After yet another failed reconciliation attempt between the feuding PDP camps of Governor Nyesom Wike and presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, the Governor of Rivers State has reportedly met with the APC presidential candidate, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in London, United Kingdom.
The move has strengthened talks of a possible alliance between an aggrieved Wike and Bola Tinubu that would all but affirm the defeat of the PDP at the polls in 2023, particularly after the predicted loss of the southeast region where Atiku would have otherwise shored up the numbers had Peter Obi not thrown his hat in the ring.
Sources are saying that Governor Wike attended the meeting in the company of his Benue and Oyo counterpart, Governor Samuel Ortom and Governor Seyi Makinde respectively. Popular singer and nephew of newly-elected PDP Governor of Osun State, Davido was also said to be involved in the meeting.
Contrary to other reports that the meeting was held in Paris, France, we have been reliably told that it was only the rendezvous point before all parties proceeded to London, United Kingdom, where a prolonged negotiation and horse-trading took place, with each party highlighting their concerns and obtaining assurances on key priorities in exchange for support.
Governor Seyi Makinde, a staunch ally of Wike, reportedly pledged his full support if assurances are provided that he would be availed a ‘level playing ground’ in the Oyo State governorship election scheduled to hold two weeks after the presidential election and in which he will be vying for another term.
Recall that Governor Makinde had weeks ago rejected Atiku’s offer to lead his campaign as the Director General (DG), reiterating his continued support for Nyesom Wike who was angered by the alleged conspiracy that contributed to his loss at the PDP primary and Atiku’s dismissive comments when he was skipped as running mate, despite earlier assurances and receiving the nod of a committee set up to recommend a choice.
One of the sources who confirmed the meeting anonymously said: “Yes, we left Nigeria to meet with Tinubu on Monday. We initially thought it would hold in France because that was where Tinubu went the last time he left the country. We however got signal close to our time of departure that we should proceed somewhere else.”
“Governors Ortom and Makinde who have been supporters of Wike from the beginning were also on the trip,” the source confirmed.
On the subject of the meeting, he said: “Yes, the discussion was centered on the 2023 election. The Tinubu camp knows how important votes from Rivers State and are looking for how to get Wike to work for them.”
Governor Nyesom Wike has maintained that he would remain in the PDP, even though the expectation is that he would use his influence to wreck the party’s ship in the state and work determinedly for the emergence of Bola Tinubu of the APC. Already, there are reports of his trusted lieutenants publicly dissociating themselves from Atiku’s ambition.
The latest reconciliation attempt was deadlocked after both sides could not agree on the fate of the National Chairman of the party, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu. While Wike is demanding his ouster, Atiku’s camp considers such an outcome an acceptance of defeat, querying why the Rivers Governor would dictate the leadership of the party.