MUTTERINGS over the attitude of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar towards South East party leaders have been squashed following secret meetings between the candidate and the aggrieved leaders, Vanguard has learned.
PDP governors in the South-East and Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, have bought into the Atiku presidential aspiration, following the meetings, Vanguard gathered. They had been peeved over his attitude since his emergence as the candidate of the party. The reconciliation was achieved in one-on-one meetings held behind closed doors between Monday and Tuesday.
The meetings commenced, Monday, when Atiku flew to meet with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State in Enugu at the end of which the governor pledged to work with Atiku and to be fully involved in the campaigns. Following that, the candidate met Ekweremadu at the latter’s Abuja residence where they also reconciled. “They bared their minds and the candidate accepted where he was wrong, and the candidate said that he should be forgiven for any and all errors, and Ekweremadu said that the interest of the party remains paramount. It was a very good meeting,” a top party source who helped facilitate the meeting and one of the early canvassers of the Atiku presidential ticket told Vanguard.
Atiku also met with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Abuja where they also harmonised and made up. The only governor that the candidate did not meet personally was Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, and that was because of scheduling difficulties. Vanguard, however, gathered that the vice-presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi was able to meet with Umahi and that issues have also been straightened out between the two. There were insinuations that Atiku had despised the person of Ekweremadu who is the highest political office holder of the party and had kept the party together until the defection of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The governors were also peeved that the emergence of Obi as the presidential running mate was made in concert with political players outside the region and that they were not carried along. Despite these concerns, Atiku after the nomination of Obi travelled to Dubai for an elongated stay during which he was said to have prepared for his campaign. On returning to the country, the former vice-president met with South East leaders, but that meeting was boycotted by the political class including the governors.
Following these concerns, some of Atiku’s associates had sought a joint meeting with the Southeast leaders in Enugu, but that suggestion was said to have been shot down for one-on-one meetings with the affected leaders and governors which Atiku adopted.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus were part of the meetings, Vanguard gathered. “I can confirm authoritatively that they are all working together in the same direction. Saraki who is the campaign manager expressed happiness with the outcome of the meetings,” one source revealed.