By OSIGWE OMO-IKIRODAH
The countdown to the 2023 presidential elections has already begun with the PDP getting set to position itself for a possible invasion of Aso Rock.
So many options and permutations are flying around with a potential battle of warring forces already on the offing.
Former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike are two prominent figures who are already scheming behind the scene towards the PDP’s presidential ticket for 2023.
The last 2019 presidential primaries of PDP saw the testing of waters between Atiku and Wike and as much expected then Atiku triumphed over Wike tutoring him the act of politics 101 even in Rivers State.
Agreed Atiku easily trounced Wike in 2019 but the return leg would definitely not be the same.
In 2019 Nyesom Wike was not a KEEN STAKEHOLDER as such and definitely was not a passionate player in the 2019 presidential elections for obvious reasons.
His own candidate Aminu Tambuwal himself was not a prime contestant as he was just testing the waters too.
2020 would be seeing to the end of Tambuwal’s tenure as Sokoto State Governor and Nyesom Wike’s own tenure as well as the Governor of Rivers State.
The national structure prior now was firmly in the hands of Atiku who as one of the pioneer founders of the PDP and played a major role in financing the party.
Today Nyesom Wike seems to be the undisputed Godfather of the PDP and major financier of the party and he is DESPERATELY ready to stamp his authority.
While Atiku, on the other hand, is still neck-deep into actualizing his long term presidential ambition, so who blinks first Between Atiku and Wike?
The 2023 presidential ticket is a one-way ticket for Wike, it is either he emerges as the PDP presidential candidate or he emerges as the vice-presidential candidate.
It must be either one of the two options and from close observations, it seems Wike is fixated on the vice-presidential slot.
With a huge financial war chest, Wike would do anything to emerge the vice-presidential candidate to whoever the party brings.
Wike is brutal, stubborn and blunt, Wike would frustrate any effort of the PDP that erases him from the 2020 presidential equation.
Recall in 2019 when Atiku was hell-bent in cancelling the PDP convention slated to be held in Port Harcourt?
Wike made it clear that any presidential aspirant fighting Rivers State should forget about the support of the state, during and after the National Convention.
He said: “Let me warn the party, if you dare, Rivers State will teach the party a lesson. Those days have passed when they took Rivers State for granted. Nobody can use and dump Rivers State.”
Not done he further said…
“You come here to deceive us about restructuring. Just that Rivers State is a venue, you fight it. Then, when you are there, what will happen? You think we are fools where you preach restructuring, then when you get the position, you abandon restructuring,”.
So much ENERGY for just venue for a National Convention.
That was a direct punchline at Atiku the ‘poster boy’ of ‘restructuring’ ahead of the 2019 elections.
Atiku has since commenced his presidential quest with a serious campaign network within the PDP, as we speak local coordinators in all the 36 states of the federation are being inaugurated in preparation for an intensive work ahead.
While Wike on the other hand is busy marshalling his way among the top echelons of the PDP across the 36 states of the federation.
No doubt the coming weeks and months would see a renewal of the bitter rivalry between Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike as the 2023 presidential elections draw closer.
Recall On October 7, 2018, when it was obvious Atiku was about winning the PDP presidential ticket in Port Harcourt, Wike left the venue of the convention in anger unable to wait and be humiliated with the crowning of Atiku in his own domain.
Months later same Wike was the first to congratulate Buhari on the validation of his election by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal even when his party the PDP rejected the outcome of the tribunal.
The game of thrones has begun, will Wike embrace Atiku once again or would it be a replica of the bitter rivalry that once existed between the two political Titans?
Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah writes in from Abuja.