2023: Puzzle over Atiku’s Running Mate

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The horse trading, scheming and negotiations sorrounding the choice of a running-mate for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP has reached the conclusion stage.

Party sources confided in Midwest Herald that, Atiku started consultations with major PDP leaders, shortly after he was declared winner of the primary, after he defeated Nyesom Wike, Governor of River State and other aspirants, on May 28, 2022.

The wide consultations also involves some former military leaders and ex-Presidents whose interest may affect the outcome of the general election.

Specifically, Midwest Herald source explained that the South East is completely out of the search rader, considering the near inconsequential numerical strength of voters. Dr. Peter Obi, we are told, was the first choice, “even before the former Anambra State Governor dumped the PDP for Labour Party.”

The present search is principally focused on the South South politicians, who are serving governors.

“The decision to reserve the position for the governors is to ensure retention of their support and also thank them for the role they played in the emergence of Atiku Abubakar.” The source said.

Those penciled down by Atiku and leaders of the party are four governors. Namely: Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State; Nyesom Wike, River State and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State.

The possible choice of Obaseki is based on his understanding of the economy and relationship with global financial institutions, which he has deployed to stabilize Edo State in the last five years.

Okowa’s credential, amongst other things, is his political strength in Delta State and diplomacy. His financial strength is also an attraction.

Udom comes into reckoning with a war chest and his ability to checkmate his predicessor, Godswill Akpabio.

Not surprising, Wike is in contest also. Midwest Herald learnt that his biggest asset is financial strength, especially after out-spending his co-aspirants at the presidential primary.

However, the ‘king-makers’ are quick to warn against a possible backlash, because of his “abbrassive nature”, the source added. Nonetheless, he said, Wike is strong also in the race.

The puzzle is being worked out by the different power blocks to find an acceptable and respected running-mate to pair with Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2023 general election.

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