From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
There were indications, yesterday, that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) special panel saddled with the responsibility of shopping for vice presidential candidate may have settled for Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Governor Wike had scored 237 votes at the May 28/29 PDP national convention to place second at the party’s presidential primary, which was won by Atiku Abubakar with 371 votes.
Daily Sun gathered that the panel, at its meeting, yesterday, in Abuja recommended the the Rivers governor to the party as its preferred choice for vice presidential slot. A source, close to one of the members of the panel confirmed that the he was chosen by 16 votes to three votes.
The meeting was a follow-up to an earlier one held by the panel on Monday night, also in Abuja, where it was gathered that members pushed strongly for Wike. However, Atiku is expected to make the final decision on who he would want to work with.
Apart from Wike, others in contention are Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, and Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
The panel, which consists of five members of the National Working Committee ( NWC), three members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and three members of the PDP Governors’ Forum, is chaired by the party’s Deputy National Chairman (North), Umaru Damagum.
Members of the panel present at yesterday’s meeting included former Senate president, David Mark; Governors Samuel Ortom, Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed of Benue, Sokoto and Bauchi states, Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido, Liyel Imoke, Segun Mimiko, all former governors of Niger, Jigawa, Cross River and Ondo states. Also, in attendance were House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, National Secretary, Sam Anyanwu, National Organising Secretary, Umar Bature and senator representing the FCT, Philip Aduda.
National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, while addressing members of the committee, before they went into a closed door meeting, said Atiku is interested in consulting widely with stakeholders before deciding on his running mate.
“Our presidential candidate this time has decided to carry everybody along unlike 2019 when he didn’t consult widely in his choice of running mate.”
In a related development, a group of PDP members in the national and state Houses of Assembly, yesterday, stepped up lobbying for the emergence of Wike.
The group, Patriotic Parliamentarians Front (PPF), in a statement by its spokesman, said Wike as Atiku’s running mate would add value to the PDP presidential ticket in the next general election.