The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, Nyesom Wike and Udom Emmanuel were absent from the mega rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Osun State governorship election on Thursday.
Despite the absence of Governor Makinde from the PDP mega rally, he ensured that adequate logistics arrangement was made to convey party members from the Ibadan Airport to Osogbo.
This is according to his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa who confirmed to newsmen that the Governor’s absence has no bearing on any perceived disappointment over the decision of the PDP presidential flag bearer to choose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate.
The absence of the three governors at the rally raised eyebrows as speculation became rife that they did not attend because of their anger over the presidential flag bearer choice of running mate.
In an attempt to debunk the rumours, Adisa stated that it is wrong to ascribe the governor’s absence at the rally to the running mate issue.
He explained that the Oyo State Chief Executive was unable to attend the Osogbo event because he had been outside the country to attend to crucial issues in Europe which clashed with the timing of the Osogbo rally.
The governor’s spokesman revealed that Makinde had however directed that sufficient logistics support be provided for the rally, especially for the ferrying of personalities from the Ibadan Airport to Osogbo.
He said: “Apart from all these, the Chief of Staff to the Governor led officials of Oyo State to the rally. So, there is no truth in the speculations linking the absence of Makinde from the Osogbo rally to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s Vice Presidential candidacy.”
Similarly, the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiya, informed that he was fully aware that the Akwa-Ibom State Governor would have been in Osogbo but for some circumstances beyond his control.
According to him, Governor Emmanuel has no issue with the choice of Okowa as running for Atiku.
“He is equally not at war with the leadership of the party over the matter. His absence from the Osogbo campaign rally was actually due to circumstances beyond his control,” the former PDP spokesman added.
On Wike, a source close to his office also affirmed that the Rivers Governor did not stay away from the rally to give expression to his disappointment over his non-selection as the PDP presidential running mate.
The source who wished to remain anonymous because of lack of authorization to speak on the matter said there was no truth in the speculation that the former presidential aspirant shunned the meeting deliberately.
The source stated: “Look, you know that the governor has been out of the country for about a week now. In fact, he just arrived on Thursday night from the United Kingdom (UK).”
“I want to also say that there is no truth in the speculations that Wike is leaving the PDP for any party at all. He won’t do that. He is a big leader and stakeholder in the PDP. Let’s not continue to propagate empty speculations.”
The source further stated that, “The recent visit to the Rivers governor by some of his All Progress Congress (APC) counterparts in Port Harcourt was not enough to speculate that Wike would dump the PDP.”
“There are lots of relationships that could have necessitated the visit. The Ekiti State Governor is chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum where Wike plays a prominent role. The Ondo State governor is chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and in that forum too, the River State Governor is a known leader.”
“The Lagos State Governor is sharing responsibilities with the Rivers State Governor with respect to the Value Added Tax (VAT) issue. So, as you can see, those specifications about Wike’s defection are untrue.”