By G9ija

Following  the election of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the 2023 presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, some governors elected on the platform of the party are being tipped as his running mate.

Two PDP governors, who fought for the PDP ticket with Atiku are among those being considered for the vice presidency slot.They are Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom). Another PDP governor in contention is Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

In a testy battle for the PDP presidential flag, on Saturday, Atiku, who got the backing of another presidential aspirant and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, polled 371 votes to beat Wike, who garnered 237 votes.

Udom Emmanuel scored 38 votes to come fourth behind former Senate President and two-time governor of Kwara State, Dr Bukola Saraki, who got 70 votes.

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State scored 20 votes and former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, polled 14 votes.Inside sources in the PDP told Vanguard that one of Wike, Okowa, Udom Emmanuel and Anyim could be considered as running mate to Atiku. 

“If Mr Peter Obi did not leave PDP for Labour Party, he would be in contention to be picked as running mate to Atiku again as was done in 2019. In his absence, Wike, Okowa, and Udom are likely to be considered. The PDP hierarchy will meet to decide on this in consultation with critical stakeholders of the party.

The party will also look at who the All Progressives Congress, APC will pick as its candidate.“Now that the presidential primary is over, you saw how peaceful and transparent it was. Our leaders want to get all hands on deck to rescue Nigerians from the bad leadership of the APC in the last seven years,” the party leader said.Asked what would happen to other presidential aspirants, the source said: “PDP is a big family with a big umbrella.

There will be room for everyone. If he is willing, Tambuwal can be given a senatorial ticket and if he wins, he could become the next senate president if Atiku wins. Dr Saraki can become the Chief of Staff to the President or SGF. All these things will be thought through to ensure harmony.”

Okowa, Obaseki, Anyim, Obi, Tinubu, others hail Atiku’s emergenceMeanwhile, notable Nigerians including Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, presidential aspirants, Senator Pius Anyim and Chief Dele Momodu; former Anambra State governors, Messrs Peter Obi and Jim Nwobodo, former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, yesterday, hailed the emergence of Alhaji Abubakar as presidential candidate of the PDP.This came as Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, yesterday, boasted that if he clinches the Presidential ticket of All Progressives Congress, APC, he will defeat Alhaji Atiku Abubakar before 12 noon of the 2023 presidential day.

Governor Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifejika, felicitated with the former Vice-President on his victory, saying:  “If PDP is to win and rescue Nigerians from the maladministration of the APC-led Federal Government, all hands must be on deck to achieve this mission.

 “I congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on his emergence as the presidential candidate of our great party at the PDP Presidential Primaries. “Now, all former aspirants, leaders and all other stakeholders in our party must come together to liberate our citizens from the shackles of bad governance of APC and give them a better life and country.” 

Atiku’s emergence has enthroned a transparent process —ObasekiAlso, Governor Obaseki, who congratulated Atiku on his victory, hailed other aspirants who submitted themselves to a transparent democratic exercise that has set the PDP as a worthy example to all other political parties in the country.“I heartily congratulate Atiku Abubakar on his victory at the PDP Presidential primary election.

The keenly-contested process of picking a flag-bearer for our great party has again shown the PDP as a party that has enthroned a transparent internal democratic process which is what our nation now desperately needs for its much-desired rebirth.“I also hail all the other aspirants who have submitted themselves to this transparent democratic exercise that has set the PDP as a worthy example to all other political parties in the country.”

However, the Nigeria Equity group has described the emergence of former Vice President as the PDP presidential candidate as “potentially dangerous for presidency to remain in the North.”The group, in a statement by its conveners, Dr Emeka Nwosu and Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak, urged the APC to search for a Southern Christian through consensus, for peaceful coexistence.

The statement reads: “We wish to draw attention to the fact that the Nigeria Equity Group, NEG, has campaigned vigorously for equity, fairness and inclusion in our body polity.

“In our several interventions over the years, we have appealed to the major political parties to be mindful of the complex heterogeneous Nigerian society and to work out a political solution that will be fair, inclusive and equitable to all.

“In this case, we believe what is just and fair is for presidential powers to be zoned to the South, specifically to a southern Christian, after the eight-year rule of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim. We consider it to be very inequitable, unfair and potentially dangerous for the Presidency to remain in the North after President Buhari’s tenure.

“We will therefore mobilize Nigerians of goodwill everywhere against this act of arbitrariness by the PDP. We note that one man’s ambition cannot be greater than the security and stability of our country.”