There are emerging reports that eleven (11) Governors on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, are scheming to endorse a former Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed Makarfi, as the party’s 2019 Presidential candidate.
It was learnt that the essence of the ‘unity list’ in the just concluded National Convention, was to have a ‘comprehensive team’ of loyalists that would work for certain interests ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Sources said a few month ago, that the PDP Governors led by Nyesom Wike, had decided to have absolute control of the party, ahead of 2019.
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To this effect, they allegedly agreed to work assiduously for the emergence Ahmed Makarfi as their Presidential candidate.
This is despite the fact that there are other Presidential aspirants from the North, notably ex-Governors, Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shekarau, and lately, ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
The ‘unity list’ is said to be the Governors “main instrument” of taming the increasing influence of ex-Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, and former President, Goodluck Jonathan, who are all working to see that Atiku has a leeway at the party’s Presidential primaries, next year,
They hinged their argument on the grounds that Atiku already had an elaborate template and the financial means to give the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and its candidate, probably President Muhammadu Buhari, a run for their money.
It was further learnt that the return of Atiku to the PDP lately, did not help matters on Saturday, at a time when the PDP Governors had gone far in influencing the delegates.
The ‘unity list’ had Prince Uche Secondus from Rivers State in the South-South as National Chairman, while the Deputy National Chairman (South), has been earmarked for Elder Yemi Akinwonmi from Ogun State in the South-West, among others.
Serious efforts by PDP Leaders from the South-West, including the last minute support from the likes of ex-Presidents Jonathan and Babangida, as well as Atiku, did not yield fruits in tackling the scheming of the Governors, credible sources at the Convention venue said.
Sources added that the PDP Governors, after “intensive persuasion” by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, agreed to support Secondus, by asking delegates from their States to back him.
A source stated that up until Friday, few of the Governors were reluctant, but had to “cave into the arrangement made by Wike”.
The PDP Governors allegedly include: Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Udom Gabriel Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Henry Dickson (Bayelsa), Benedict Ayade (Cross River), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State), and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).
Others are: Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (Gombe), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).
Sources said Wike had spent a fortune in the last few months to prepare grounds for the emergence of Secondus; and that he spent this much, because initially, some of the PDP Governors were not in support of Secondus, but he convinced them that he only needed their verbal approval.
“He said he will foot the bill”, the source said.
“And some of the Governors wanted someone from the South-West to get the Chairmanship, but Wike was relentless until he succeeds”, the source added.
Though Adeniran is from Ekiti State, which is also under the PDP, credible sources noted that Governor Fayose, whose tenure ends in 2018, wants to become the party’s Vice Presidential candidate, and would therefore, not support a Chairmanship candidate from his State.
“The fact is Fayose is also at cross-purpose with Wike, because the two of them want to become Vice President”, another source revealed.
However, besides “convincing” the PDP Governors to do his bidding, Wike in his statement, derogatorily showed that the South-West will not take their party to the Promised Land, even if they got the Chairmanship position, because of PDP’s weakness in the region.
“I have analysed the scenario. I have analysed the delegates spread of each State. There is no way that Prince Uche Secondus will not coast to victory by over 90 percent of delegates votes.
“I am talking because I am on the campaign team of Prince Uche Secondus, and I am a delegate”, the Governor said.
“Secondus has never said anything negative against any other candidate. He has remained focused on his campaign. He has no existing problems with the EFCC, contrary to petitions against him.
“Somebody who believes that he will win, will not resort to writing petitions before the Convention. All reports in the media against Secondus, are planted and false”, Wike said.
Gov. Wike equally noted the party’s failure in the South-West, as a factor in his decision to back Secondus.
“National Chairmanship in the South-West will not change the fortunes of the PDP; even when the President (Olusegun Obasanjo), hailed from the South-West, the fortunes of the party did not improve in terms of votes in that zone.
“The zone is prone to incessant crisis, as can be seen. Any candidate who emerges from the South-West, will lead to the further crisis from other factions from that zone”, he said.