I just decided that this our party must not be destroyed.I would have left where I was sitting down and say this convention cannot go ahead except you allow me to talk. I would have flattened him,” Wike had said some days after the convention. Many believed that the post-convention reconciliation would have addressed the fallout from the primary election, but the choice of Vice Presidential running mate has further polarized the party. Atiku visited Wike at his residence in Abuja on the 30th of May, and promised to work with him closely to deliver the party in 2023. While the PDP has been hailed to have been the only major political party to have sorted the issue of running mate, however, the choice of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate seems to be tearing the party apart. So far, several PDP chieftains have openly challenged the process leading to the choice of Okowa, as many accused Atiku of not keeping to his promise to appoint Wike as running mate. Although, Governor Wike had publicly said he would not accept to be running mate to anyone. “I’m not coming out to negotiate to be vice to anyone, I’m coming out to contest for the number one position in the country,” he had said. However, former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and Governor Samuel Ortom have recently claimed that Atiku offered the VP slot to Wike as His Compensation
Wike never said he wanted to be VP, but when Atiku visited him, he was the one who said, ‘I want you to be my VP’. He said that to Wike. If that then changes, is Wike not supposed to be told? Is he not supposed to know?” Fayose had told journalists. This was also corroborated by Ortom, who questioned the rationale for jettisoning the recommendation of the 17-man committee on the Vice President.
During an interview Ortom said 14 members of the committee voted in support of Wike, while only three backed Okowa. Adding that he is yet to decide on supporting Atiku, he nonetheless, admonished the PDP presidential candidate to reach out to Wike. In any case, there are persons within the party that agree with Atiku’s decision not to pick Wike. Former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, had said, “unfortunately, I don’t know if it is his temperament. Sometimes when you speak too much, when you insult your way to power, it does not always happen.” This is not the first time Atiku will be having challenges over a running mate. Several southeast governors fumed over the choice of Obi in 2018 as running mate to Atiku, who was accused of not consulting widely enough. David Umahi, who was still in the PDP in 2018, had expressed shock with the choice of Obi as the VP candidate.
We saw news flying up and down saying that our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has picked a running mate from the zone. We were shocked because we were not consulted,” he said. The National Chairman confirmed this during the inauguration of the 17-man committee on VP selection. “Our presidential candidate, this time, has decided to carry everybody along unlike 2019 when he didn’t consult widely in his choice of running mate,” Ayu said. Amidst all these, Atiku believed not to be in the country despite the off-season elections his party is involved in.