Nigeria: Wike, Saraki, Anyim Missing As Atiku Meets Presidential Aspirants

Atiku met with the former presidential aspirants at his Abuja home on Wednesday.

The presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, met with some presidential aspirants at his Asokoro residence on Wednesday.

The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, had in attendance, the publisher of Ovation magazine, Dele Momodu, investment banker, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Tariela Oliver, among others.

However, noticeably absent from the meeting were Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, and former Senate Presidents, Pius Anyim and Bukola Saraki.

Of the 13 aspirants who participated in the presidential primary in May, Atiku emerged as the party’s flagbearer.

Although he met with some of the aspirants after the convention and pledged to work with them towards attaining victory for the party in 2023, he and Mr Wike have been at loggerheads since then.

Although it was not clear what they discussed, sources said it was about the unity of the opposition party ahead of the 2023 polls.

The Rivers governor, who was aggrieved after the primary election, accused the party of betraying him and breaching its constitution. He sunsequently demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu – a criterion he said must be met before he supports Atiku in next year’s poll.

Dele Momodu, who led the delegation, appealed for unity in the party as he called on all aggrieved members to embrace dialogue and reconciliation.

On his part, Atiku pledged to remain committed to working with all party members “including those who lost out at the primary.”

Earlier, the presidential candidate met with some PDP leaders led by a former Minister of Information, Jerry Gana.

The meeting, they said, was aimed at taking further steps to build unity in the party.

A former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, who addressed journalists afterwards, urged “aspirants who lost at the primary” to embrace sportsmanship and move on.

“This is not the first time that people have lost primaries, this will not be the last,” he said. “But where people have made up their minds to say they must destroy whatever they did not get, I think Nigerians and the PDP must open their eyes to understand that. However, we must always be ready for reconciliation,” Mr Aliyu said.

No backing down – Makinde

While Atiku was meeting with some party members in Abuja, Mr Wike, in Port Harcourt, was commissioning projects.

At Wednesday’s inauguration of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Rivers State University Campus, his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, said his (Wike) allies will continue to fight for their space.

Mr Makinde, who was the special guest of honour at the inauguration mocked Mr Ayu for calling some of Mr Wike’s supporters children.

He said if children – referring to some PDP governors and allies of Mr Wike – are working in their states, “what Nigerians need are children. We will continue to fight for our space within PDP and continue to ensure that what is right for our people is given to our people.”

The Oyo State governor is one of Mr Wike’s strong allies. He is among those calling for the resignation of the party’s national chairman.

The party’s National Working Committee is expected to meet Thursday to deliberate on the demands by Mr Wike, and other issues.

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