PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, had a closed-door meeting in Abuja last night, to resolve their differences.
The Nation reports that at the meeting, Atiku pledged to support Wike’s presidential bid in 2027 if Wike agrees to sheathe his sword and support him (Atiku) in the 2023 election.
The duo and their supporters have been locked in a face-off since June when the former vice president overlooked Wike and picked Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate. Previous efforts to reconcile them had failed to yield any positive result. Atiku even appeared to have decided to ignore Wike, and proceeded with his campaign while the Rivers State Governor and his supporters threatened to have nothing to do with the Atiku presidential campaign.
Five of the 11 state governors elected on the platform of PDP are in Wike’s camp, leading to a major crack in the party.
In a fresh effort to resolve their differences, Atiku met with Wike last night where he prevailed on Wike’s camp to join the campaign train of PDP. Sources close to the meeting said the PDP presidential candidate offered to back Wike for the presidency in 2027.
Wike was non-committal to Atiku because of past breaches of commitment, it was gathered. The governor reportedly said he would consult his group and revert to Atiku.
Sources at the meeting also stated that Wike was not excited about the 2027 prospect in view of a similar promise made Atiku to the Igbo during a meeting with PDP stakeholders in Enugu earlier this week.
A source, who was privy to what transpired, told the publication;
“Again, Atiku extended the olive branch to Wike. He pleaded with the governor to look at the bigger picture of winning the 2023 poll.
He asked Wike to prevail on his group to join the PDP campaign train.
Atiku promised to be fair to all PDP members despite the differences of the past few weeks which were caused the outcome of the party’s presidential primaries.”
Another highly-placed source said Atiku offered to support Wike in 2027 if he gives necessary support to him in the ongoing campaign.
“Wike was not forthcoming and he avoided an outright commitment to Atiku’s request to be part of the PDP campaign team. He told Atiku that he would go and consult with his team and get back to him. So, he has kept Atiku in suspense again. We don’t know what the governor and his strategists will say.”
A source in Wike’s camp said
“The governor wasn’t excited about the 2027 poll prospect because he made the Igbo a similar offer in Enugu a few days ago.
The major challenge which Wike felt Atiku did not address was trust deficit. Our camp is of the opinion that Atiku doesn’t walk the talk on any agreement or issue because of pressure here and there.
This crisis would not have reached this level if Atiku had kept faith with London talks and unwritten agreement with Wike. Our group will soon meet on the latest overtures from Atiku.”