There are strong indications that the five aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party governors may endorse their preferred presidential candidate on January 5, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
The Punch gathered on Tuesday that the governors, who are presently meeting in London, United Kingdom, might be influenced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s advice that the Presidency should come to the South-East in 2023.
Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu states and some political heavyweights from the South had parted ways with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, over his alleged refusal to prevail on the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to resign after Atiku, a northerner clinched the presidential ticket of the party.
The governors insisted that Ayu’s resignation would ensure a balance in the leadership of the main opposition party.
Although Atiku and the governors held several meetings in Nigeria and the UK, there was no headway as they insisted on Ayu’s removal from office as a precondition for peace.
However, in deciding on the presidential candidate to support, a top source informed The PUNCH that the governors might heed Obasanjo’s counsel that they should endorse the Labour Party presidential standard bearer, Peter Obi.
The former President had met with the governors in London in August where he reportedly lobbied for Obi.
Giving a background on the factors that might sway their decision, an aide to one of the governors stated, “The governors are considering Obasanjo’s advice that the Presidency should come to the South in 2023. Obasanjo has advised them to support Obi because he believes that if the Presidency comes to the South, it should go to the south- east.
“That is why at their last meeting in London, he lobbied for Obi because justice and fairness demand that South-East should produce the next president.’’
Asked when the governors, known as Integrity Group would unveil their preferred candidate, the source said, “From all indications, the governors will announce their preferred candidate next week. If there is no major event before January 5 when Makinde will kick off his campaign, they will make the announcement on that day in Ibadan.’’
An aide to another governor dismissed reports that the group were divided over the choice of the presidential candidate to endorse.
According to the source, at the London meeting on Tuesday, the governors agreed that since Atiku failed to prevail on Ayu to step down, they should work for a southern candidate.