There are strong indications that the five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), known as G5 governors may endorse Peter Obi as their preferred presidential candidate on January 5.
The governors who are presently meeting in London, United Kingdom are said to be considering following the advice of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that power should shift to the Southeast in 2023, according to a report by the Punch.
Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu states and some political heavyweights from the South had parted ways with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, over his alleged refusal to prevail on the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to resign after Atiku, a northerner clinched the presidential ticket of the party.
The governors insisted that Ayu’s resignation would ensure a balance in the leadership of the main opposition party.
Although Atiku and the governors held several meetings in Nigeria and the UK, there was no headway as they insisted on Ayu’s removal from office as a precondition for peace.
However, in deciding on the presidential candidate to support, a top source informed Punch that the governors might heed Obasanjo’s counsel that they should endorse the Labour Party presidential standard bearer, Peter Obi.
The former President had met with the governors in London in August where he reportedly lobbied for Obi.
Giving a background on the factors that might sway their decision, an aide to one of the governors stated, “The governors are considering Obasanjo’s advice that the Presidency should come to the South in 2023. Obasanjo has advised them to support Obi because he believes that if the Presidency comes to the South, it should go to the South East.
“That is why at their last meeting in London, he lobbied for Obi because justice and fairness demand that South-East should produce the next president.’’
Asked by Punch when the governors, known as Integrity Group would unveil their preferred candidate, the source said, “From all indications, the governors will announce their preferred candidate next week. If there is no major event before January 5 when Makinde will kick off his campaign, they will make the announcement on that day in Ibadan.’’
An aide to another governor dismissed reports that the group were divided over the choice of the presidential candidate to endorse.
According to the source, at the London meeting on Tuesday, the governors agreed that since Atiku failed to prevail on Ayu to step down, they should work for a southern candidate.
Speaking on the alleged cracks in the rank of the governors, the source stated, “Not really, but they have different approaches to the issue. Some of them have nothing against Atiku. But none of the governors will come out to speak against the joint decision of the group that the presidency should come to the South. If Ayu has stepped down, they would have supported Atiku.’’
But other sources are insisting that the unity of the Integrity Group may be hanging by a thread, as there seems to be a crack in the fold.
The contention, it was learnt, involves who to support between Obi and the All Progressives Congress standard bearer, Bola Tinubu.
Wike had said at several fora that nobody can break the ranks of the G5, adding that attempts to do so by their detractors had collapsed.
It was learnt that the ambition of Ortom, who is gunning for the Senate and Makinde, who is seeking a second term in office may be hanging in the balance as a result of their faceoff with Ayu.
Besides this, the Benue State governor had not hidden his love and preference for the former Anambra State governor whom he said could deliver Nigeria.
Following moves by the governors to dump Atiku, the leadership of the party said they were at liberty to do so.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Abdullahi said going into the polls a divided house might not be ruled out, saying, “Let’s go to the polls like that. We can’t exhaust all the options, anyways.”