The G-5 governors reportedly told their loyalists to start “underground” work for their favored presidential candidate before next month’s general election in order to escape punishment for anti-party activities.
The G5 governors—Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, and Samuel Ortom of Benue—have declined to support Atiku Abubakar’s presidential bid.
The five aggrieved governors have made Iyorchia Ayu’s resignation or ouster as PDP national chairman a condition for their support of the party’s presidential campaign.
Although the governors are believed to be working for two rival candidates, their inability to agree on which particular candidate to support, it was gathered, is partly responsible for the low spate activities in their ranks in recent times.
According to The PUNCH, Atiku’s loyalists in Benue State, including former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam, were busy reaching out to party faithful in their strongholds to drum up support for him.
An associate of the governor, who pleaded anonymity, said Suswam and Professor Iyorwuese Hagher had been doing a lot for Atiku since Ortom made his position clear that he was not going to support the PDP presidential candidate.
He said: “Suswam addressed stakeholders from Zone A recently, and Iyorwuese has been talking with his kinsmen. They are doing it in such a way as not to offend Ortom. They are friends with the governor, but they are also careful not to overdo things. As a result, there is a lack of statewide coordination.”
According to the source, Ortom has also instructed his foot soldiers to work for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
“Governor Ortom has already inaugurated an Obi team using his most trusted aides and allies. Former governorship aspirant, Prof Dennis Tyavyar, is chairman of the group. He was Commissioner for Education under Ortom before he stepped down to contest the governorship election,” he added.
The publication stated that Governors Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi are rooting for Obi, using their foot soldiers to work for his ambition in the South-East.
In Rivers State, a former PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, is leading the pro-Atiku support base alongside a former governor of the state, Celestine Omehia, ex-Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, and an erstwhile federal lawmaker, Lee Maeba.
Speaking with The PUNCH, the Director General of ‘House to House Campaign for Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa’ in Borno State, Mustapha Shehu, said: “The House to House campaign will definitely break not only the G-5 governors’ hold on their states, but will also pose a significant threat to incumbent non-PDP governors.
“The Borno House to House has proved to be a check on the Wike-sponsored PDP stalwarts, including some in the state Executive. It has also positioned Atiku as the candidate to beat in the state despite the APC governor and the APC presidential running mate, Kashim Shettima.”