PRESIDENT TINUBU AND THE VISIT OF THE G-5 GOVERNORS: A Reward Time For A Job Well-Done?
The 2023 Presidential election may have come and gone, but the only thing Nigerians will not shirk in a hurry during the election is the activities of the five (5) governors in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) known as G-5 Governors over the roles they played during the election against the Presidential candidate of their party, Atiku Abubakar.
The breakaway of the G-5 Governors from the presidential campaign of the PDP during the 2023 election came as a result of the party crisis that sprang from the party before and after the conduct of the presidential primary of the party, over which geopolitical zone should produce the party’s presidential flag bearer in the election.
Before the PDP presidential primary, the Southern Governors comprises Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross-River, Bayelsa, Edo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Lagos and Oyo states all met in Asaba to ponder on key issues affecting the Southern zone, which includes solutions to herders/farmers clashes, RUGA policy introduced by the then federal government under Buhari, security architecture and the zoning arrangement of the 2023 presidency among many more and at the end of the meeting, the governors unanimously agreed that the next President after the eight years of Buhari from the North must come from the South as usual zoning tradition since 1999. The meeting was tagged #AsabaDeclaration
After the meeting, former governors Wike of Rivers, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom, Peter Obi, Ayo Fayose, and some candidates from the PDP who are from the Southern region threw their political hats into the ring to contest for the PDP primary ticket to become the party’s flag bearer in the election and they kick-off their consultations but the game suddenly changed, when some candidates in the North like the former governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Atiku Abubakar and others also showed to contest for the ticket. The show of interest of these Northeners threw political spanners in the party, as the candidates from the South vehemently differ that the eight years completion of former President Buhari from the North can not produce another candidate from the zone, which will amount to injustice, unfairness and lack of equity in the party.
In 2019, all the presidential aspirants that contested for the primary of the party, PDP, came from the North and no Southern aspirants showed interest, this formed the basis of the argument of the Southern aspirants of the party who had earlier shown interest but this argument fell on the deaf ears of the Northern aspirants, especially Atiku Abubakar.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, under the former national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorcha Ayu set a zoning arrangement committee, which was headed by the former Benue governor, Samuel Ortom to look at the issue of whether or not the party should cede the ticket to the South alone or throw it open between the two regions and at the end, the committee came with the recommendations that the party should throw the ticket open to the aspirants from the South and the North.
The outcome of the report led to the exit of Peter Obi from the party, who was the first aspirant to purchase the nomination form and he defected to the Labour Party but the other aspirants from the South did not leave and they contested the primary.
On the day of the primary, which was held at the MKO Abiola stadium in Abuja, the aspirants took their turn to campaign for the delegates’ votes to win the ticket but the unexpected happened, as one of the key aspirants seen to be an ally of Governor Wike, Aminu Tambuwal came back on the podium to publicly announced his stepping down for Atiku Abubakar and told his delegates to cast their votes for him (Atiku). This dramatic show by Tambuwal changed the game plan for other aspirants, as it was seen as a volitional attempt to return the ticket of the party to the North. At the end of the primary that lasted overnight, Atiku Abubakar from the North was declared winner of the primary with lawful majority votes, while Wike from the South came second with close margins.
The G-5 crisis began in the party when Wike and some Governors said the national chairman of the party then, Ayu must step down to make the seat come from the South to balance the political seats arraignment in the party structure since the presidential candidate of the party has emerged from the North but this again did not go down well with some loyalists to the candidate of the party, and Ayu himself. Wike and some Governors asserted that the only way they can feel uncheated and that can bring equity and fairness to the party is when Ayu resign, to pave the way for the South to produce the national chairman but the defiance of Atiku, Ayu and their loyalists vehemently resisted to cede the chairmanship seat to the South.
After using their available avenues to press home their demands did not work; Ex Governors; Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde cropped up an alliance called the “G-5 Governors” and dissociated themselves from the Presidential campaign of the party, but stood behind their party at their various states.
The activities and series of meetings both within and outside the shores of the country of the G-5 fascinated the political attention of Nigerians, both in the APC and PDP as some people within and outside the PDP pitched their tents with the G-5. These Governors in their unique way were mostly seen in the same attire anytime they were going to a meeting and at a point, former governors Mimiko and Fayose enlisted in the struggle.
The activities of the G-5 became more serious and frightening to the PDP, as they were conspicuously noticed not at attend presidential campaign venues of the party, and to this point, Nigerians began to be speculating that they were working for the emergence of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu as a way of actualizing their Southern agenda for the next President.
During his campaign, President Bola Tinubu ensured he had a closed-door meeting with the G-5 in their respective states, which further made Nigerians conclude that the G-5 was working for the APC candidate as against their party candidate.
Although during the electioneering campaign, none of the G-5 publicly declared support for the APC candidate but at the end of the election, Makinde, Ortom, and Wike delivered their states for the APC but Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi lost to the LP candidate, Peter Obi who is from the zone, South-East and at the end, the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar lost the presidential election to the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu that the G-5 Governors supported against Atiku.
After the swearing-in of Tinubu on May 29 as the President, there has been speculation that he will reward the G-5 Governors that worked for him with positions in his cabinet, except that of Oyo, Seyi Makinde who won his re-election bid in the state. Recently, Wike granted a press conference, where he talked about what happened when he was in office and the Presidential election. He also alluded to it that nothing is wrong, if he serve his country under the current administration of President Bola Tinubu.
Yesterday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu received the G-5 Governors of the PDP at the Presidential Villa. Ex Governors; Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, and Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde. This will be the first time after assuming the office as President that Tinubu will be receiving the game changers for him in the 2023 Presidential election(G-5 Governors).
The big question on the lips of several Nigerians that knew the pivotal role played by the G-5 Governors during the election is; Was their visit to the Aso Rock an ordinary visit as former Governors and incumbent Governor or for a rewarding time for a job well-done in the area of political appointments?
Time will tell how President Tinubu will pay back the support he enjoyed from the G-5 during the election.
Sam Olorunfemi Jr