Reports indicated that Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike is meeting with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Paris, France.
Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, and other PDP stalwarts loyal to Wike are also attending the meeting.
Wike and his team were said to have travelled out of Nigeria early Monday morning.
“This explains why both Governor Nyesom Wike, who is a leading member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu were both absent at the opening of the ongoing NBA conference in Lagos,” the sources said.
According to sources, Wike and his supporters are horse-trading in the meeting to make a decision whether to back the APC candidate in the 2023 presidential election.
They are also reportedly scheduled to meet with Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
“This meeting is a confirmation that the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, even before the 2022 presidential primaries of the PDP, has been working underground for the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu,” the sources said.
“This move is a clear indication that the Governor Wike-led group has been deceiving the leadership of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in fruitless reconciliation meetings, but has already decided to play the ‘spoiler game’ by destroying the party from within, frustrate the chances of the PDP presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar or when the push comes to shove, move en mass to the APC or Labour Party when the PDP least expected.
“It is important to note here that, part of Governor Wike’s plan ahead of the 2023 general elections, is to use the former governor of Ondo state, Olusegun Mimiko and other surrogates in Katsina, Kebbi, Cross River, Kano and other states to destabilise the campaigns of the PDP, especially the chances of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.”
Recall that Wike and Atiku Abubakar have been embroiled in a game of supremacy following the loss of the PDP presidential primary election by Wike. The choice of Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta State as Atiku’s running mate further worsened the situation. Efforts to reconcile the two political heavy weights have not been successful.
The division in the party worsened after Atiku granted an interview to Arise TV, during which he gave his rationale for overlooking Wike.
Days after the interview, Wike fired back, accusing the party’s presidential candidate of telling “many lies”.
The Rivers governor is reportedly demanding the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, PDP national chairman, as a precondition for peace talks.