Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said the committee set up to choose a running mate for him, did not recommend the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
The committee, rather recommended three candidates and there was no record of voting, he said.
He made this statement in an interview with Arise TV.
His comments contradicts the words of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who chaired the panel.
Shortly after Mr Atiku emerged the presidential candidate of the PDP, the party set up a 17-member panel to help him pick a suitable running mate – at his request.
The Ortom-led panel had deliberated and considered three Southern governors, namely Mr Wike, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
There were reports that the panel, through a vote, settled for and recommended Mr Wike as the vice-presidential candidate.
But Mr Atiku would go ahead to name Mr Okowa as his running mate – a move which angered Mr Wike’s camp and Mr Ortom.
At the unveiling, Mr Atiku had said he chose Mr Okowa because he is someone who understands the challenges the country is facing and is ready to start work from day one.
He had also described Mr Okowa as one who is presidential and could work in his absence.
This has cause a crisis in the party, with speculations that Mr Wike, feeling betrayed, could work against the party in the 2023 polls.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Rivers State governor ignored all attempts by Mr Atiku to meet with him.
Many members of the party, including Mr Ortom, have asked Mr Atiku to reconcile with Mr Wike.
In another interview, Mr Ortom had even said Mr Atiku owes the committee an explanation and an apology for “going against their recommendation.”
Ortom’s words not fact
While Atiku described Mr Wike as a brilliant, courageous and tenacious person with a future, he said the latter was not rejected as speculated.
He also said he has been “trying to reach Wike” and dismissed reports that he ignored the panel’s recommendations.
“The committee deliberated. But there was no vote and they recommended three names for me to choose because they know it is my prerogative. Ortom chaired the panel and he knows.
“What Ortom said was inaccurate. There was no record of any vote.”
While he maintained that he is still reaching out to Mr Wike, the presidential hopeful assured that the crisis in the party will be resolved soon.
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