The incident occurred during the PDP presidential campaign rally in Enugu ahead of the 25 February elections.
Mrs Ezeilo, the deputy governor, had approached Atiku to exchange pleasantries after she finished addressing the crowd at the rally.
“Since 1999, we have been doing it and this is not going to be a different case. I am begging all of you, as we have been doing it, let us do it again,” Mrs Ezeilo told the crowd.
When she walked down from the podium and headed to where Mr Atiku was seated and stretched out her hand to greet him, the PDP candidate ignored her.
The deputy governor returned to her seat without shaking Mr Atiku’s hands.
A member of the PDP, who asked not to be named, told PREMIUM TIMES that aside from Mr Atiku’s disagreement with the G5, which the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, is a member, the former vice-president was displeased that the deputy governor did not specifically ask residents to vote for him in the 25 February poll.
“Did you hear her canvass for votes for Atiku? The answer is no. She was only playing around words. Atiku believes she is being loyal to her principal (Mr Ugwuanyi),” the PDP member said.
Connecting the dots
Governor Ugwuanyi of Enugu State is a member of the PDP. But he boycotted the PDP campaign rally.
Mrs Ezeilo did not indicate if she was representing the governor at the event.
Governor Ugwuanyi’s absence at the rally has been linked to the ongoing rift between G5 governors and PDP national leadership.
The G5, a group of aggrieved PDP governors, is being led by the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
The governors are aggrieved with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku and the party’s national leadership.
Apart from Messrs Wike and Ugwuanyi, other members of the group include Governor Samuel Ortom (Benue), Governor Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State) and their Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde.
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The group came about after the PDP presidential primary, where Nigeria’s former vice president, Mr Atiku, defeated Mr Wike and others to become the party’s presidential candidate.
The group has been demanding the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to pave the way for a southerner to lead the party in order to achieve a “regional balance”.
The governors’ argument is that both Mr Ayu and Atiku hail from northern Nigeria.
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