The former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, was noticeably absent at a one-day retreat for elected officials affiliated with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), currently taking place at the Banquet Hall in the Government House of Bauchi State.
Among the notable figures present at the retreat are Umaru Fintiri, Governor of Adamawa; Duoye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa; Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi; Sheriff Oborevwori, Governor of Delta; Ademola Adeleke, Governor of Osun; Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo; Siminalayi Fubara, Governor of Rivers; Caleb Mutfwang, Governor of Plateau; Agbu Kefas, Governor of Taraba; Dauda Dare, Governor of Zamfara; and Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo (represented by his deputy, Philip Shuaibu).
Other attendees include Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s Presidential Candidate; the National Working Committee led by Acting National Chairman Umar Damagum; Adolphus Wabara, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Ahmed Makarfi, former PDP National Chairman; Walid Jibril, former Board of Trustees Chairman; Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Niger State; Aminu Tambuwal, former Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum; and Dino Melaye, Kogi State Governorship Candidate.
The event also welcomed serving Senators, House of Representatives members, as well as Senators-elect and newly elected House of Representatives members. Abubakar Suleiman, Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, was also in attendance, along with several lawmakers from the Labour Party, Young Progressives Party, and other opposition minority parties.
However, Nyesom Wike, who led a group of four governors (Makinde of Oyo, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Samuel Ortom of Benue, and Ikpeazu of Abia) to form the G-5 Governors, was noticeably absent, and no representative stood in for him. The reason for Wike’s absence remains unknown officially, but there are strong speculations that he has switched parties from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Critics point to his growing rapport with APC leadership and the poor performance of the PDP in the Presidential election in Rivers State as evidence of his alleged party switch. Wike, however, has denied leaving the PDP and maintains that he is still a member of the opposition party.
Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Damagum, clarified that the inclusion of members from the minority opposition parties is aimed at building a strong and unified force in relation to the leadership of the National Assembly.