Indications emerged, yesterday, that the search for a vice presidential candidate for Atiku Abubakar, flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 poll, might have narrowed to Governors Nyosom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa and Udom Emmanuel of Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states, respectively.
Daily Sun learnt that barring any last minute re-think, the special panel set up by the opposition party to shop for Atiku’s vice would submit the names today in its report as probable candidates for consideration by the party leadership and its flag bearer.
It was gathered that Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and his Enugu counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi as well as former governor of Enugu and Imo states, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani and Emeka Ihedioha, respectively were considered as Atiku’s running mate, but were not shortlisted.
Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi, were reportedly dropped due to their low popularity with others governors of the party, who preferred Wike and Okowa as candidates likely to attract votes for the party in the general election next year.
Sources said the PDP leadership after receiving the committee’s report and conferring with its presidential candidate, may unveil one of the South South governors as its vice presidential candidate today or tomorrow.
The panel’s recommendation of South South candidates, is however, believed to have elicited protest from leaders of the party in the South East who said it would be unfair to deny the zone the vice presidential slot, with indications that the zone would lose out in the opposition party’s power sharing in 2023.
Nnamani, in a statement, yesterday, said it would be unfair not to accommodate the South East in the power equation of the party.
“If 2023 passes without the South East being accommodated in the power arrangements, we would have to wait for the next 16 years and will be out of power reckoning for 40 years from 1999.”
He noted that PDP has the opportunity to correct the imbalance against the South East, especially as the zone has remained steadfast with the party since 1999.
The panel consists of five members of the National Working Committee ( NWC), three members of the Board of Trustees( BoT) and three members of the PDP Governors Forum.