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G5 govs deepen suspense over preferred candidate



 G5 govs deepen suspense over preferred candidate

The waiting game continues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as supporters of the G5 governors await words from the governors on their preferred presidential candidate in next month’s presidential election.

The group’s rallying point and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, says they are not in a hurry to declare their stand.

But he also warns the party that the door to reconciliation is about to be shut.

“If that day comes, if heaven wants to come down, let it come down,” he told the BBC in an interview.

READ ALSO :G5 govs tell Makinde to announce preferred presidential candidate

He said at a separate forum yesterday in Port Harcourt that the recent resignation of a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Prof. Alphonsus Nwosu, from the party over zoning of its presidential ticket has vindicated the dissenting governors on their stand.

Supporters of Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, who is a G5 member, and those of the embattled national chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, have resorted to a war of attrition of their own in Benue State.

They now tear up the campaign billboards of each other, causing the police in the state to issue a warning to the brains behind the act to allow peace to reign.

With the presidential election a mere 42 days away, the silence of the G5 governors on their preferred candidate has continued to deepen anxiety among their supporters.

The governors, who also include Seyi Makinde (Oyo State), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), had promised last month to announce their choice this month.

They had opted out of the campaign of the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on the grounds that the North cannot produce both the presidential candidate of the party and the national chairman.

They are insisting on the resignation of Ayu failing which they will pitch their tent with a candidate from another party.

Many Nigerians had expected the dissenting governors to announce their decision at the flag-off of campaign for the reelection of Governor Makinde held in Ibadan only for Wike to urge the crowd to vote for PDP candidates in all the elections save the presidential poll.

Amidst the deepening suspense, sources told The Nation that “it is not certain if the governors are on the same page yet regarding who their preferred candidate.”

It was gathered that political permutations in the five states seem to be making it difficult for the five governors to agree on one presidential candidate as their common choice.

One source said: “While they have all agreed that none of them will back Atiku, it has not been easy agreeing on who their common choice should be.

“This difficulty is largely due to the varying political situations in their various states and geo-political zones.

“For example, the two governors from the Southeast are said to be unrepentantly opposed to Obi as choice because of their alleged fear that supporting him will strengthen the chances of Labour Party in their states and in the entire Southeast.

“Both Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi are on the ballot as PDP senatorial candidates. They are also working hard to ensure the victory of PDP gubernatorial candidates as their successors in their various states.

“Consequently, they are not open to any arrangement that will see the G5 endorsing Obi as its preferred presidential candidate for the presidential election in the country.”

Governor Ortom is widely believed to be rooting for Mr. Peter Obi of Labour Party, especially after calling him a good candidate when Obi visited him recently in Makurdi.

However, Wike said in his BBC interview that Ortom’s statement did not amount to endorsement.

A source in Benue State said the Labour Party gubernatorial candidate is not popular in the state and said it is unlikely that Ortom would have anything to do with the APC in view of the threat posed to the PDP in the state by the APC governorship candidate, Rev. Father Hyacinth Alia.

“The APC is a strong force in Benue already and its governorship candidate is a threat to Ortom’s succession plan. Besides, Ortom is a senatorial candidate in the state and cannot afford to lose the election to APC. His preference for Obi is as a result of his fear of the APC,” our source said.

It was Governor Makinde is favourably disposed to G5 endorsing Tinubu.

Makinde’s deputy, Adebayo Lawal, at a recent Afenifere gathering, had said his principal was in support of the choice of Yoruba elders for the presidential race. Makinde is yet to refute the statement till date amidst insinuations that his group within Oyo PDP may have decided to back the former Lagos State governor on February 25, 2023.

While Wike is said to be willing to support whoever emerges as the choice of the majority, the divergent opinions are making a decision difficult for the group.

Asked by the BBC why the G5 was yet to announce its preferred candidate, the Rivers State Governor said: “Some people are counting January 4th, 16th. They should calm down.

“We are all politicians. We have political strategies. I don’t work as an individual. That’s what people don’t understand.

“There are different strategies in going to war. What you see today is not what you see tomorrow. Oh, I laugh at them (PDP) when they say we are in touch with so, so governor.”

Saying the clock toward reconciliation in the PDP was ticking fast, the governor said: “The point I am trying to tell you is that PDP should have their opportunity because there will come a time the door will be shut and nothing will happen.

“If that day comes, if heaven wants to come down, let it come down.

“Nobody should threaten anyone. If we (G5) take the decision today that we will not support the PDP candidate, we will give reasons why we will not support him and there is nothing anybody will do about it.

“They should better be careful.”



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