JUST IN: Fresh Crisis Rocks PDP Over Atiku’s Running Mate
Information reaching Naija News House says that Fresh Crisis Rocks PDP Over Atiku’s Running Mate
Despite coming first in a list of three key recommendations submitted to the main opposition flagbearer, the Rivers governor’s chances were blunted by allegations that he unfairly targeted Muslims in Port Harcourt when he demolished a mosque in 2019.
Mr Wike strongly denied the allegations, which surfaced that August, saying he had only demolished structures erected without permission from the town planning office. An additional investigation conducted by other groups, including a northern Islamic body, corroborated the governor’s assertion that no mosques were demolished in Port Harcourt or its far-flung creeks in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region.
Mr Wike’s adversaries downplayed the veracity of their claims against him in their protest to Mr Abubakar, hinging their objection instead on how steep the rumour has percolated, according to people familiar with the matter.
“We are not sure he will be able to run a campaign in the north without being asked about the mosque affair,” a source familiar with the deliberations said on Wednesday afternoon. “They are saying the story’s accuracy is not the issue at this point; it has gotten beyond whether it is true or not.”
Mr Wike did not immediately return a request seeking comments about whether or not he has been asked by Mr Abubakar to clarify chatters about his alleged disrespect for northern Muslims, who constitute a large chunk of the Nigerian electorate. A spokesman for Mr Abubakar could not be reached for comments. Our sources spoke under anonymity because they are still playing official roles in the opposition party.
Mr Wike as suggested as the best candidate to pair with Mr Abubakar at next year’s presidential election following a review by a panel of politicians and elected officeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party. He came first during the appraisal against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, second and third, respectively.
Mr Abubakar is expected to pick a running mate among the three politicians, but strong sources have said Mr Okowa or Mr Wike will be the nominee.
Mr Wike has been praised as financially formidable, but Mr Abubakar’s team said the 2023 campaign would require more than money to be successful.
Other objections raised against Mr Wike hinged further on his ambitious nature and fluidity, which critics said might be too difficult to navigate should the party return to power in 2023.
“His inordinate ambition is a serious matter,” our source said. “He is believed to be very dangerous and unstable when it comes to power; that is not something you want to risk at the presidency.”
Mr Abubakar is expected to forward his choice to the electoral office INEC latest by Friday, but several committees personally sanctioned by him are still meeting as of late Wednesday with scheduled sittings for Thursday morning and evening, The Gazette found.
But the ultimate decision will come from Mr Abubakar, since the committees come with people with conflicting interests, said political analyst Sola Olubanjo.
“The politics of this nomination is not one we could expect to work based strictly on recommendations,” Mr Olubanjo said. “We expect the recommendations to play a role, but we believe Mr Abubakar will play a bigger role himself.”