PDP crisis: Atiku may adopt Adeleke as South West leader


By Wilfred Eya

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Atiku Abubakar, may have resolved to adopt Governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, as the South West leader of the main opposition party.

A highly placed chieftain of the PDP told Daily Sun that Atiku who has been in a running battle with the G5 governors may soon dump Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, as leader in the region.

The development came even as the PDP led by its presidential candidate and national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu has not foreclosed the possibility of reconciliation with the aggrieved governors led by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

But our source said the PDP hierarchy led by the national chairman, Iyorcha Ayu, is fully in support of Atiku to immediately recognise Governor Adeleke as the leader of the zone since Makinde and his group appear not ready for reconciliation.

He said the Atiku camp regards the Osun governor as a ready and trusted ally who does not hide his love for the presidential candidate.

“Governor Adeleke has been working with Atiku’s supporters even before he won his presidential ticket. Many PDP members are aware that in the build up to the Osun election, Atiku gave a lot of support to Adeleke.

“Turaki Adamawa was extremely happy at the outcome of the Osun election because it was a morale booster to members of the PDP ahead of next year’s general election.”

Meanwhile, the development comes even as there are indications that the Atiku camp may meet with the G5 governors this week.

Sources said the PDP is still desirous of reconciling with the Wike-led group considering its strategic importance to the victory of the opposition party in next year’s election.

The PDP has been embroiled in crisis since the emergence of Atiku as flag bearer and nomination of Delta StateGovernor, Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate. The crisis, which has the PDP candidate and Ayu, on one hand and the G-5 governors on the other, has polarised different organs of the party, including the National Working Committee (NWC) in the past five months.

The G-5 governors  include Samuel Ortom, Benue; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu; Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia and Seyi Makinde Oyo. They are supported by many other members including elder statesman, Olabode George, Donald Duke,  Ayo Fayose, Jonah Jang, former governors of Cross River, Ekiti  and Plateau states respectively.

The bone of contention in the PDP crisis is whether or not Ayu should be replaced ahead of the 2023 general elections. The G-5 governors had accused the national chairman of alleged bias in the process leading to the emergence of the party’s presidential candidate and his running mate.

The Wike group has continued to insist  that Ayu must be replaced with a Southerner to strike a balance since the presidential candidate is from the North but the PDP chairman believed to enjoy the backing of Atiku and some other leaders of the party has said there was no basis for his resignation, as he was elected for a four year tenure.

In September, the Wike group pulled out of the PDP presidential campaign council insisting  on Ayu’s replacement with a Southerner, as a condition for reconciliation. Members of the group have also kept a distance from the opposition party’s presidential campaign.

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