The insinuation that the aggrieved governors of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, also known as the G-5, may unanimously back a Southern presidential candidate has been put to rest.
The G-5, comprising Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, had vowed not to support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The governors fell out with the former vice president following the outcome of the party’s primary election, which did not favor their leader, Wike.
The five governors believed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor should emerge from the southern part of the country, as the North has had its eight years.
In the South, Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC are the two major contenders for the nation’s top job.
On December 29, 2022, reports emerged that the former Lagos governor met with the G-5 at his London residence, where they allegedly struck an endorsement deal.
It was subsequently gathered that the aggrieved governors could not settle on a particular candidate during their visit to the United Kingdom.
Naijacrawl, however, reports that the governors have opted to support different candidates.
According to sources, Governor Wike and his Oyo State counterpart, Makinde, have resolved to work for Bola Tinubu of the ruling party.
Recall that Tinubu, on Feb. 14, met with Wike who was reported to have pitched his tent with the APC candidate for the coming poll.
Although he has yet to publicly declare Tinubu as his candidate, Wike has directed all his cabinet members, aides, and local government chairmen in the state to support Tinubu, the Naijacrawl has gathered.
He gave more indication of his support for Tinubu when he said during the party’s rally on Saturday that “We have instructed the leaders ward by ward." In our local government, the leaders will tell you what we have decided. If you want me to survive politically, follow the way we are going.
“We are going to vote for the unity of Nigeria." We are going to vote for equity, fairness, and justice. And that is why, I salute the APC Governors who came out to say look, for this country to be united, for this country to move together as a country, as one united country, there is need for power to shift.
“They were not greedy; they know that Nigeria is such a country that requires unity." "Those who are greedy about power can get power, but they will not have peace."
Similar to this, during his campaign rally in Oyo State on Wednesday, Feb. 15, Tinubu paid a visit to Governor Makinde in Ibadan.
Makinde, who is seeking re-election in March on the platform of the PDP, told Tinubu that he would choose the unity of the country, equity, and fairness over politics.
He added that the people of the state would vote for equity and fairness on February 25.
Contrary to Wike and Makinde’s move, Governor Ortom on Thursday endorsed the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, asking the Benue people to cast their votes for the former Anambra governor on February 25.
Ortom said that the 2023 election shouldn't be based on party because all of the political parties in the nation had failed Nigerians. He made this statement at a town hall meeting in Makurdi, the state capital.
The governor stated that a new Nigeria that would provide its citizens with equity, fairness, and justice must emerge through the upcoming election. He received a rousing ovation after declaring Obi as his candidate.
Although Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi, the other two governors, have yet to publicly declare their support for a particular candidate, there are signs that Ugwuanyi has joined Asiwaju's camp and that Ikpeazu may be working for Atiku Abubakar.
When Atiku held a campaign rally in Enugu, the home state of Ugwuanyi, the PDP there was taken by surprise because the entire state apparatus was made available for the event. Everyone else who wasn't Ugwuanyi, including his deputy Cecilia Ezeilo and the candidate for governor, Peter Mbah, was present at the rally. They all pleaded with the residents of Enugu to support Atiku.
Ikpeazu's alleged decision to rejoin Atiku may not have been unrelated to the passing of Professor Eleazar Uche Ikonne, the state's PDP governorship candidate and his chosen successor.
According to a member of the PDP in the state, Godwin Igwe, “Ikpeazu’s mind has always been with Atiku." "I think he was just dragged into the G-5.”
He explained further: “After the death of the governorship candidate, the governor needed upper hands to be able to bring another anointed candidate from his camp, and I think he reconciled with Atiku at that time.”
Similarly, Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, told the Daily Post on Saturday that Ikpeazu “has never left Atiku." According to him, “He has never left; he was elected under the platform of the PDP, and like every other stakeholder, he is working for the party to win." We thank God for what is happening to the G-5; at the end of the day, it will end up being the G-1.
He added: “I’m glad that there is currently a consensus within the leadership of the party on how to rescue this country from the hands of the APC.”
With the decision by the governors to support different candidates, what would have been a major spoil for one single candidate has been carved up among the three leading contenders in the presidential race.