Atiku Abubakar, the candidate for president of the People’s Democratic Party, has come under a great deal of criticism when it was revealed that he had offered to hand over power to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in 2027 if he were to win the election in 2023.
It has been reported that Atiku has promised to back Wike’s quest for the presidency in 2027 if the latter agrees to back him (Atiku) in the election that would take place in 2023.
Also, earlier attempts to reconcile the two have not been successful in producing any beneficial results, and five of the eleven PDP state governors have taken Wike’s side, which has led to a significant rift within the party.
According to those who were there during the meeting, Atiku proposed that he would support Wike for the president in 2027 as a way to win him over.
It was said that Wike would not commit to anything and would instead promise to talk with his colleagues and get back to Atiku with answers.
It was also reported that the governor was unmoved by Atiku’s offer since the former Vice President had already made an offer to Igbos that was very similar to this one at a meeting with PDP stakeholders in Enugu the week before.
After the former vice president passed on Wike in favor of Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running partner in June, the two men and their respective supporters have been at odds with one another ever since.
A source privy to what transpired at the meeting said:
“Again, Atiku extended the olive branch to Wike. He pleaded with the governor to look at the bigger picture of winning the 2023 poll.
He asked Wike to prevail on his group to join the PDP campaign train.
“Atiku promised to be fair to all PDP members despite the differences of the past few weeks which were caused by the outcome of the party’s presidential primaries.”
Another highly-placed source said Atiku offered to support Wike in 2027 if he gives necessary support to him in the ongoing campaign.
“Wike was not forthcoming and he avoided an outright commitment to Atiku’s request to be part of the PDP campaign team. He told Atiku that he would go and consult with his team and get back to him.
“So, he has kept Atiku in suspense again. We don’t know what the governor and his strategists will say.”
“The governor wasn’t excited about the 2027 poll prospect because he made the Igbo a similar offer in Enugu a few days ago.
“The major challenge which Wike felt Atiku did not address was trust deficit. Our camp is of the opinion that Atiku doesn’t walk the talk on any agreement or issue because of pressure here and there.
“This crisis would not have reached this level if Atiku had kept faith with London talks and unwritten agreement with Wike. Our group will soon meet on the latest overtures from Atiku.”
Meanwhile, the development has attracted condemnation from several Igbo stakeholders.
President of Igbo National Council, INC, Chilos Godsent, while reacting to the report, described Atiku’s move “as a total insult to the Igbo nation.”
According to Godsent, Atiku ought “to endeavor to study history as that may help guide his utterances in this electioneering period.”
“Consequent upon the above, the INC, therefore, request Atiku to immediately apologize to the Igbo nation for that reckless and unguided statement or we shall declare a political fatwa on him and the PDP state governors in the Igbo land”, Godsent said.
On his part, the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, said tiku’s statement was a mere political chorus.
He, however, noted that the PDP presidential candidate cannot be trusted.
“We know politicians that can keep to their words and Atiku is not one of them. So what he’s doing is just to manoeuvre to get the opportunity to become the president of this country and continue his private and personal agenda.
“Again, nobody that is reasonable will ask Ndigbo or South East to support them to get power in 2031, no. It’s an insult to Ndigbo and unacceptable. I blame some so-called Igbo stakeholders in PDP that stood there and watched him making such a caricature statement against Ndigbo.
“Ndigbo have waited for more than 57 years to have a position of the number one citizen of this country. No person from South East has become the president of this country. So when you ask our people to wait, it is an insult to us.
”So the South East is politically marginalized and this is part of the things that are fueling the agitation in the old Eastern region. So it’s morally, socially, and justifiably the time for South East to produce the next president of this country. It is non-negotiable, we cannot negotiate it for any reason”, Igboayaka stated.