The continuous silence of the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike following the nomination of Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has reportedly left an unsettling feeling in the party and its leadership.
The dispute over the running mate position is also dividing the ranks of the main opposition in the South, Daily Trust reports.
A source informed the publication that Wike’s silence and refusal to meet Atiku and his emissaries especially in the face of the rising opposition from Labour Party and the All Progressives Congress has made PDP jittery.
Wike’s allies in the party Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Samuel Ortom of Benue and former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose have also shown their dissatisfaction with Atiku and his running mate Okowa.
Some sources close to Wike have said that he is a strong political force that should not be undermined.
“If you watch very carefully you will find out that the governor’s private residence has become a beehive of activities with high profile politicians visiting. First to visit was David Umahi of Ebonyi State followed by Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi and Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State. The visits by these top politicians show that Wike is a strong force in the Nigerian political equation,” he said
The source added that the Bauchi State Governor was sent by Atiku and his group to appeal to Wike not to leave PDP while Ebonyi Governor and Obi visited to see how they could woo the governor to join their political parties.
The choice of Okowa has also left a polarized effect on the southern region. While party’s chieftains in states like Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Anambra and Imo have little or no resistance to the emergence of Okowa, those from Rivers, Cross River, Enugu, Abia, Oyo and Ekiti are said to have outrightly rejected Atiku’s choice.
However, it has been learnt that Atiku and Wike might likely meet before the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.