Amid the wrangling within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Quest Times runs the rule on the five (5) incumbent governors within the PDP fold who ‘have withdrawn their support’ for the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Recall that the PDP presidential flag-bearer on May 29, 2022, was declared winner of the keenly contested PDP presidential primary election, after polling the highest number of votes to defeat his closest rival, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, among others.
Following this, some aggrieved members of the party have been unable to make peace with an Atiku candidacy, insisting that his emergence flies in the face of fair representation, equity and regional balance.
According to these aggrieved members, the ticket should have been ceded to the south on a platter and not the other way around. They argue that it is unfair and an aberration for the standard-bearer and Chairman of the party to hail from the same northern region.
Below are the five (5) PDP governors who have through speeches, body language, actions or inactions, inferred that they are working against Atiku’s presidential ambition:
1. Nyesom Wike
Fondly called “Emperor” by his admirers, the Rivers State Governor has on numerous occasions kicked against the emergence of Atiku as PDP standard-bearer. He is also one of the leading voices against an Atiku presidency. He has been particularly loud about his disdain for Atiku.
Wike has even gone as far as removing photographs of the PDP presidential candidate from campaign materials in his state; and emphatically stated his reasons for doing so during an interaction with journalists recently.
2. Okezie Ikpeazu
Abia State Governor Ikpeazu is one of a handful of PDP governors who have fallen out with their party in the aftermath of the primary election which produced Atiku as the presidential candidate.
These governors were supporters of Governor Wike of Rivers who polled second in the primary election. They have since demanded the resignation of party Chairman Iyorchia Ayu for allegedly helping Atiku to nick the presidential ticket.
Even though Ikpeazu has affirmed that Atiku is his presidential candidate, there are strong indications that he has been going the Wike way by refusing to align with the PDP presidential candidate since the commencement of the 2023 political campaigns.
3. Seyi Makinde
Makinde is an unalloyed Wike loyalist and a member of the Wike group.
Despite openly declaring that he would rally behind anyone who eventually emerged as the party’s presidential candidate, Makinde is one of the PDP governors believed to be working against the candidacy of Atiku, on the heels of the internal crisis rocking the party.
The Oyo governor is also among the PDP governors calling for the removal of Ayu as the party’s chairman.
4. Udom Emmanuel
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom is not exempt from the list of incumbent PDP governors working against the candidacy of the former vice president.
Recall that Udom, in the run up to the PDP presidential primary contest, purportedly denied Atiku access to delegates in his state. Though he refuted the rumours at the time, Udom hasn’t come out to throw his weight behind an Atiku presidency like most party heavyweights have done.
5. Samuel Ortom
Just like Wike, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State says Atiku did not consult him when picking representatives from his state into the campaign council, a development he considers disrespectful to his office and status.
He has therefore withdrawn his support for Atiku, stating tongue-in-cheek this week that “when the election comes, we’d do the election according to the election.”