•May become Tambuwal or Bala Mohammed’s running mate if ticket goes north
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The Peoples Democratic Party is working towards com pensating hard-working Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, with the influential position of Chief of Staff to Chief Pius Anyim should he (Anyim) emerge as Nigeria’s president next year, knowledgeable sources have said.
However, Saturday Vanguard learned that those working with Wike in the PDP are also plotting a plan B, in which the governor could be made to serve as a running mate to either Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal or his Bauchi State counterpart should the party decide to cede the presidential ticket to the north.
The two northern PDP governors are the only two serving governors, who have indicated interest to vie for the highest office in the land next year.
Wike, it was gathered is believed to have beaten all other PDP governors in terms of contributions and sacrifice, emerging as a powerful figure in the party as he single-handedly spearheaded the consolidation of the PDP after several leadership crises that almost tore the party apart with the emergence of four national chairmen and national working committees in less than seven years. It has also emerged that despite the emergence of a new national Chairman and NWC officials, Wike is still exerting some influence over the party and getting his desires met in the process.
Reliable sources acknowledge that Wike is in support of the emergence of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim as the South East presidential candidate of the party in the 2023 poll.
That endorsement, according to reliable sources, was responsible for Wike’s lobbying of Abia and Enugu governors to support Anyim’s candidature by South East PDP leaders on Thursday.
The source pointed out that although Wike did not get the full endorsement of Anyim as the sole PDP presidential candidate from the South East, he is still comfortable with the result of the Enugu decision by PDP leaders regarding Anyim’s ambition.
It will be recalled that Anyim and Wike established a strong political relationship when they both served in President Goodluck Jonathan’s government as SGF and Minister of State for Education respectively.
Significantly, when the substantive Minister of Education from Jigawa State was removed following the defection of the governor to the APC, Wike became the de-facto Education Minister, enjoyed unfettered support from Anyim and wielded enormous power and influence to become the governor of Rivers State in 2015 against strident opposition.
But the development is giving some other camps within the opposition party some concern as they believe Wike has been influencing the affairs of the party for too long and has a tendency to push his agenda through despite opposition from any quarters.
The development comes as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said last night that the endorsement of the former SGF, Anyim Anyim as the PDP presidential aspirant by some South East PDP leaders does not invalidate his case with the anti-graft agency.
On October 24, the anti-graft agency took Anyim into custody and kept him for two days over claim that the sum of N780 million belonging to the Ministry of Aviation was traced to a company in which he had interest. But nothing has been proven against him.
“We are still investigating the former SGF over allegation of graft and we will continue to hold him to account until he is cleared by the court,” a top EFCC operative told Saturday Vanguard last night. But Ayim has no case in court.
A senior administration official, who is involved in some of the corruption cases involving Politically-exposed persons now struggling for top political positions in the new dispensation, said that they might be made to account for their past deeds but declined to say how and what awaits them.
“But we need to watch and see what the security and anti-corruption agencies will do regarding serious corruption cases pending against some of these top contending politicians,” a top security operative told Saturday Vanguard on Friday night in Abuja.
“Some of these politicians with pending graft cases involving hundreds of millions of public funds might be made to go through their cases and obtain a clean bill of health before they contest,” the source hinted.