Last-minute intrigues in PDP over Atiku’s running mate

Anxiety in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the choice of running mate to presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has heightened, 24 hours before the submission deadline.

Yesterday’s decision by the party to raise a team led by Chief Tom Ikimi to screen Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike created more confusion.

On Tuesday, the National Advisory Council (NAC) recommended Wike for the slot.

Observers were wondering why the need to screen Wike again, having been screened by the David Mark-led presidential screening panel.

The Rivers State governor came second in the PDP presidential primary.

Those eyeing the slot before the NAC decision to nominate Wike are former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

Other members of the Ikimi panel expected to screen Wike today, according to PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, are: Dr Akilu Indabawa, Capt. Idris Wada, Chief Osita Chidoka, Binta Bello, Chief Mutiat Adedoja, Austin Opara, Prof. Aisha Madawaki, Mrs Ayotunde George-Ologun, Chief Chidiebelu Mofus and Fidelis Tapgun.

Ologunagba said: “Pursuant to Part VI, Paragraph 14 of the Electoral Guidelines of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the National Working Committee (NWC) has approved the nomination of the following party members to serve on the Vice Presidential Candidate Screening Committee for the screening/verifying of the nominated Vice Presidential Candidate of our party for the 2023 general elections.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) warned political parties that the candidate nomination portal for the 2023 general election would automatically shut down at 6 pm tomorrow for national elections and 6 pm on July 15 for state elections.

The commission also said the names of presidential and governorship candidates must be accompanied by the names of their running mates (i.e. Vice Presidential and deputy governorship candidates) without which the nomination would be invalid.

It could not be confirmed last night whether the PDP will forward its presidential running mate’s name by the deadline tomorrow, or will put a name that will be substituted during the substitution window next month.

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