The embattled presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has offered former Rivers Governor and erstwhile Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, a position on his team as the leader of the PDP in the Rivers State following the recent escalation of his protracted feud with the Governor of the State, Nyesom Wike.
Podium Reporters got to know from an unconfirmed source that PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar held a secret meeting with Amaechi last night in which the former revealed his intention to neutralize an implacable Wike by drafting in the former Governor of the State whose political career kick-started in the PDP before a similar conflict with former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his wife Patience Jonathan led him to join the APC.
Sources remain shy on whether or not Amaechi took the offer, but an ominous sign surfaced earlier today with the exit of his longtime political ally and confidant, Chris Finebone, from the APC. Mr. Finebone confirmed his defection from the APC to the PDP on social media with a post expressing support for the Governorship candidate of the party.
Prior to his exit, Mr. Finebone was the Publicity Secretary of the APC for years and had authored scathing criticism of Governor Nyesom Wike, ridiculing his governance style and political approach. He is reputed as one of the henchmen of Rotimi Amaechi, an assertion affirmed by PDP figures who put him down as the mouthpiece of the former Minister.
His entry into the PDP is seen as a precursor to the planned arrival of Rotimi Amaechi who reportedly has the backing of candidate Atiku Abubakar to upstage Governor Nyesom Wike and neutralize his threat to the ambition of Mr. Atiku who dreads the political consequences of the internal sabotage Wike looks set to cause ahead of the elections next year, sources say.
Despite the PDP’s attempt to reconcile Mr. Abubakar and Governor Wike through a reconciliation committee, the efforts have yielded little progress as the latter resumed his war of words with the candidate and gave life to rumors of an imminent defection with open fraternization with Governors and key stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in his ongoing project commissioning rounds.
Governor Wike was also said to have filed a suit in court challenging Mr. Abubakar’s victory in the PDP presidential primary election, although he has come out to deny the claim, saying that the time window for such contention had lapsed. He has however maintained his dissatisfaction with the conduct and outcome of the primary, as well as statements credited to the candidate after the event in which he berated the Governor as incompatible and out of control while explaining why he was skipped as running mate.