Despite the charm offensive of the party, indications have also emerged to suggest a split within the camp of the aggrieved members on which candidates of the leading parties to back in the forthcoming general elections. Notwithstanding, findings by Saturday Telegraph revealed that though united in their continued agitaxation for equity and balance of opportunities within the party, they’re split in regards to which of the candidates to support. “As we speak, many members of the Integrity Group are hopeful of a winwin settlement to the problem in the party but they are however not putting all their eggs in one basket.
“I can tell you that many of them are however thinking of likely Plan B should the reconciliation efforts fail and they are looking at likely replacement for Atiku in their respective states to support for the Presidency while they in turn support candidates of the PDP in their respective states,” a source close to a former governor in one of the South West states said. Members of the group are currently torn between supporting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), his Labour Party opponent, Mr. Peter Obi, as well as those who believe that the stakeholders have no other option apart from Atiku. According to the source who pleaded not to be named, “As we speak our governors and leaders are divided on whom to support between Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Peter and former the Vice President himself.”
Another source stated that while Ortom, his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu, are favourably disposed to returning to Atiku, their Oyo State colleague, Seyi Makinde is considering Tinubu should the reconciliatory talks fail. Apart from Makinde, former Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti alongside the current Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Taofeek Oladejo Arapaja, are rooting for the APC Presidential standard bearer. While Wike is said to be undecided between Tinubu and Obi, his Enugu State colleague, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is considering Obi alongside chieftains such as Chief Olabode George, former Cross River State Governor, Mr. Donald Duke and former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.