Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State said Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP did not accept President Goodluck Jonathan’s pleas nor support his re-election bid in 2015.
Wike made this disclosure on Tuesday when Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State commissioned the Akpabu-Itu-Umudiogha road in the Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers.
According to Wike, the former president rejected the entreaties of the former president.
Wike added that Jonathan travelled to the Dorchester Hotel in London in 2015 to meet Atiku but Atiku “embarrassed” Jonathan, asking him (Atiku) to relinquish his ticket to him.
Meanwhile, Wike, who contested the PDP presidential primary won by Atiku in May, said he is not asking Atiku to step down as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
The Rivers governor said his demand is that Atiku ensure the removal of Iyorchia Ayu as PDP national chairman for a southern replacement.
Wike said, “We forget history. In 2015 when Jonathan as a sitting President, I am not talking as a presidential candidate but as a sitting President, when he had won his primary, Jonathan went to London to Dorchester Hotel, he went to plead with Atiku Abubakar to come back to the party and support him.
“You know the condition he (Atiku) gave Jonathan? He should relinquish his ticket not to run as the President of Nigeria. That was the presidential candidate of a ruling party. He gave him a condition, telling him to relinquish that ticket.
“Today, we are not saying the presidential candidate should relinquish his ticket; we are not being selfish, we are saying since you are now the presidential candidate, let our people take chairmanship,” he said.
Recall that Atiku and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, had visited Jonathan at his Abuja residence on November 17 to resolve the crisis within the PDP but nothing has been heard of the former President.
Wike and four other PDP governors known as the G5 or the Integrity Group want Benue-born Ayu to step down for a southerner over what they called the dominance of the north within the party.