Nigeria: Despite Political Differences, Atiku, Okowa Rejoice With Wike On Birthday

Mr Wike has been having a running battle with Atiku and Okowa as well as the national leadership of the PDP since the Rivers governor lost the PDP presidential primary in May.

Despite their political differences, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has sent good wishes to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on his birthday anniversary.

Mr Wike turned 55 on 13 December.

“As you turn 55 today, I pray that all lines fall in pleasant places for you. Enjoy your special day,” Mr Atiku said to Mr Wike in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

The vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the governor of Delta State, also sent good wishes to Mr Wike.

“The people of your state, the South-South and Nigerians are proud of your sterling and laudable accomplishments in the administration of Rivers,” Mr Okowa said in his birthday wishes to Mr Wike.

Mr Okowa’s message was contained in a statement on Tuesday from his spokesperson, Olisa Ifeajika.

The governor called Mr Wike his “brother”.

“As you celebrate this year’s anniversary of your birth, it is my prayer and that of the government and people of Delta that God grants you greater wisdom and good health to continue rendering service to Him and mankind,” Mr Okowa said.

Mr Wike has been having a running battle with Atiku and Mr Okowa as well as the national leadership of the PDP since the Rivers governor lost the PDP presidential primary in May.

He has relentlessly attacked the integrity of both men, including the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.

The Rivers governor’s bitterness, from his several remarks, is that the next Nigerian president ought to come from the southern region, where he comes from since President Muhammadu Buhari is from the north.

Since the return of democratic rule in Nigeria on 29 May 1999, the choice of who becomes the country’s president has been alternating between the north and the south.

Many people believe the rift between Atiku and Mr Wike widened when Atiku picked Mr Okowa as his running mate instead of Mr Wike, against the recommendation of some members of the PDP.

Mr Wike said Mr Okowa, in supporting Atiku at the PDP primary, betrayed the quest by the South to produce the next president.

“We (Rivers people) have done our part. We never betrayed anybody because it is not in our blood to betray. But it is a shame to those people, some of the governors from the South, they are the people that were used to sabotage our course,” Mr Wike said in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a ceremony organised to welcome him back from the PDP primary.

“I contested in an election (primary) based on the principle and agreement with all southern governors and leaders of the south that the presidency should go to the south this period.”

Governor Wike is leading the G5, a group of five aggrieved PDP governors who have refused to join the Atiku campaign.

The group is demanding the resignation of the PDP chairman, Mr Ayu, to create a “regional balance” in the party.

Mr Ayu and Atiku are from the north.

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