Wike’s UK meeting with Obasanjo, Obi, Atiku heightens 2023 puzzle

Wike’s UK meeting with Obasanjo, Obi, Atiku heightens 2023 puzzle
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu (left); former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke; Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; Presidential Candidate for Labour Party, Peter Obi and Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde during a strategy meeting in London…yesterday.

 

• PDP confident of amicable reconciliation

• Atiku orders Lamido, others to halt verbal warfare over Wike

• Strategic meeting to unite Osinbajo, Amaechi, other APC presidential aspirants in the works

Exactly a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo hosted presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in his Abeokuta home, he, yesterday, led the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, to meet the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, in London, in what political watchers believe is high-stake negotiation ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Wike attended the meeting with his allies, including Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, among others.

This came 48 hours after Tinubu’s London meeting with Wike and associates became public knowledge and hours before another strategic meeting between Wike and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, also in London.

Last night, the long-awaited meeting between Atiku and Wike finally held in London. Details of the meeting between the two PDP gladiators were not disclosed but it centered around reconciliation, the need to move the party forward and seeking Wike’s support for Atiku in the forthcoming general election.

The meeting, which had been long expected since after the duo fell out in aftermath of the PDP presidential primary, had four other PDP governors in attendance.

Present at the meeting was Governor Ahmed Umaru Fintiri of Atiku’s home state of Adamawa, and the trio of Wike’s allies, Ortom, Makinde and Ikpeazu.

Earlier, an official of a support group for Tinubu had disclosed that both Asiwaju and Wike met in London to discuss a “strategic alliance ahead of the presidential election and acknowledged the need to work together to ensure that Tinubu becomes president in 2023.”

Although details of yesterday’s twin meetings were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, it was gathered that they were not unconnected with preparations ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Before Thursday’s meeting in London, there had been apprehension in the PDP that the crisis between Atiku and Wike may affect its chances in the presidential elections.

Also, party leaders were already expressing concern about the growing relationship between Wike and influential members of the ruling APC, describing the development as worrisome. Wike is yet to throw his weight behind Atiku and there are fears he may work against the PDP.

Yesterday’s meeting of the former president with Obi, whose profile is on the rise as a leading candidate, further sent jitters among PDP stalwarts.

Also, Obasanjo’s fondness for Obi is no longer a secret, as Obi had on several occasions met with Obasanjo. Wike’s meeting with Obasanjo and Obi comes amid a crisis rocking the PDP with Wike and Atiku still at loggerheads despite moves for reconciliation.

The two men constituted separate committees to represent them at the reconciliation talk. While the first planned meeting failed due to failure to settle for a location, the second meeting – which was held last week – was deadlocked.

Meanwhile, Atiku has urged members and supporters of the PDP to desist from making statements capable of compromising efforts towards strengthening the party.

In a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, Atiku said the appeal was necessary to call the attention of party leaders and members to the diversionary antics of the APC, which, in manufacturing a false impression of division within the PDP, aims to hoodwink the public to overlook the failures of the ruling party.

He said while Nigerians look up to the PDP to oust APC, “this expectation is the reason why the APC is jittery of their impending fall in next year’s general election. It is also the very reason the ruling party is manipulating the political process to create a sense of division in the PDP.

“Because they know that there is nothing to campaign with from their records of performance in office, the APC has elected to play the role of the devil’s advocate, regaling in celebration of their imaginary invincibility upon a fraudulent claim that the PDP is divided.

“It is for this reason that appeal to every true member of the PDP and anyone who truly wishes the success of the PDP presidential candidate to not fall for the antics of the APC in making statements that could give credence to the false claim of divisions in the PDP.

“All the leaders of the party, including especially the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike and all governors of the PDP are united in working for the victory of the PDP in next year’s general election across board.

“What is at stake in the next year’s election is the future of Nigeria and all leaders and members of the PDP are on the same page in the mission to rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of the APC.” He said all party leaders, including Wike and PDP governors are united in working for the victory of the party in next year’s election.

MEANWHILE, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and other APC presidential aspirants are expected at a strategic meeting in Abuja ahead of the elections.

This is coming barely three months after they went head-to-head at the presidential primary that eventually produced Tinubu as the party’s candidate. This was disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday by the media team of one of the presidential aspirants, Nicholas Felix.

Felix said the strategic meeting was to brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies that would carry every Nigerian along and address the challenges facing the country.

He said: “The special invitation to the strategic meeting of all 2023 APC presidential aspirants, which will be held at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, on Wednesday, August 31 by 2:00p.m. is to brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies that will carry every Nigerian along and address the challenges bedeviling our country.”

Others expected at the meeting are: former Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; former Ogun State governor and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun; a serving senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former Zamfara governor, Ahmad Sani; former Imo State governor and serving senator, Rochas Okorocha.

Also expected are former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; fiery cleric, Tunde Bakare; former Information Minister, Ikeobasi Mokelu; businessman, Tein Jack-Rich and the only female among them, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.

Felix noted that five governors: Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) are also expected at the parley.

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