Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the five aggrieved Governors within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) popularly known as the G5 are set to announce their preferred presidential candidate in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on January 5.
Bellnewsonline.com learned that this was one of the decisions made on Tuesday during their strategic meeting in London, United Kingdom in a move to tackle the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Bellnewsonline.com recalls the Governors; Nyesom Wike (Rivers State), Seyi Makinde (Oyo State), Samuel Ortom (Benue State), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State) took a stand against supporting Atiku.
They insisted on the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu from office and his replacement with a southerner as the only condition to support Atiku’s 2023 bid.
However, despite several meetings and entreaties on how to resolve the disagreement, Ayu has refused to step down and the Governors have also not changed their position.
In a chat with bellnewsonline.com, aide to one of the governors said the Wike’s camp may heed former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s advice that the South East should produce the next President in 2023.
The former President recently met with the three of the G5 Governors (Wike, Ortom, and Makinde) and he appealed to them to support the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.
Obasanjo was said to have hinged his choice on the argument that the Igbos should be given a chance to produce the next President of Nigeria.
He said the governors may likely support Obi as a result of Obasanjo’s counsel and unveil him on January 5 when Governor Makinde will kick off his re-election campaign in Ibadan.
He said: “The governors are considering Obasanjo’s advice that the Presidency should come to the South in 2023. Obasanjo has advised them to support Obi because he believes that if the Presidency comes to the South, it should go to the South East.
“That is why at their last meeting in London, he lobbied for Obi because justice and fairness demand that the South-East should produce the next president.
“From all indications, the governors will announce their preferred candidate next week. If there is no major event before January 5 when Makinde will kick off his campaign, they will make the announcement on that day in Ibadan.’’
No Division Over Choice Of Presidential Candidate
At their London meeting, the governors dismissed media reports that they were divided over the choice of the presidential candidate to endorse ahead of the 2023 elections.
According to an aide to one of the governors, the Integrity group is united and there is no crack in the rank of the governors regarding the candidate to support.
He said at the London meeting on Tuesday, the governors agreed that since Atiku failed to prevail on Ayu to step down, they should work for a Southern candidate.
The source said: “Not really, but they have different approaches to the issue. Some of them have nothing against Atiku. But none of the governors will come out to speak against the joint decision of the group that the presidency should come to the South. If Ayu has stepped down, they would have supported Atiku.’’
But other sources are insisting that the unity of the Integrity Group may be hanging by a thread, as there seems to be a crack in the fold.
The contention, it was learned, involves who to support between Obi and the All Progressives Congress standard bearer, Bola Tinubu.