Nigeria’s opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have begun the search for a suitable running mate for the party’s presidential flag bearer, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Sources say that the PDP has narrowed the former Vice President’s running mate to three sitting governors which are Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Gov Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom. 

State of play
The opposition party speculatively narrowed the list from the party’s nine southern governors to three governors by considering the current governor’s political intentions for the forthcoming 2023 elections. 

  • PDP’s governors, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Douye Diri of Bayelsa State were elected in 2020 and still have two years in their tenure. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, a first term governor, has secured the party’s gubernatorial ticket and would seek re-election in the state come 2023. 
  • Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, amongst others, have shown senatorial ambitions in the upcoming election. 
  • Sources say that the reason for the consideration of only southern governors is the recent claim of marginalization of Southeasterners. Although none of the three speculated governors are core easterners, they are marginally Igbo. 

Quick catch-up 
On the 28th of May 2022, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar clinched the PDP’s presidential ticket at the party’s presidential convention in Abuja. In second place and third place to Atiku Abubakar was Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike and former Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki. 

Other speculations 
In a caucus meeting in Abuja, Iduma Igariwey and Nnolim Nnaji reportedly appealed the inclusion of party faithfuls Anyim Pius Anyim and Senator Ken Nnamani into the fold being considered as a suitable running mate for Atiku Abubakar. 

Meanwhile 
Nigeria’s party, All Progressive Congress (APC) are in a difficult situation as the possibility of a Muslim-Muslim pairing seems to be the outcome of the party’s presidential representation in the 2023 election as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential flag bearer secured the party’s ticket. 

What to watch 
A favored presidential representation by Nigerians over the years has been a pairing of two different regions (Northern/Southern) and religion (Christian/Muslim). Would Nigerian parties follow the trend or take a different path?

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