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2023 Election: Wike loses grip on G-5 Governors

 


The insinuation that the aggrieved Governors elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP also known as G-5 may unanimously back a Southern presidential candidate have been put to rest.


It is now clear that the governors have gone their separate ways, supporting different candidates.


The G-5 who include Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike had vowed not to support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.


The governors fell out with the former vice president following the outcome of the party’s primary election which did not favour their leader, Wike.


The five governors believed that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor should emerge from the Southern part of the country as the North has had its eight years.


In the South, Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are the major contenders for the nation’s top job.


On December 29, 2022, reports emerged that the former Lagos governor met with the G-5 at his London residence where they allegedly struck an endorsement deal.


It was subsequently gathered that the aggrieved governors could not settle for a particular candidate during their visit to the United Kingdom.


But one week to the election, it is now clear that the governors have opted to support different candidates.


According to sources, Governor Wike and his Oyo State counterpart, Makinde have resolved to work for Bola Tinubu.


Tinubu, on Tuesday met with Wike who was reported to have pitched his tent with the APC candidate for the coming poll.


Although he is yet to publicly declare Tinubu as his candidate, Wike had directed all his cabinet members, aides, and local government Chairmen in the state to support Tinubu.


He gave more indication of his support for Tinubu when he said during the party’s rally on Saturday that: “We have instructed the leaders ward by ward. In our local government, the leaders will tell you what we have decided. If you want me to survive politically, follow the way we are going.


“We are going to vote for the unity of Nigeria. We are going to vote for equity fairness and justice. And that is why, I salute the APC Governors who came out to say look, for this country to be united, for this country to move together as a country, as one united country, there is need for power to shift.


“They were not greedy; they know that Nigeria is such a country that requires unity. Those who are greedy about power, you can get power and you will not have peace”.


Similarly, Tinubu on Wednesday, visited governor Makinde in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital during his campaign rally in the state.


The governor, who is seeking re-election in March, via the platform of PDP, told Tinubu that he would choose unity of the country, equity and fairness over politics.


He added that the people of the state would vote for equity and fairness on 25th February.


Contrary to Wike and Makinde’s move, Governor Ortom on Thursday endorsed the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, asking the Benue people to cast their votes for the former Anambra governor on February 25.


Ortom who stated this at a Town Hall meeting in Makurdi the state capital, said the 2023 election should not be based on party, stating that all the political parties in the country had failed Nigerians.


The governor, who got a rousing ovation after declaring Obi as his candidate, said a new Nigeria that would give its citizens equity, fairness, and justice must emerge via the coming poll.


Although the two other governors, Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi are yet to declare their support for any candidate, there are indications that Ugwanyi has also pitched his tent with Asiwaju, while Ikpeazu may be working for Atiku Abubakar.


However, the PDP in Ugwuanyi’s State, Enugu came with a big surprise during Atiku’s campaign rally in the State, as all the state apparatus was made available for the event. Apart from Ugwuanyi, every other person, including his Deputy, Cecilia Ezeilo, as well as the guber candidate, Peter Mbah, were at the rally. They all asked Enugu people to vote for Atiku.


Ikpeazu’s alleged decision to return to Atiku may not be unconnected to the death of the PDP governorship flagbearer in the state, Professor Eleazar Uche Ikonne who was his anointed candidate.


According to a member of the PDP in the state, Godwin Igwe “Ikpeazu’s mind has always been with Atiku. I think he was just dragged into the G-5.


“After the death of the governorship candidate, the governor needed upper hands to be able to bring another anointed candidate from his camp and I think he reconciled with Atiku that time”.


Similarly, Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, told NE  that Ikpeazu “never left Atiku’.


According to him, “the G-5 will soon become G-1”.


“He has never left, he was elected under the platform of the PDP and like every other stakeholder, he is working for the party to win. We thank God for what is happening to the G-5; at the end of the day, it will end up to be G-1.


“I think all the well meaning leaders and stakeholders of the party are coming to the realisation of the fact that we cannot continue like this.


“I’m glad that there is currently a consensus within the leadership of the party on how to rescue this country from the hands of the APC”, he added.

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