Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has failed to meet the January deadline, which he set for the unveiling of his preferred presidential candidate for the 2023 election.
PREMIUM TIMES in November last year reported how Mr Wike assured his supporters that he was going to adopt a presidential candidate for them to vote for in next month’s presidential election.
He repeated the promise in December last year saying he was going to campaign for his preferred presidential candidate in all parts of the country and that “nothing will happen”.
“So, all of you who have been in suspense, who have been saying all kinds of things, abusing me, wait, January is here,” Mr Wike said while commissioning a flyover in Port Harcourt.
The deadline elapsed on Tuesday (yesterday) but the governor of the oil-rich Rivers State was yet to make good his promise.
Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Chris Finebone confirmed to this newspaper, Wednesday morning, that the governor was yet to unveil his preferred candidate.
“He hasn’t done it yet but he will do it,” Mr Finebone said, appealing for patience from Nigerians.
Mr Wike, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), fell out with the party leadership after the presidential primary which he lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The governor also fell out with Atiku, the PDP presidential candidate for reneging on the alleged promise to ensure the exit of the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, so that a southerner can lead the party for the sake of a “regional balance”.
Atiku and Mr Ayu are both northerners.
Mr Wike now leads the G5, a group of PDP governors who are aggrieved with Mr Atiku and the PDP leadership.
Governor Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpaeazu (Abia) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) are the other members of the G5.
Members of the G5 who were appointed into the Atiku presidential campaign council, withdrew their membership and boycotted its inauguration.
The quintet had in November last year, in Abia State, said they would support a southern presidential candidate for the 2023 election, a decision they said was in line with the agreement reached in the southern governors forum that Nigeria’s presidency should come to the south in 2023.
Governor Ortom of Benue State, a G5 member, openly backed the endorsement of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mr Ortom in a statement from his spokesperson, Terver Akase, said Mr Obi possesses all the qualities of a leader who will be a true president of this country by guaranteeing justice and fairness for all Nigerians.
The governor said if he were not a member of the PDP, would have led Mr Obi’s campaign across Nigeria.
Mr Wike promised to provide logistics support for Mr Obi whenever the LP candidate would campaign in Port Harcourt.
After Mr Obi’s campaign in Port Harcourt in December, Governor Wike said he provided vehicles and security for the campaign in the state, TVC news reported.
It is not clear who Mr Wike will unveil as his choice presidential candidate among the two main presidential candidates from the south – Mr Obi and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
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