In the midst of a tense reconciliation process within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike and his team met with All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu in London on Monday.
Although details of the meeting were still hazy at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that it was in preparation for the 2023 presidential election.
The meeting, which is said to have sparked fears of a wave of defections from the country’s major opposition party, comes as efforts are made to perfect the ongoing reconciliation process between Wike and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which began last week after months of friction.
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Attempts by the PDP leadership to pacify Wike and his loyalists failed after Atiku overlooked him and picked Delta State governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate for the 2023 polls.
Wike’s demand for the sack of PDP national chairman, Sen Iyorchia Ayu, as part of the peace process is yet to be considered by the party.
Wike was earlier said to have met with Tinubu in France, a claim which was debunked by Tinubu’s team and a PDP chieftain, Adamu Waziri Maina.
But since the rift started, Wike has invited several APC leaders in Rivers State to commission projects, fuelling speculations that he has pitched his tent with the governing party.
But a dependable source within the APC who confirmed the meeting between Tinubu and Wike said two APC governors were in attendance.
“I can confirm that the meeting was held in London yesterday (Monday) with two South West APC governors in attendance,” the source said.
It was however learnt that Wike and some of his colleagues had traveled to Paris, France, on Sunday where they met Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde.
Among those on the trip with Wike are the Governors of Benue State, Samuel Ortom; Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu.
It was further learnt that after a brief meeting in Paris, the governors moved to London.
It was recalled that at the PDP reconciliation meeting in Port-Harcout last Friday, Wike’s camp had insisted on Ayu’s resignation as national chairman of the party.
Although Atiku’s loyalists are yet to yield to Wike’s demand on Ayu, some party leaders have keyed into the ‘Ayu must go’ campaign.
It was learnt that PDP national vice chairman (South), Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, might be propped to take over as national chairman pending a midterm convention.
Wike’s Loyalist Denies Knowledge Of Talks With Tinubu
But loyalists of the Rivers State governor yesterday said they were not aware of any meeting between the governor’s camp and the presidential candidate of the APC in France.
Former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, who denied knowledge of he meeting evening speaking in Port Harcourt, said, “To tell you the truth, we are not aware of any meeting between Governor Wike and Tinubu. In fact, I am hearing it from you for the first time.”
Efforts by our correspondent to get the reaction of the governor’s Media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, proved abortive, as he neither picked his calls nor responded to the messages sent to his phone.