2023: Atiku, Obi hold talks with Wike in London

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubarkar and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, yesterday met with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on next year’s poll.

Atiku, who was on a visit to France, left Paris, the capital for London, to confer with Wike, following tips that the Rivers governor was holding consultations with politicians outside the main opposition party.

However, Obi’s meeting with Wike, according to sources, was facilitated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who urged him to support the LP candidate in the 2023 election.

But, Wike was said to be non-committal because his loyalists and strategists were not disposed to the agenda.

They were said to be skeptical that Obi may not go far.

It was also learnt that Atiku left France to discuss with Wike in London, following the leakage of the governor’s high-level political consultations.

Atiku was said to be jittery for allegedly not controlling three key battleground states of Lagos, Kano and Rivers.

But Wike told Atiku that he cannot make any commitment until he has consulted his strategists and members of his team.

Wike’s teams have met with Atiku’s representives many times since the presidential primary in May. But they have failed to reach an agreement.

Wike and his supporters want Senator Iyorchia Ayu out as national chairman. They have consistently claimed that equity has been sacrificed because the presidential candidate and the national chairman are from the same region. But, Atiku and his backers said the demand is unreasonable.

According to the source, who spoke in confidence, the meeting between Obasanjo and Wike focused on the 2023 presidential election.

The source said: “The London meeting was a mind and mood gauging session between a father and a son. Obasanjo wanted collaboration between Obi and Wike in line with the ex-President’s passion for equity, justice and power shift to the South.

“Some of us saw the London meeting as exploratory talks before some of our leaders pitch their tents with their choice candidates.

“Although Wike was non-committal, most members of his team and strategists favour alliance with the APC standard bearer who has a robust chance of winning the presidential poll than Obi.

“Wike group believes that it cannot leave PDP for a party which may not be able to form the next government. Their preference is Tinubu of the APC.”

It was gathered that Atiku cut short a trip to France to have audience with Wike in London because his structure was not firm in three swing states of Lagos, Kano and Rivers.

A member of the inner caucus of Wike’s team said: “We were surprised to see Atiku dashing to London from France for a meeting with Wike. Contrary to the claim of ex-Governor Sule Lamido, the PDP presidential candidate knows what is at stake without being in control of some swing states.

“All these shuttles would not have been necessary if Atiku accepts the condition for peace by asking the National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to step down for a Southern candidate.

“PDP presidential candidate seems to have struck an accord with Ayu, which might be unknown to many party leaders. He finds it difficult to address Ayu’s factor in a decisive manner.

“Yet, Ayu’s exit is the minimum demand we can accept. There is no way we can cohabit in PDP with Ayu in charge. Then, how do you go into an election without substantial concessions to the South?”

On Atiku’s meeting with Wike, the source added: “The governor only told the PDP candidate that he will consult his strategists and other members of his team.

“Atiku left the London meeting with Wike with politically wobbled legs because he did not make any concession. It is left to Wike’s group to prove a point that it is politically relevant.”





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