A VISIT by two All Progressives Congress (APC) governors, Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Wednesday has continued to fuel speculations about a planned alliance of the Rivers State governor and the APC before the 2023 election.
Ayade and Umahi both defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC last year and the duo met with Wike at his home town, Rumueprikon, in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State late on Wednesday night, ostensibly to fine-tune strategies for possible alliance.
A close ally of Wike, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who is also a member of the pro-Wike camp in the PDP, later joined the meeting held behind closed doors.
Wike, along with four of his colleagues elected on the ticket of the PDP, had been embroiled in battle of wits over sundry issues.
The speculation about an alliance is further stretched by the declaration of the governor that he would only work in line with the quest for a president of southern extraction in the next dispensation.
Recently, the Rivers State governor was in Lagos as guest of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, where he tactically endorsed the Lagos State governor for re-election, based on what he termed his sterling performance in his current first term in office.
Despite scathing remarks that trailed the endorsement from Lagos PDP chieftains, Wike has not recanted his statement.
The talk held by Wike and Ikpeazu with Ayade and Umahi was not the first, as other APC governors and chieftains had also visited Wike since the schism within PDP over the continued stay in office of the national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
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On July 8, 2022, the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, led, Governors Sanwo-Olu and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) on a visit to Wike at his private residence in his country home to lobby him.
While the Wike camp claimed that its demand that Ayu should step aside was based on the need to guarantee equity, fairness and justice in PDP, the camp of Ayu said due process must be followed for him to leave office.
On Wednesday, another ally of Governor Wike and former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, renounced his appointment into the PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).
Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ikpeazu (Abia), alongside Wike, as well as their loyalists were absent at the inauguration of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council held on September 28 in Abuja.
The Rivers State governor also rolled out campaign vehicles for the governorship election in the state without the photograph of the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Nonetheless, the action of the Wike camp has not deterred the PDP from stepping up its campaign across the country since it was flagged off in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.