In what appears to be a direct reaction to being sidelined by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in the race for his running mate, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is said to be in the centre of a proposed alliance in the build-up to the 2023 general election.
It has been gathered from multiple sources that the governor and his bloc within the PDP are tinkering with a Peter Obi and Musa Kwankwaso ticket on the platform of Labour Party. Both Obi and Kwankwaso are Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidates respectively.
The two former PDP members are currently using placeholders to keep their respective running mates pending when they will have substantive VP candidates. One of the sources said, “The Rivers governor is on the verge of brokering a Obi- Kwankwaso ticket since the momentum appears to be in favour of the South. I’m not, however, certain if Wike and others will move or strategically collapse their structure for the impending merger,” he said. It was further learnt that talks between the two presidential candidates have reached advancedstage andwho would step down to become the running mate of the other will be unveiled very soon, especially with the intervention of Wike. When contacted, one of Obi’s aides could not confirm the move. However he told our correspondent that such alliance is what they are praying for.
“I am not aware of such a move but that is what we are praying for because we in Labour Party will appreciate an allianceof like-minds,” hesaid. Wikehad onThursday, June 23 held a closed-door meeting with the presidential candidate of the Labour Party. While receiving in audience the former Kano governor, Wike was clad in white attire with a red cap to match, which is the symbolic colour of the Kwankwasiya Movement led by his guest, Kwankwaso.
Although the agenda for the meeting was not made public, it was, however, speculated that Obi, who is already gaining support from Nigerian youths, met Wike to convince Kwankwaso to become his running mate.
Likewise, on Friday, June 24, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Kwankwaso, and former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, visited Wike in Port Harcourt. Wike suffered defeat in the PDP presidential primary last May and he also failed to emerge as running mate to Atiku, despite recommendations from the party’s leaders that he should be picked. Some aggrieved members of PDP had lamented that despite the advisory committee set up by the party favouring Wike for the vice-presidential slot, Atiku opted for the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, whom he felt was level-headed and had the right temperament to push up his ticket.