Senate President Bukola Saraki and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, among other party bigwigs are making frantic efforts to cajole Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu to remain in the party, Daily Trust has learnt. It was gathered that as part of the efforts to convince Ekweremadu to remain in PDP, Saraki, Atiku and the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, met with the deputy Senate president at his Abuja residence on Monday night.
Sources told Daily Trust yesterday in Abuja that the trio of Atiku, Saraki and Secondus alongside other PDP stalwarts appealed to Ekweremadu not to feel alienated by the party which he supported during its most turbulent moments.
“They felt that they’ve taken the man for granted too much. So, they now visited him to iron things out,” one of the sources said. But the truth of the matter is that they’ve goofed, that’s why they wanted to right their wrongs,” he added.
Another source said Ekweremadu’s interest was not the VP slot but what would go to the south-East in terms of projects as well as the issue of restructuring and the opportunity to produce president in 2023.
There was a mild drama at the Senate yesterday when Ekweremadu did something that appeared to be a campaign for the APC’s “Next Level” while he was presiding plenary.
The incident happened after the Senate finished the consideration of some bills at the Committee of Whole, after which senators were to revert to plenary. This was when Ekweremadu said “Those in favour that the Senate do move to the next level say aye, those against say nay.”
The statement made the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe) to express delight over Ekweremadu’s comment.
Ekweremadu had recently led some governors from the South East for a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari. The governors later said the visit had nothing to do with 2019.
Ekweremadu had been reported to be nurturing the idea of dumping the PDP following the choice of Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, as the vice presidential running mate to Atiku “without proper consultations.”
He was also angered that Atiku and other PDP handlers side-lined him by denying him any role in the party’s presidential campaign council despite being the highest elective officer of the party until recently.
It was learnt that about two weeks ago when the PDP was to hold a meeting with the South East leaders in Enugu, Ekweremadu got the invitation only few hours to the event.
Also, Daily Trust gathered that while other PDP bigwigs got the invitation ahead of time to attend the last week’s turbaning of Atiku as Waziri Adamawa in Yola, Ekweremadu’s invitation was delivered to him two days to the event.