Anxiety heightens as Umahi, Ayade, Ikpeazu meet Wike

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Anxiety has heightened in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on wednesday, met with the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade and his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi.Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who is also an  allay of the Rivers State governor, was also present at the meeting, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.Ikpeazu belongs to the PDP while Ayade and Umahi are of the All Progressives Congress ( APC). The Cross River and Ebonyi states governors, who were elected on the platform of the opposition party had defected to the APC in 2020.The Port Harcourt meeting, coming on the heels of the declaration of the Rivers governor that the state PDP would not campaign for the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in next year’s election, is believed to be part of horse-trading for the 2023 polls.“I can tell you without mincing words that Umahi and Ayade’s visit was to woo Wike to back the APC. Wike has become the most sought-after political bride.”Wike and other aggrieved members of the PDP has continued to distance themselves from the party’s presidential campaign.Last Tuesday, another of Wike’s ally, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said the state would not vote for Atiku, unless he tenders a public apology to the state on his comment over the recent killings in the state.A group of five  PDP governors, led by Wike, had been on a warpath with the PDP leadership and Atiku in the aftermath of the nomination of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as the party’s presidential candidate. The group, which also include Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde as well as Ikpeazu, has continued to insist on the replacement of the PDP National chairman, Iyorchia Ayu with a Southerner before the 2023 polls as a condition for peace.The aggrieved governors are supported by  Donald Duke, Segun Mimiko, Ayo Fayose, Ibrahim Dakwanmbo, Jonah Jang former governors of Cross River, Ondo, Ekiti, Gombe and Plateau states respectively, as well as some former ministers amongst others.However, Ayu has repeatedly said he would not resign as he was voted for a four years tenure, while Atiku, on his party, maintained that he cannot force the national chairman to quit.Last month, the Wike group, which has  continued to stay away from PDP activities since the crisis broke announced their withdrawal from the party’s presidential campaign council, pending the replacement of Ayu.In recent times, Wike had met with three APC governors including  immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi;  Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Governor Jide Sanwo-olu of Lagos, who visited him in Port Harcourt.Last week, he endorsed Sanwo-olu for a second term as governor of Lagos State.Also, the Rivers governor and the four governors in his camp had  met with the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, in London.



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