Sources has revealed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is intensifying efforts to get the support of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Southern Nigeria at the 2023 presidential poll.
Gatekeepers News reports that contrary to reports that the duo met in France on Tuesday, multiple sources confirmed that Tinubu and Wike met in London, the United Kingdom, on Monday as part of moves to work together ahead of the election.
PUNCH confirmed that some APC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors also attended the crucial meeting.
Before the Monday meeting, the ruling party had attempted to cash in on the crisis in the opposition party following the outcome of the presidential primary which was won by former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, leaving Wike aggrieved.
On July 8, three APC governors, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State visited Rivers Governor at his Rumueprikon country home in Port Harcourt, as part of moves to lure Wike.
Also present at the meeting was a former Ekiti governor and PDP member, Ayodele Fayose.
The crisis deepened after the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, emerged as Atiku’s running mate and a reconciliation panel was set up to resolve the crisis between Atiku and Wike.
After several postponements, the panel met Wike in Port Harcourt last Friday but the meeting ended in a deadlock following the insistence of the Rivers State governor on the removal of Iyorchia Ayu as the National Chairman of the PDP, over the role he played in the emergence of the Atiku as the party flag-bearer.
Sources at the reconciliation meeting disclosed that Wike’s representatives at the meeting said Ayu could not be an impartial chairman because he took sides during the special convention.
It was further revealed that failure of the reconciliation panel to appease Wike had put Atiku’s peace moves on a shaky ground, opening doors for Tinubu to woo the governor.
Confirming the meeting between Wike and the APC presidential candidate, a source in Tinubu’s camp said the parley was held in London.
The source said, “Governors Sanwo-Olu and Fayemi were equally part of the delegation. Contrary to what some online media are speculating, the meeting was held in London yesterday (Monday).’’
He was however, unable to confirm if an agreement was struck, because the full details had not been disclosed to him.
The source added, “Don’t forget that Sanwo-Olu and Fayemi earlier went with Fayose and Akeredolu to see Wike in Port Harcourt on behalf of our principal. Definitely, something is going on between them. However, I may not be in a position to tell whether there was a sort of MoU or agreement between them.’’
It was also gathered that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, were part of the meeting.
A government official in Makurdi who wished to stay anonymous said, “The governor left Nigeria on Sunday and is expected back on Thursday.”
Meanwhile, a PDP chieftain in Rivers state confirmed that Wike travelled out of the country on Monday morning, adding that his destination was unknown.
He said, “Definitely the governor is not in the country. Certainly, he is in Europe but where exactly, I do not know. What I can tell you is that I know the governor usually visits Spain because of the ties the Rivers State Government under his leadership has with the Real Madrid Football Club.
“I mean you know too well that we have a Real Madrid Football Academy here in Port Harcourt. So that explains it.
“I know there are speculations here and there that he is in France or Britain and all that, but I don’t know where the media vet all those.
“Whether he is meeting with Bola Tinubu or not, Governor Wike has not told us he is leaving the PDP. But for sure I know he is not in the country. Maybe when he returns, we will know where he travelled to.”
On the other hand, there are speculations that Atiku is out of the country and is planning to meet with Wike in order to resolve the crisis tearing the PDP apart.
However, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, confirmed that his principal travelled to Europe “for a business meeting,’’ after attending the 62nd Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Lagos, on Monday.
Meanwhile, PDP, Board of Trustees, BoT Chairman, Walid Jibrin had on Sunday while featuring on a Channels television Programme ‘Sunday Politics’ said it was not right for the party’s Presidential Candidate, the National Chairman and the BoT chairman, to hail from the same region.
Following this, Jibrin in a statement on Tuesday, said, ‘’Based on my earlier statement that the PDP cannot produce a northern president, national chairman, BoT chairman all from the north for the 2023 presidential elections. I still maintain my stand on that statement.
“The PDP is a party that caters for all Nigerians, it’s not sectional but loved by all Nigerians. As the PDP BoT chairman, I must say the truth and nothing but the truth no matter anyone’s criticism. I do not fear anyone but God and the true agenda of our party.
“I will add that I stand strongly on my toes; I have been a true member of PDP since its inception in 1998. Today, I’m one of the trustees’ members of the party who remained in the party since 1998 that never changed to any party passing all positions in the PDP.’’