How the PDP committee chose WikeThe source said: “The panel initially trimmed the list to three — Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa, and Udom Emmanuel. When the names were subjected to further scrutiny and put to vote, 16 out of 19 voted in Wike’s favour. With his track record of loyalty to the party and performance at our just-concluded presidential primaries, most of us felt this is the right thing to do.”Another party source told the Vanguard that the party equally took a cue from the United States where “Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as running mate after he defeated her in the Democratic Party presidential primary in a bid to unite the party.”
Wike scored 237 against the 371 delegate votes at the PDP presidential primary secured by Atiku, who won the nomination.
However, the final decision on the eventual running mate remains the prerogative of the party candidate who is currently out of the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, expressed confidence that the party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will on or before Friday, present a running mate Nigerians will relate well with and vote into office.
We’ll name running mate in 48 hours — Ayu
Ayu gave the assurance in his opening remarks at a meeting with members of the consultative committee set up to assist Atiku to choose a running mate.
He explained that the meeting was in furtherance of consultations aimed at arriving at a choice that Nigerians would be glad to elect into office.
Ayu said: “The presidential candidate of our party would have been here but this morning he suddenly dashed somewhere, he apologised and if he comes early, he will join us but we will go ahead with the assignment he has given us.
“The candidate wrote to us as the administrative arm of the party on the choice of his running mate. Various organs of the party are well represented in his committee, NWC, governors forum, National Assembly, and former governors who have put forward their candidates
“This deliberation will be chaired by my Deputy, Ambassador Umaru Damagum. I wish you a successful deliberation and I hope you come up with a conclusion between tomorrow and Friday. Our presidential candidate this time has decided to carry everybody along, unlike in 2019 when he didn’t consult widely in his choice of running mate.”
The meeting had in attendance the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Aminu Tambuwal; Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed; Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; former Senate President, David Mark; former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko; former Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke; Senator Philip Aduda; Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagun; and Mr Ndudi Elumelu among others.
Group roots for Wike
In a related development, a group of parliamentarians under the aegis of the Patriotic Parliamentarians Front, PPF, a pressure group within the PDP, has advised the party to pick Wike as its vice-presidential candidate.
Already, two members of the PDP in the House of Representatives – former Deputy Minority Leader, Honourable Chukwuka Wilson Onyema and Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi State) have started mobilizing others towards ensuring the emergence of an Atiku/Wike ticket.
PPF’s spokesman, Alhaji Mohammed Maikano who revealed this in Abuja, said progress is already being made in the North with the mobilization for Southern votes now a major concern.
He disclosed that objective assessments made by the group deeply assert the significance of South-South votes for PDP’s 2023 electoral victory, adding that there is no doubt that Governor Wike will be key to the party’s 2023 election game plan.
Maikano said: “Our calculation based on exhaustive studies, is that no one in the entire South-South geopolitical zone can surpass the votes and other strategic resources that can be mobilised towards achieving victory for Atiku/PDP in the 2023 elections. In past elections, Governor Nyesom Wike had defied great odds and consistently delivered the highest quantum of votes for PDP in the entire South-South geopolitical zone.
“Governor Nyesom Wike’s formidable networks and resourcefulness made a very impressive impact in his first attempt for the presidency; his extensive networks across the South-South, South-East and all states being controlled by non-PDP governors add to the fact that he resolutely kept PDP alive when other governors were hesitant.”