Following the successful presidential primary held by the PDP on Saturday 28th of May, which led to the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the 2023 presidential flag bearer, the ball has been thrown to the half of the party, the ruling APC. Apparently, the APC is on the lookout for an aspirant who can match the war chest and electoral credits of Atiku.
On Tuesday, while addressing a meeting of the Progressives Governors Forum, the president asked the 22 governors of the party to support his bid to pick his successor.
On Saturday, he met with the party’s presidential hopefuls, where many people thought he would reveal his preferred candidate, but he did not. The president only cleared the air a bit by saying the southern region should produce the presidential flagbearer of APC. When filing this story, two northern presidential aspirants (Governor of Jigawa, Abubakar Badaru, and Sani Yerima, former Governor of Zamfara) have dropped their presidential ambitions. The primary of the APC, which is to hold on the 6th of June, 2022, will determine whether the broom of the ruling APC will face the general election unbounded.
However, the permutation for a credible candidate to run with Atiku has started. The choice is imperative because it holds long-term implications if PDP eventually takes over power. Atiku being a northern Muslim is enough to predict that his running mate will be a southern Christian. The resignation of Peter Obi, who ran with him in 2019 from the PDP, has expanded the search spectrum for the running mate slot. Here are the top 4 potential running mates for the PDP presidential candidate:
1. Emeka Ihedioha: Emeka, the former governor of Imo State who is also a former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, is an experienced politician of Igbo extraction. Aside from his rich political experience, his Igbo background and his contribution to the emergence of Atiku at the presidential primary make him one of the favourites to run on the same ticket with Atiku.
2. Udom Emmanuel: Udom is a technocrat and accomplished politician. He is the governor of Akwa Ibom and also one of the presidential aspirants in the PDP. He only managed to pull 38 votes at the primary, but his achievements as governor of Akwa Ibom have added many feathers to his political cap.
3. Ifeanyi Okowa: Okowa is the governor of Delta State. Despite his earlier support for a southern president in 2023, votes of delegates from his state at the presidential primary were reported to have gone the way of Atiku Abubakar. Okowa has an affinity with the South-East, and picking him as a running mate will boost the chances of PDP in the region.
4. Nyesom Wike: Considering the political weight of Wike in the south-south and the depth of his pocket, some PDP chieftains from the south have tipped Wike as the best choice for a running mate if PDP will wrest power from the APC.
The governor of Rivers, who also contested for the party’s presidential ticket, polled 237 votes to emerge second behind Atiku. His influence cannot be underscored in the party because he has the support of some southern governors. Atiku visited Wike on Monday to seek his help towards the general election. On Wednesday, in the company of notable leaders and officials of the PDP, Wike visited Atiku amidst the search for an acceptable running mate.