2023 Presidency: Obasanjo in London, brokers Obi, Wike alliance

Obasanjo in London

…camps set up technical c’ttee to harmonise strategy

…as Atiku confers with Rivers gov, warns supporters on divisive comments

There are indications that former President Olusegun Obasanjo travelled to London in order to break the ice and broker an alliance between the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, ahead of the 2023 elections. The trio held a meeting in the UK, yesterday, with Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke in attendance. The quartet are known political allies of Governor Wike. Obasanjo’s parley with Obi and Wike is on the heels of Monday night’s meeting between the Rivers State governor and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which was also held in London.

Tinubu and Wike were said to have discussed the possibility of working together in the presidential election although reports had it that an agreement is yet to be reached. Obi and Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have held talks in Nigeria before yesterday’s meeting on the possibility of forging an alliance for the 2023 presidential election but an agreement is yet to be reached. According to a source, who was privy to discussions at the meeting, Obasanjo’s intervention was informed by his position that power must shift to the South after eight years of northern presidency. “Discussions between Obi and Wike have been ongoing but nothing concrete was agreed on. That’s why Obasanjo had to fly to London to break the ice and broker an alliance between the duo. “Obasanjo’s position on the 2023 presidency has always been that after eight years of northern presidency, power should shift to the South and that it must be a southern Christian from the South-East geopolitical zone.”

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The source further disclosed that the Obi and Wike camps agreed to set up a technical committee to harmonize strategies. Wike and his allies were also said to have met with the presidential candidate of the PDP, former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar, who is also in London, last night. The meeting, which was at the instance of Atiku, is part of moves to make Wike see reason to support his party despite the fallout from the PDP presidential primary election. The main opposition party has been in crisis since its May presidential primary election in which Atiku defeated Wike and the former vice-president’s choice of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate over the Rivers governor. Wike is demanding for the sack of the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, as a condition for him to work for Atiku in the presidential election. A party source, who confirmed the meeting, said: “I can’t say what was specifically discussed at the meeting between Atiku and Wike but we have to work harder because PDP may lose Rivers State if care is not taken.”

Atiku’s meeting with Wike is as he moved to douse the tension in the PDP by cautioning members of the party against divisive comments. The PDP presidential candidate particularly advised all party stakeholders and supporters to refrain from making statements that are capable of compromising on-going efforts towards further strengthening the party and bringing all its leaders together. Former Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger) recently made comments against Wike, which party members believed were injurious to the peace process the party is trying to broker. But Atiku, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, explained that true members of the PDP and anyone who truly wishes the success of the party’s presidential candidate should not fall for the antics of the APC in making statements that could give credence to the false claim of divisions in the PDP.

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The statement read in part: “All the leaders of the party, including the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike and all governors of the PDP are united in working for the victory of the PDP in next year’s general election across board. “What is at stake in the next year’s election is the future of Nigeria and all leaders and members of the PDP are on the same page in the mission to rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of the APC. “All party members, leaders and everyone related to, connected with or associated with the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar to desist from making comments that potentially reduce the optics of PDP’s image as a united political party.” The former vice-president accused the APC of creating a false impression of division within the PDP to hoodwink the Nigerian public to overlook the monumental failures of the ruling party.

He added: “Today, Nigerians look up to the PDP to lead the charge in ousting the ruling party. This expectation from the people is the reason why the APC is jittery of their impending fall in next year’s general election. “It is also the very reason why the ruling party is manipulating the political process to create a sense of division in the PDP. “Because they know that there is nothing to campaign with from their records of performance in office, the APC has elected to play the role of the devil’s advocate, regaling in celebration of their imaginary invincibility upon a fraudulent claim that the PDP is divided.

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