Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is set to head back to the country to receive Ibrahim Shekarau into the major opposition party.
Shekarau, a former Kano state governor, is unsettled at the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and he is believed to be on his way out.
Atiku is expected to return from Europe on Sunday, where he met with Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state.
The former vice-president is billed to meet with Shekarau ahead of his official defection to the PDP.
Shekerau left the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the NNPP in May 2022 after months of leadership tussle with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.
The senator representing Kano central said APC’s inability to settle the crisis between his faction and Ganduje’s camp resulted in his exit.
But his new alliance with the NNPP would prove to be short-lived. A few days ago, Shekarau opened up on his disgruntlement with the party.
He said the NNPP under the leadership of Rabiu Kwankwaso, the party’s presidential candidate, failed to integrate his supporters.
Shekarau accused Kwankwaso of betraying the agreement they had before his defection.
“I will never be a party to injustice. My integrity is utmost and not any political position that will make me compromise it and that of my people. Nobody will use position or money against my integrity,” he had said.
“Nobody will use money to change my conscience. I was a governor for eight years in Kano and people believed in my integrity.”
SHEKARAU, THE OLD PDP BOY
Shekarau’s imminent return to the major opposition party represents a full-circle moment for him
Until 2018, he was a member of the PDP, with his exit stemming from the internal rift in the Kano chapter of the party.
One faction was loyal to him while another was under the control of Kwankwaso, who was also in PDP at the time.
When he announced his defection, Shekarau blamed the national leadership of the party for failing to resolve the crisis following the controversial dissolution of the state executive committee.
DEFECTION BOOST FOR ATIKU
Despite being out of the office of governor since 2011, Shekarau is believed to still have a decent political structure in Kano.
The state, governed by Abdullahi Ganduje, has been controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) since 2015.
With the 2023 elections fast approaching, the PDP is working to encroach into APC strongholds, especially as it contends with a yet-to-be-resolved internal crisis.
TheCable had reported details of Atiku’s recent fence-mending talks with Wike in the UK.
The PDP has been in turmoil since it held its presidential primary election in May.
Atiku clinched the party’s ticket after the dramatic withdrawal of Tambuwal from the race. Tambuwal had asked his supporters to support the former vice-president.
The crisis in the party escalated after Atiku chose Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, as his running mate.
Party stakeholders had expressed concerns that Atiku ignored Wike — who was said to have been preferred by a majority of the PDP’s national working committee (NWC) members as the candidate for the position.
On Friday, TheCable reported that allies of Wike demanded the resignation of Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the party, as a condition for a truce with Atiku.