JOS – A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State, Muazu Magaji, has claimed that Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, lobbied members of the party’s committee constituted to advise the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on the choice of his running mate for the 2023 elections.
The PDP committee had recommended the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel and Governor Wike.
The committee, however, scored Wike above the other two contenders but Atiku decided to settle for Okowa, which has since unsettled Wike’s camp.
Magaji, who is a former governorship aspirant of the party, spoke on Thursday while featuring on Channels Television’s morning show, Sunrise Daily, which was monitored in Port Harcourt.
The PDP chieftain insisted that there was no proof that the party’s presidential candidate promised Wike the vice presidential slot as claimed in some quarters.
Magaji, however, claimed that the Rivers State governor lobbied to be scored ahead of others, adding that Wike should not be trusted with important positions in the country.
The PDP chieftain said, “There is no evidence that Atiku promised Wike the vice presidency. The Vice President’s pick is a prerogative of the candidate, it’s a process. There was a process that was also rigged.
“One of the fears is this, if an individual will be going behind a structure and institution and rigging the system to get what he wants, then we cannot also trust the same individual as a principal actor on the commonwealth of the Nigerian people.
“I want to say clearly that when the committee was set up to screen candidates and make recommendations to the presidential candidate to pick his vice president, nobody gave the mandate of picking the vice president to any committee.
“What I meant when I said the process was rigged is this: the process turned out an individual who we later understand to have lobbied the committee to get his way.”
Speaking on the high number of members of the party’s presidential campaign council, he said, “The PDP has produced a lot of stakeholders who have influence, capacity, and political pedigree that needed to be brought on board.
“The strategy is also to make sure that the representation goes down to where the people are. We don’t want to concentrate only on stakeholders in Abuja in the campaign council.”
Reacting to the boycotting of the inauguration of the campaign council by Wike’s group, he said Atiku was engaging all the aggrieved parties.
“We have had the primaries, it was a transparent one. It’s a presidential system where the winner takes all, not a parliamentary system where you sit down and share positions based on the number of votes.
“We need to protect the institution. What they are asking for is a treatment counter to our constitution and it’s dangerous in a democracy.
“If you look at the history of the PDP, an individual has fought three chairmen of the party, an individual has installed and removed the chairman of the party. That individual cannot be bigger than the party and the institution,” the former governorship aspirant stated.
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