Wike, Other G5 Members Absent As Atiku Meets Incoming, Outgoing PDP Governors

The rift within the upper echelons of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears unresolved as five governors under the aegis of the G5 were conspicuously absent at a meeting of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, with current and soon-to-be-inaugurated governors.

“This afternoon, I joined other party leaders at the welcome reception for newly elected and returning governors, as well as send-forth for outgoing governors of our great party, the @OfficialPDPNig,” Atiku tweeted on Thursday.

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“While congratulating the outgoing governors for having flown the flag of our party high with pride, I urge the incoming ones to set the pace for good governance in their respective states—as the hallmark of the PDP.”

However, those absent included governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) — the G5 members.

The falling-out between Atiku and the G5 began after the May 2022 presidential primary of the party, which saw Atiku emerge as the nominee, widely considered a contravention of the party’s constitution and zoning principle.

With President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner and All Progressives Congress (APC) member, on the verge of reaching the constitutional limit of two four-year terms in office, the zoning principle dictates that his successor should come from the South.

Though southern aspirant Wike was considered a frontrunner going into the presidential primary, his loss earned sympathy from other top party members who saw injustice in the former vice president winning the ticket.

The five governors banded together in their struggle for “equity, fairness and justice”. Among their demands was that the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, step down to resolve the complication of the presidential candidate and top party chief being from the same region.

The demand was not heeded. Still, in the lead-up to the February 25 presidential election, the G5 — also known as the Integrity Group — remained unequivocal in their refusal to support Atiku, a northerner, on the PDP’s zoning principles.

While there are strong indications that Wike and Makinde pitched their tents with APC’s Bola Tinubu in their respective states, Ortom, also a northerner, endorsed and all but campaigned for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.

Tinubu went on to win the election with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaring him the President-elect, although Atiku and other candidates are challenging the declaration at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

The former vice president’s loss has been partly attributed to the conflict between him and the aggrieved PDP governors.


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