The five aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party governors on Sunday met with other party heavyweights where they discussed fresh options as the hopes of reconciling with the camp of the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, seems to be fading.
This is happening as the camps of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, expressed willingness to seek the support of the governors to actualise their aspirations.
However, speaking after their closed-door meeting in Lagos, the governors said the window of reconciliation with Atiku was still open.
At the meeting were governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George; former governors Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti); Donald Duke (Cross River), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), and Jonah Jang (Plateau).
Also present were a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke; Deputy National Chairman, South of the PDP, Taofeek Arapaja; Senator Nasif Suleiman; Senator Sandy Onor and Senator Sam Ohabunwa.
The meeting was held days after the governors unveiled the PDP governorship candidate in Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara.
They had earlier held meetings in Enugu, Benue and outside the country.
The governors are at loggerheads with Atiku over the refusal of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign.
Speaking at the meeting, Makinde said though he and his colleagues were the face of their struggle, it had the backing of the leaders and elders of the party who were present.
He stated, “We are here this morning to hold a meeting of the Integrity Group within our party, the PDP. We have been of the G5 – that is, the five PDP governors. The G5 is all about the Integrity Group.
“You can see us, five serving governors, as the face of this struggle, both the leaders and elders of the party that you see here are the people behind those faces. We are in the South-West to review the situation within our party, to review where we are and to also look at what is going to happen in the coming elections.’’
Shortly after the closed-door meeting, Jang reiterated that they were still maintaining the stand they took at their last meeting in Port Harcourt.
“After a careful review of developments in our party, we have decided to stand on the decisions we took in our Port Harcourt meeting. And we hereby reiterate that the window for reconciliation in our great party, PDP, remains open,” he said.
The governors then proceeded to George’s house in Ikoyi where Wike addressed the party faithful with promises of support for the candidates in the coming election.
Our correspondent gathered that the Integrity Group would soon take a decision on the presidential candidate they intended to support if the expected truce with Atiku fails. Already, sources at the meeting said the group had reached a point where a major decision would be taken
Tinubu, Obi camps
Meanwhile, the Chief Spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has said hat Tinubu is focused on consolidating his stronghold but will not mind exploiting the festering crisis in the PDP.
This is even as Emeka Obasi, the media aide to the LP candidate says there is a chance that his principal could work with the PDP Integrity Group.
Keyamo and Obasi spoke in separate interviews with The PUNCH.
Keyamo said, “I don’t know of any talks between APC and the G-5. At least, not to my knowledge. However, despite their quarrel with the PDP, as of today, they are still members of the party.
“Let me repeat it for the umpteenth time. For us, we are proceeding from the position of calculating our strength, without thinking of the quarrel or weakness of the PDP. We are not depending on it
“If after calculating our strength and the implosion continues in the PDP by the end of the day, we can then consider it as an added advantage, but not a factor to tilt the scale to our victory. It may make victory easier if they come through the door we have opened for them. Anything can happen. But we are not looking out for that possibility. We are just saying in politics, anything can happen.”
In the same vein, Obasi told The PUNCH that there is a chance Obi may be willing to work with the PDP governors if it will benefit the Nigerian people.
He noted, “There is nothing stopping that. It is a possibility. They can work together only if they are willing to work for the Nigerian people. But if it is not for the benefit of the Nigerian people, you will see him not aligning with it.
“It is still three months to the election for anybody who wants to support him to do so. It is a democratic process. Nothing stops somebody from jumping camps any time anywhere. So they are free.
“There are things we don’t force. If somebody will support you, he is going to support you wholeheartedly. These are not anyhow politicians. They are governors who have their say, they are not people you force to support you. That is something that ought to be done wholeheartedly in line with their conscience.’’
“If you know my principal, he is somebody who likes to be open. He won’t promise you skyscrapers when he already knows what he can offer. For him, he can only offer what is good for the Nigerian people.
“Whoever wants to join him based on that principle is free. But to go and start doing political lobbying for somebody to him is a promise he can’t fulfil. It is not his style,” he maintained.