The battle for who gets the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s presidential ticket is tearing the governors apart
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state and former Senate President Bukola Saraki is the main contenders jostling for the ticket ahead of the 2023 elections
Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar seems to be having only the support of his home state governor, Ahmadu Fintri.
The decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to throw open its presidential ticket has turned the race for the presidential ticket of the opposition party into a three-man race. Vanguard reports that the three aspirants leading the pack are Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki and Nyesom Wike.
Remarkably the party’s governors are divided between Wike and Saraki with the 2019 candidate, Atiku bereft of the support of any governor apart from his home governor, Ahmadu Fintri of Adamawa state.
Saraki's support booms
The unexpected support for Saraki according to party sources flows from the support of some South-South governors and from the piercing move by his campaign to cut down on Wike.
Wike's ambition a threat to the North, support unshaken
Wike, however, continues to be the major threat against the Northern bid to sustain the ticket. Despite the multiplication of aspirants from the South, Wike’s support among some core PDP states that have identified with him has remained almost unshaken.
The two southeast governors are known to be behind him despite the fact that the majority of South-South governors have not plugged into his campaign.
Those not backing
A majority of those not backing Wike it was gathered are pledging their support for the Saraki campaign. Outside the South-South, the battle between the aspirants in the Southwest is being influenced by old alliances with Atiku getting a sizeable hold in Ondo through his old alliance with the immediate past governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.
However, Wike through Governor Seyi Makinde is also making inroads into the state leaving little room for Saraki.
PDP's major aspirant
The three major aspirants are also sharing support across the North with Atiku getting strong support, especially in his Northeast through years of relationship with the political leaders of the region. However, many of them are also tilting towards Wike and Saraki in significant measures largely on account of the support provided by the Rivers state governor in sustaining the party machines over the years.
Wike is also strong in Gombe whose immediate past governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo is a constant feature in his consultations in most parts of the North.
The North-central contender
Indeed, the North-central is a pitched battle between Wike and Saraki who had earlier been endorsed by the PDP leaders of the region. While the Atiku sphere is minimized in the Northwest, Governor Aminu Tambuwal is of reckoning in Sokoto, Zamfara and Jigawa where his campaign is being pushed by former Governor Sule Lamido.
Legit.ng gathered that Wike has been endorsed by the party leadership in Kano who recently pledged to support power shift to the South. The chairman of the state chapter of the party, Shehu Wada Sagagi, speaking when party stakeholders received Wike said:
“We know as a matter of principle, and all of us here agree that presidency should move to the South.
That is a fair deal, because when in 2019 the presidency was zoned to the north, no any southern aspirant emerge to say that he will contest, unlike what is happening now. But I am sure with the way you are going, you will defeat all those evil forces that are planning evil against you.”
That assertion nonetheless, the Saraki Campaign it was gathered is also hoping to reap from splinter groups outside the mainstream that did not move with Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso to the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.
Saraki it was gathered is hoping to reap from the links to Kwakwanso as he also hopes to reap from links to Senator Marafa and Governor Abdulaziz Yari in Zamfara State.
2023: Tambuwal's private meeting with Buhari sparks defection rumours
In another development, PDP presidential aspirant, Governor Aminu Tambuwal recently had a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. Though the purpose and outcome of the meeting is yet to unraveled but many has termed it to be a defection attempt. According to reports, Tambuwal maybe defecting to APC from PDP due to the decision of the northern elders of the PDP choosing Saraki and Bala over him.