The Nation Newspaper
Worried by the danger posed to his ambition in next year’s presidential election by the camp of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has offered the governor a new deal.
Both men met on Thursday in Abuja in a fresh bid to patch up their differences, with Atiku promising to support Wike’s own presidential bid in 2027 if he (Wike) agreed to sheathe his sword and support him (Atiku) in the 2023 election.
The duo and their supporters have been locked in a face-off since June when the former vice president overlooked Wike and picked Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
Previous efforts to reconcile them had failed to yield any positive result.
Atiku even appeared to have decided to ignore Wike, and proceeded with his campaign while the Rivers State Governor and his supporters threatened to have nothing to do with the Atiku presidential campaign.
Five of the 11 state governors elected on the platform of PDP are in Wike’s camp, leading to a major crack in the party.
However, a fresh effort brought them together on Thursday where Atiku pleaded with Wike to prevail on his camp to join the campaign train of PDP.
Sources close to the meeting said the PDP presidential candidate offered to back Wike for the presidency in 2027.
Wike was non-committal to Atiku because of past breaches of commitment, it was gathered.
The governor reportedly said he would consult his group and revert to Atiku.
Sources also told The Nation that Wike was not excited about the 2027 prospect in view of a similar promise made by Atiku to the Igbo during a meeting with PDP stakeholders in Enugu earlier this week.
According to investigation, Atiku met with Wike behind closed doors at the governor’s personal residence in Asokoro District in Abuja.
A source, who was privy to what transpired, said: “Again, Atiku extended the olive branch to Wike. He pleaded with the governor to look at the bigger picture of winning the 2023 poll.
“He asked Wike to prevail on his group to join the PDP campaign train.
“Atiku promised to be fair to all PDP members despite the differences of the past few weeks which were caused by the outcome of the party’s presidential primaries.”
Another highly-placed source said Atiku offered to “support Wike in 2027 if he gives necessary support to him in the ongoing campaign.
“Wike was not forthcoming and he avoided an outright commitment to Atiku’s request to be part of the PDP campaign team.
“He told Atiku that he would go and consult with his team and get back to him.
“So, he has kept Atiku in suspense again. We don’t know what the governor and his strategists will say.”
A source in Wike’s camp said: “The governor wasn’t excited about the 2027 poll prospect because he made the Igbo a similar offer in Enugu a few days ago.
“The major challenge which Wike felt Atiku did not address was trust deficit. Our camp is of the opinion that Atiku doesn’t walk the talk on any agreement or issue because of pressure here and there.
“This crisis would not have reached this level if Atiku had kept faith with London talks and unwritten agreement with Wike.
“Our group will soon meet on the latest overtures from Atiku.”