The simmering crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the decision of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to name Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State governor, as his running mate, appears to have worsened with several of its governors opting to stay away from the inauguration of its campaign council for the July 16 governorship election in Osun State on Wednesday.
Governors of the party and other relevant stakeholders had after series of consultations, voted for Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor to be running mate to the former vice president.
However, he disregarded their recommendation and named Okowa as his running mate to the consternation of the governors, a number of whom, including Samuel Ortom of Benue State have continued to expressed outrage over the decision.
On Wednesday, former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose declared that Wike would not back Atiku’s presidential aspiration, while also insisting that power must return to the South in 2023.
The rift appears to be robbing off on the Osun election, and could affect the party, and its governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke’s chances in the state, as the the party’s governors opted to stay away from the inauguration of the state’s campaign council on Wednesday.
Although the council, constituted on Tuesday, which is chaired by Duoye Diri, governor of Bayelsa State, has almost all governors of the party, including Nyesom Wike (Rivers State), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa) and Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), as members, only Ishaku of Taraba State and Dr. Okowa, the vice presidential candidate attended the event.
Other members of the campaign team are Senator Tanimu Philip Aduda, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, Senator Bukola Saraki, Olusegun Mimiko, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Chief Dan Orbih, Debo Ologunagba, Senator Dino Melaye, among others.
Governors Seyi Makinde, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Emmanuel Udom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Darius Ishaku, Samuel Ortom, Godwin Obaseki, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Bala Mohammed were among the 128 committee members but they were all absent at the inauguration.
Wike and Ikpeazu are currently in Turkey on vacation, but other governors in the country did not attend.
Meanwhile, speaking before the inauguration of the council on Wednesday, Amb. Umar Damagum, the party’s acting national chairman, said the sole mandate of the council is “to go to Osun state and win the election for us.”
According to him, “Osun is key to our presidential election. We have a very popular candidate in Osun and we have no reason not to win the election.
“So I believe with the caliber of people in this committee, I’m sure Osun will become ours, you will make a lot of sacrifices for the task ahead of you, engage stakeholders that are aggrieved.”