Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has denied being penciled down as the running mate of Atiku Abubakar, former vice president, who is reportedly eyeing the presidency again next year.

A national daily had reported that Mr Abubakar who was the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election has dumped his running mate Peter Obi.

The opposition chieftain popularly called Atiku was said to have handpicked Mr Wike as replacement, citing the financial war chest of the outgoing governor who is supporting his Sokoto counterpart, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, to clinch the exalted position.

But at a stakeholders meeting of the Rivers State Chapter of the PDP at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the governor on Tuesday asked Nigerians not to take whatever the report said serious.

“Please discountenance anything you’re seeing about being VP to this and that,” he said. “Discountenance all those social media talk.”

He added that the party was yet to take a position as regards to power shift and the Southern part of the country will speak with one voice when due.

“The south will make a statement very soon and the day the south makes a statement, Nigeria will know that we are not joking,” he assured.

He also chided presidential hopefuls who said they were consulting stakeholders and their supporters over their ambitions.

“It is not to come out and say you are consulting. You say you’re consulting, yet you have declared. Is it not after consultations that you declare?”, Wike asked.