PRESIDENCY: Wike, G-5 In Dilemma

PRESIDENCY: Wike, G-5 In Dilemma
  • Ikpeazu weighs options
  • Group’s individual interests threaten bond
  • Uncertainty as Abia PDP guber candidate dies

By Mbachu Godwin and Muyiwa Oyinlola, Abuja 

The G-5 governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by the Rivers State Governor and the runners up to the party’s presidential primary, Bar Nyesom Wike appears to have run into hitch over their plan to adopt a preferred presidential candidate outside their party’s candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. 

The Governors are Okezie Ikpazu of Abia ; Seyi Makinde of Oyo; Samuel Ortom of Benue; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Nyelson Wike of River.

The G-5 governors have been at loggerhead with the party hierarchy over the outcome of the party’s presidential primary. The group had insisted that the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, should resign his position to balance the power sharing arrangement between the North and the South, arguing that the North should not dominate the affairs of the party.  

AljazirahNigeria reports that  Ayu had during his emergence as the party National chairman at the party convention in November 2021 assured that he would relinquish his position if a Northerner emerges the party presidential candidate, provided the party asks him to vacate office. But Ayu had refused to honour the agreement insisting that he will only step aside when a Northerner emerges President, this led the G-5 to withdraw their support from the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, a situation political observers say was unhealthy for the party’s success at the poll. 

The G-5 governors with their elders and leaders had met severally in Port Harcourt, and even twice in far away London to review the situation and take a final decision on whom to declare their support for. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar the party’s presidential candidate had ignored the G-5 after many entreaties to support his aspiration which yielded no results, saying that only God can make him president of Nigeria. But the G-5 governors through Wike had earlier announced that it was going to unveil their presidential candidate this January.

The G-5 governor’s recent meeting in London where they were expected to announce their preferred candidate was deadlocked thus fuelling speculation and confusion. 

Barely one month to the general elections, had the G-5 governors who started strongly with one bond as a power bloc is beginning to whittle down due to disagreement arising from perceived personal interest of its members. While governors Wike and Makinde are said to be backing the All Progressives Congress, APC presidential candidate Bola Tinibu, the trio of Ortom, Ugwuanyi and Ikpeazu are sympathetic to the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, thus causing division among the group. 

There are fresh indications that the group may have shot itself in the foot as its absence and impact may have not been felt as the PDP hierarchy went ahead with its campaigns and strategy without the five governors.  

Some political pundits believe that some members of the G-5 governors who are seeking elective positions may lose out if they refuse to work with the party.

There are speculations that some members of the group who are seeking elections are working secretly with the party but whether the group will make bold to unveil its preferred candidate before February 25 is not yet certain. 

Already many are of the opinion that the G-5 is confused after back and forth engagements of major contenders in the election without coming to a conclusion. 

Meanwhile, there is uncertainty in the Peoples Democratic Party PDP Abia State chapter as the party has lost its gubernatorial candidate, Prof Ikone who died yesterday at the National Assembly, Abuja.

Mr Ikonne, a professor and former Vice -Chancellor of the Abia State University Uturu, passed away on Wednesday, January 25, around 4: a.m. at the National Hospital Abuja, according to a statement from his first son, Uche-Ikonne Chikezie, on behalf of the family.

“I regret to announce the death of my dear father, Prof Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne, who died at the National Hospital Abuja today, January 25, 2023 by 4:a.m after a brief illness.

He was recovering after taking proper treatment in the United Kingdom but relapsed a few days ago leading to multiple cardiac arrests for which he didn’t recover from”, the statement said.

“Further details and arrangements would be made known to the public after deliberations and meetings are made within the family”, the statement added.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State earlier this month confirmed that the PDP governorship candidate, Mr Ikonne, was ill and, therefore, was unable to attend political rallies ahead of the forthcoming general elections.

Mr Ikpeazu’s confirmation followed increasing concerns over Mr Ikonne’s absence at rallies and other political events.

A journalist in Abia revealed that the late PDP gubernatorial candidate had collapsed during a rally and afterwards became indisposed.

Recall that Governor Ikpeazu recently in a chat with newsmen said Mr Ikonne attended some rallies organised by the PDP in Abia, including the November 24, 2022 launch of the party’s state-wide campaign at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

He said Mr Ikonne left the stadium for a gala night, organised in honour of the G-5 governors in Ikpeazu’s  Umuobiakwa country home in Obingwa, “where he managed to give a speech and then he took ill”.

“It is unfortunate that he is lately indisposed, but I want to report some progress and the progress is that Ikonne is recovering gradually and progressively.

“He has left the hospital and is going through convalescence.

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