John Alechenu, Abuja

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 elections, Ex- Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has intensified consultations towards picking a running mate The VANGUARD has learnt.

Atiku was among callers at the Maitama residence of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, in the early hours of Sunday where he went to personally express gratitude to the governor for stepping down for him.

Although details of their closed door meeting were not made public, it was gathered that the PDP candidate asked for Tambuwal’s support in the task ahead. He also promised to carry him along when he eventually gets elected.

Other callers at Tambuwal’s residence included: The PDP National Chairman, Iyiochia Ayu, and former Jigawa State Governors: Sule Lamido, his predecessor, Saminu Turaki and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedeoha.  

It was also learnt that the PDP candidate has been reaching out to party leaders and his political associates as he begins to look hard at names being suggested to him as running mates.

A source familiar with the development who confided in our correspondent said, “Several names are being thrown up, the candidate is keeping his thoughts to himself for now.

However, what I can tell you is that he is interested in making a choice that will first unite the party as we go into elections.

“He is equally interested in someone who ticks the boxes when it comes to revamping the economy and providing the conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive in order to reduce poverty and hunger.

“We understand that our brothers from the South East are hurting so they are not left out of those being considered. Those who on their own volition left the party have zoned themselves out for sure.”

Supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party under the aegis of PDP Frontiers have urged the Presidential candidate of the PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to consider Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike as running mate. 

According to the party supporters, a combination of Atiku and Wike will not only unite the party, but also go a long way in ensuring that the PDP returns to power in 2023.

In a statement signed by Alhaji Hussein Mohammed, Mr Moses Abidemi President and Secretary respectively, in Abuja, on Sunday, the group blamed what they described as the “treachery from Sokoto” for Wike’s electoral defeat.

Members of the pro-PDP group accused one of the party’s chieftains from the north of repaying the Rivers State governor evil for good after benefiting immensely from his generosity.

They said, “We, members of the PDP Frontliners support group congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for winning the race and we congratulate Governor Nyesom Wike for making such incredible waves and impressive impact in a first attempt for the presidency.

“We note too, the exceptional treachery of Gov Wike’s former ally – the greatest and exceptional beneficiary of his resources and support in the 2019 presidential primaries who became the greatest facilitator of Wike’s loss in this year’s presidential primaries.

“Obviously, Atiku, our party’s presidential candidate cultivated a nationwide network of friendships but now, he needs to unite every cleavage and every individual within the party in order to win the 2023 presidential race.

“As for Governor Wike, an embodiment of formidable courage, unwavering party loyalty and pragmatic resilience without whom PDP wouldn’t have recovered itself after many had taken opportunities to exit and even fought with the ruling APC to destroy PDP.”

The statement further read, “In the PDP’s presidential primaries of Saturday, May 28, 2022, Atiku won but Wike – the man who stood with PDP at all levels in those heady days when our dear Atiku opted for very prolonged stay in Dubai –  did not lose to Atiku; he lost to the great treachery from Sokoto.

“It is an irony that in the great history of the Sokoto Caliphate which has produced numerous great men and women, there is just one man who symbolizes the greatest iconic treachery in the history of Nigerian politics.

“It is noteworthy that one man who had enjoyed the most exceptional loyalty and political support, including the sacrifice of time and huge resources from Gov Wike, now helped in no small measure to thwart Wike’s presidential ambition.

“For the sake of present and future generations, we must interrogate issues, acknowledge the past and understand the present in order to find a realistic path to the future.

“Again, it is an irony that the greatest beneficiary of Governor Wike’s selfless and self-effacing sacrifice in a previous presidential primary unfortunately transmuted into a perfidious icon of treachery, effectively sabotaging Gov Wike in last weekend’s primaries.”

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