Eight days to the presidential bout of the general election, it appears the centre could no longer hold amongst the aggrieved G-5 governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other leaders, who earlier shared their sentiments on the state of the party vis-à-vis their choice of presidential candidate. Although the self-styled leader of the group and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, had announced different dates, when he would announce his choice candidate for the presidential race, he has yet to make any such public announcement. But with the elections some eight days away, it is becoming clearer how and where the G-5 and other party leaders, who would rather a southern president, stand as the election inches closer.
While the G-5 governors had secretly met with the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, a couple of times in London, Wike appears to be leaning towards Tinubu as his candidate, even though he has not publicly announced this, but after openly foreclosing any last minute deal with his party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Wike, expectedly, is not alone in the support drive for Tinubu, a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, though suspended, has also elected to back the former Lagos State governor, both on ethnic and regional sentiments. On their part, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko; his Cross River State counterpart, Donald Duke; former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Bode George and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, have enlisted support for Obi.
While others have not clearly indicated their stand, Ortom, yesterday, crawled out of hiding, and declared support for Obi, asking Nigerians not to vote along party lines but vote individuals with credentials, character, competence, educational backgrounds and the mettle to deliver and revamp the socioeconomic fortunes of the country. In another breath, while the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde and the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, have remained undecided, the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has retuned to the candidate of his party, Atiku, whom he warmly received recently, when the former vice-president visited Enugu for a presidential rally.
However, throwing more light on his support for Obi, Ortom, who was a guest at a town hall meeting for stakeholders across the 276 councils wards of the state organised by the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Makurdi, said both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had failed the nation. This is as the Benue State High Court, has issued an order of interim injunction, restraining the PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC), National Executive Committee (NEC) or its National Officers (elected or appointed) from expelling the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.At the same time, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, yesterday, in Abuja, hinted that the agitation of the embittered G-5 governors of the PDP, was beyond the forthcoming 2023 general election.
Speaking on the sidelines shortly after the public presentation of the book, entitled: ‘The Biochemistry of Environmental Pollution’, co-author by him and Kalu Kalu Igwe, Ikpeazu, said all that the G-5 governors wanted was nothing but inclusiveness.However, addressing the townhall, Ortom, said the people must fashion out a new Nigeria that would give them equity, fairness, and justice as the nation inch closer to the general election and urged them to shun all partisan sentiments as the major parties today had failed the nation. He said Nigerians had come to a time where, “We must live out sentiments and safe Nigeria by looking at individuals, who can lead with the fear of God, provide gainful employment for the Youth.”
While observing that Obi surpassed all other candidates by age and capacity, he assured them that he would do the right things for the country hence “we all must give him the support to unite Nigeria and solve insecurity challenges in the country. ”Ortom, who openly threw his weight behind Obi, said among the top three contender, the former Anambra State governor remained outstanding hence he believed that the he would be able to root out insecurity and unite the country.“ They remain committed to the development of the country and that is why I have chosen to support them. If you make an analysis of the three front runners you will discover that Peter Obi’s quality is outstanding.
Did you see any other person insulting Peter Obi? Obi will do the right thing for Nigeria. “He will provide security and make sure we sleep with our two eyes closed. This thing is not about party. I am not in labour party but I am working for Peter Obi. You know I am also contesting election and I have others who are also contesting and for easy coordination vote for us in the party we are. “You can imaging the highest position Ahmed Datti attained in this country. He is a senator but you can see he has two universities. He is a young man, who is sound and willing to add more values to Obi’s value when they are elected,” he said. In his remarks via live screening, Obi assured the thousands of people who trooped out to the meeting that he would revamp the economy, provide jobs and infrastructure, as well as tackle insecurity in the country.