‘Why Wike, Makinde, Udom not at Osun PDP rally
The absence of the Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, his Akwa-Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel and Seyi Makinde, from Thursday’s Osun governorship campaign rally in Osogbo, The Guardian learnt, has no link with the emergence of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the Vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Governors Wike and Udom were among the three earlier recommended to Atiku for the position of Vice presidential candidate before the choice of Okowa.
Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, Taiwo Adisa, in a telephone interview, said it was wrong to link the absence of these PDP governors from the rally to Okowa’s emergence as running mate to Atiku Abubakar.
Adisa said that Makinde could not make it to the rally as he had been out of the country to attend to crucial issues in Europe, which he explained coincided with the timing of the Osogbo rally.
However, he stated that the governor directed that sufficient logistics support be provided to the rally particularly regarding the conveyance of all personalities from the Ibadan Airport to Osogbo.
“Apart from all these, the Chief of Staff to the Governor led officials of Oyo State to the rally. So, there is no truth in the speculations linking the absence of Makinde from the Osogbo rally to Okowa’s Vice presidential candidacy,” he said.
Similarly, the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiya, specifically explained that he was fully aware that the Akwa-Ibom State Governor would have been in Osogbo but for some unavoidable circumstances.
Udom Emmanuel, according to Ologbondiya, is not aggrieved over the choice of Okowa as running mate to Atiku.
“He is equally not at war with the leadership of the party over the matter. His absence from the Osogbo’s rally was due to circumstances beyond his control,” the former NPS of the party stressed.
Also faulting speculations that Wike stayed away from the rally to further express his grievances against the party on Okowa’s choice, a close source to the Rivers State governor, who preferred not to be mentioned, said there was no truth in speculations that Wike deliberately stayed away from the rally.
The source said, “Look, you know that the governor has been out of the country for about a week now. In fact, he just arrived on Thursday night from the United Kingdom (UK).
“I want to also say that there is no truth in the speculations that Wike is leaving the PDP for any party. He won’t do that. He is a big leader and stakeholder in the PDP. Let’s not continue to propagate empty speculations.”
He also explained that the visit of three governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Wike in Port Harcourt last week was not enough to speculate that the Wike was set to dump PDP.
“There are lots of relationships that could have necessitated the visit. The Ekiti State Governor is the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where Wike plays prominent roles; the Ondo State Governor is the Chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum and in that forum too; the River State Governor is a known leader.
“The Lagos State Governor is sharing responsibilities with the Rivers State Governor with respect to the Value Added Tax (VAT) issue. So, as you can see, those specifications about Wike’s defection are untrue,” the source said.