PDP committee never voted for Wike as my running mate, Says Atiku

The standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to reports that he rejected Governor Nyeson Wike of Rivers State as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, had in an interview claimed a committee was set up in the interest of the presidential candidate to select his running mate.

He claimed that 14 out of the 17 members of the committee voted Nyeson Wike as the preferred candidate, accusing Atiku Abubakar of intentional neglect in favour of Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

Ortom therefore said the presidential candidate should have reached out to the Rivers State governor over his choice of another candidate for the position.

Ortom argued: “Of course, three names were presented. In the order of preference, Wike, Okowa and governor Udom – all of them are qualified. But the preference was Wike – 14 members (referring to the committee) out of 17. This is the point we are making,” Ortom said.

“Three of them were qualified but governor Wike was eminently qualified – 14 out of 17 members chose him. All these things were said during our meeting. We said that for the PDP to win, we needed governor Wike”

Reacting in an exclusive interview on Arise TV on Friday, Atiku said the information given by Samuel Ortom was inaccurate, adding that he didn’t reject Wike as reported in many quarters.

He explained that the PDP committee headed by Ortom was actually put together by his instance, and that the committee never took any vote on any preferred candidate.

He said “the committee presented three names to me knowing that it was the prerogative of the presidential candidate to chose a running mate”.

He added that the party was working really hard to settle its internal post-presidential primary crises ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“People need to be fair to me. There was no votes whatsoever as to whom I should pick as the running mate. It’s the prerogative of the presidential candidate to pick who he can work with amicably to deliver his policies and ideas. So what happened was not a matter of rejection. The word is too harsh.

“We will reach out to Governor Wike in due course and the party would settle its internal crises and move forward”, Atiku said.

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