By News Editor
A last minute tinkering of calculation could have thrown the opposition PDP into it’s current political logjam.
A retired army General from a state in the North-Western part of the country reportedly influenced the decision not to pick Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
It was gathered that some conservative Northern elements in the party had prevailed on Atiku to drop Wike despite promising to give him the running mate ticket just after the presidential primary of the PDP.
A source told The Nation that the conservative Northern elements had also prevailed on the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, to step down for Atiku during the PDP presidential primaries.
The PDP source said the influential retired Army General and a former governor from another state in the North-West zone were the arrowheads of the anti-Wike group.
Atiku had visited Wike at his private residence just after the PDP primary, although discussions at the meeting were not made public.
Running Mate Offer
A source who was privy to discussions at the meeting disclosed that Wike did a debrief of the private chat he had with Atiku.
The source said: “Wike narrated how Atiku told him that he had discussed with Governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Delta’s Okowa to make them realize that he was not disposed to picking either of them but that they would be accommodated in the scheme of things.
“The Rivers Governor went ahead to say that Atiku had, during their private discussions, offered him the vice presidential ticket, but that he told the PDP flag bearer that he needed time to consult with his team.”
Confirming the claim, a source close to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said Wike had immediately called his principal to disclose his conversation with Atiku.
“I was with my principal when Governor Wike called to break the news.
“My principal had asked him what his response was, to which he responded that he asked Atiku to give him some time to consult.
“There and then, my principal encouraged him to accept the offer,” the governor’s aide told The Nation.
Wike, who later led three other PDP governors to Atiku’s Abuja residence, told the former vice president he would accept the running mate ticket.
“At that meeting in Atiku’s house, Wike told the former vice president that he had made the necessary consultations and was ready to accept his offer,” a source said.
However, Atiku changed his plans at the last minute by picking Okowa after pressure from highly placed PDP leaders in the North.
Another source disclosed that Wike would not have resorted to his angst had he been taken into confidence and told of the change in plans.
It was also said that he would have not accepted to be running mate but that he had former governor Donald Duke in mind whom he would have suggested for further consideration of the party and candidate.
The source said Wike became enraged when instead of the good faith started, persons closed to Atiku started raining insults on himself and his team describing him and his supporters as incapable of helping the party win next year’s elections.
Our source wondered “why leaders who cannot deliver their parties are the ones insulting and not the candidate who has the ticket and wants to win”
He further said Gov. Wike loves the PDP and will not decamp. He will also want the party to win the presidency next year.