Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal have visited Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, a day after meeting Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Ortom is a close political ally of Wike and often acts as his spokesman.
Both Dogara and Lawal during the week met with the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, who in June met Wike in his country home in Port Harcourt.
The visit of the senior members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, comes against stiff opposition from Northern Christians to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party, a group in which both Dogara and Lawal are active members.
Lawal had written what many in APC considered a toxic letter to the Presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, accusing him of undermining religious plurality in Nigeria especially the place of northern Christian in the APC.
He followed that letter with an appearance on TV defending his position saying the ticket of the APC was against national unity.
On Friday, the northern Christian stakeholders had a meeting in Abuja which included Dogara and Lawal, and vowed to teach APC “a bitter lesson” for choosing a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Wike has also been at loggerhead with the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar in the way he has handled the post running mate selection exercise.
On Friday, he accused Atiku of lying, promising “to reveal all the truths that have happened” in PDP to Nigeria.”
The latest meeting at Governor Wike’s country home in Rumueprikom, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of River State is seen as part of the moves to unify behind a particular candidate outside of the APC and PDP.
Dogara however told journalists during the visit that “everyone agrees with us that Governor Wike is one of those indispensable political leaders. For us, it is a search to build an all inclusive Nigeria.
“So we feel that as part of the agenda setting we should meet with him and that is the reason why we are here. And for the rest, whatever it is, maybe in the future we can discuss that.”
Also, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation explained their mission, saying, “We came to visit our brother. He (Wike) is our brother. So, every now and then, the Bible enjoins you to visit one another. That is what we just did.”
On if the meeting had to do with meeting some northern leaders in Abuja on Friday, Lawal said, “No, there are many things that in the world for which you need to visit a brother, so there is nothing to do with our meeting in Abuja.”