As the search for who will emerge as his running mate continues, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will meet the PDP presidential candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, today in Abuja, on the way forward.
The meeting which is scheduled to hold in Transcorp, LEADERSHIP learnt will be part of moves by the BoT to help the party’s presidential candidate choose his running mate.
Recall that the BoT said it would assist in providing a suitable running mate from the southern part of the country for Atiku.
The chairman of the PDP BoT, Dr Walid Jibrin, who stated this in a statement congratulating Atiku, said, “Finally, the BoT will assist the party and our presidential candidate to come out with an acceptable vice president from the southern part of Nigeria.”
Although the BoT chairman was not available for response at press time, a party source who confirmed the meeting, said it would focus on how to help the presidential candidate decide on who to pick as running mate.
“There are so many things he has to consider in picking his running mate so as elders of the party we want to help him navigate through this tough situation. We are confident that the meeting will produce a good outcome,” the source said.
However, the lobby for who emerges Atiku’s running mate has remained intense even as governors elected on the party’s platform have been making visits to Atiku. This is against the backdrop that the governors are desirous of having one of their own on the ballot as against what happened in 2019.
Last week, Abia State governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu paid a courtesy call on the former vice president.
Atiku revealed on his Twitter handle, “Earlier this morning, I hosted the governor of Abia State, His Excellency Okezie Ikpeazu. We had good discussions about moving our party, @OfficialPDPNig, forwards.”
Meanwhile, consultations over who will be Atiku’s running mate intensifies with the prospects of a governor from the South East in the mix.
So far, the front runners for the vice presidential candidacy are Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta).
It was learnt that one of the South East PDP governors is also being looked at as a compromise choice should the South South option fails to work out following the simmering tussle for the position within the region.
Wike had accused his colleagues, especially from his zone of sabotaging the Southern presidency quest at the PDP presidential primaries.
Governor Emmanuel who also contested the primaries scored 38 votes. Although Okowa didn’t contest the primaries, it was alleged that Delta State delegates voted for Atiku.
Besides, Ikpeazu, Enugu State governor, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is also from the South East region. They supported Wike during the primaries.
However, a source privy to Atiku’s meeting with Wike shortly after the convention, revealed that the presidential candidate had offered the River State governor the running mate position.
The source noted that Wike in turn asked that he be allowed to consult with his inner cycle on the matter. Wike however paid Atiku a visit late Wednesday in Abuja, but the outcome of their meeting was not made public.
Atiku emerged as a PDP candidate for a second time in four years, at the Velodrome of the MKO National Stadium, scoring a total of 371 votes to defeat his closest rival, Wike who scored 237 votes.