Hours after his emergence as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, indications emerged on Sunday that Atiku Abubakar may be considering the governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson as his running mate.
There were speculations also, that the deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu may be the favoured choice for the VP slot. Top chieftains of the PDP confided in TNN in Port Harcourt that Dickson and Ekwereamadu's names have been on the table for a while now.
But there was a third option. The DG of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Gbenga Daniel is said to be equally considered by the south-west interests, who believe that he would be best suited for the office.
TNN learnt that the trio were those on the card while campaigns were going on, before the primaries. For Dickson, it was learnt that he was considered because of his belief in the new mantra of restructuring.
It was not immediately clear whether this consideration was responsible for Dickson's resolve to campaign seriously for Atiku and to also mobilise his state and neighbouring states for Atiku.
Sources said Dickson passed instructions to all delegates from his state for them to support Atiku to victory. The warm embrace he had with Atiku minutes after he emerged the candidate was also very instructive.
TNN could not confirm if the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was with Dickson in this. But Jonathan it was, that led the Bayelsa team as the state queued to vote at the primary.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce did not hide his support for Atiku. The senator is a die-hard follower of Dickson. In fact, Dickson would have incurred the wrath of Nembe people when he pleaded and tried to persuade the people, that Murray- Bruce should be allowed to return to the senate for a second term, against the zoning formula of the senatorial district.
Murray –Bruce was with Atiku all through the campaign days, before the primary. Sources said he had to do that on behalf of Dickson. Apart from this, the senator who has since dropped his re-election ambition, also gave out his Silverbird Television airtime for the live coverage of the primary election.
Not just the television, his Rhythm Fm radio also ran live coverage of the event throughout Saturday. Murray-Bruce went wild in the stadium as soon as it became clear that Atiku was winning.
The thinking is that if Dickson gets the VP slot, it would have been enough compensation for the Bayelsa State, and indeed the south-south, as Jonathan was prevented from enjoying a second term in office, on behalf of the region.
Another reason for his consideration, according to sources, is that Dickson sits over a rich state and could contribute massively to the campaigns. Dickson is believed to enjoy the friendship of most governors from the region and also enjoys similar gestures from his northern counterparts.
However, Atiku's men are also said to be looking the way of Ekweremadu. Those in this school of thought believe that with the deputy senate president as vice president, the south-east would have been assuaged and their hopes raised, that they could, sooner than expected, have the chance to produce the next president.
Already, Atiku had promised that he would only run for one term and would not be interested in a re-election in 2023. With this in mind, those who are in support of the candidacy of Ekweremadu believe that it would be the best thing to happen to the south-east at this time.
But in the case of Daniel, the thinking is that the south-west with much more votes than the south-south, will be a plus for the Atiku project. Daniel has been with Atiku from the beginning as his campaign DG and it is believed that he has appreciable following in the region.