This piece looks at the crisis threatening PDP’s chances of making a comeback at the federal level after eight years in opposition.
Despite denials and mixed signals from some of its leading figures, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is apparently in crisis. The party has not known peace since it was swept out of power by the All Progressives Congress (APC). How did the party get to this sorry state? The party’s current crisis, which is a fall out of the outcome of the June 30, 2022 presidential primary, is a culmination of a series of events which followed the loss of power in 2015. Following the loss, several party leaders, some of whom connived with the then opposition APC to end PDP’s 16 years of dominance, ditched the ‘umbrella’ to seek their political fortunes elsewhere.
Read Also: Atiku, Wike groups meet in Port Hacourt, agree to unify party
One man, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, stood out among the few party leaders who remained to salvage what was left of the PDP.
Working along with others, Wike’s intervention in party affairs was not without controversy. In pursuit of an agenda for total dominance, the rivers governor, along with his ally, former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, pushed for a leadership change and foisted former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff as National Chairman.
Sheriff’s tenure inflicted on the PDP a leadership tussle never before seen in the party’s close to two decades of existence. It was brought to its knees such that it took the intervention of the Supreme Court to restore normalcy with the interim leadership of Sen. Ahmed Makarfi.
Not done, Wike engineered the emergence of Uche Secondus as National Chairman but they soon parted ways when Wike wanted Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State as the party’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election. The battle was so fierce that Wike threatened dire consequences if the PDP shifted the primary from Port Harcourt as earlier agreed. He had his wish but his candidate lost to former VP Atiku Abubakar.
At the height of the dispute, the Rivers governor owned up to having a hand in the travails of his one-time political ally (Secondus). In response to a question on whether he had a hand in the move to oust Secondus, Wike answered in the affirmative. A series of litigations followed and Secondus was edged out.
Enter Senator Iyiochia Ayu. Party stakeholders came together and arrived at a consensus to elect the former Senate President as replacement for Secondus.
It became the responsibility of the Ayu-led National Working Committee to prepare the ground for congresses at various levels as well as the primary to elect the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections. This time, Wike indicated interest in running for the PDP ticket.
When the primary was eventually held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, on Saturday, May 28, Atiku emerged victorious after polling 371 votes to beat Wike who came second with 237 votes; Dr Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President, got 70 votes; Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, 20 votes; his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, 38 votes; Mr Pius Anyim, a former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, 14 votes, and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, boardroom titan, one vote.
A last-minute decision by Tambuwal to throw his weight behind Atiku during the primary dealt a mortal blow on Wike’s chances. While the Rivers governor was still licking his wound, another shocker awaited him. His supporters had expected that he would be picked as presidential running mate but this was also not to be.
Atiku, who, perhaps, learnt a lesson from his 2019 experience, consulted critical organs of the party, including the PDP Governors’ Forum, Board of Trustees, and National Working Committee with each expressing different views.
He subsequently set up a committee to recommend a list of candidates from which he was to pick one. Three persons: Wike, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Udom Emmanuel were recommended.
Atiku settled for Okowa, but this, obviously, didn’t go down well with Wike and those sympathetic to his cause.
Some of his colleagues in this category include Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpazu (Abia) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) among others. It was learnt that the Wike camp is demanding among other things that the party’s National Chairman, Ayu, should step aside first, for his alleged partiality during the primary. Second, that his continued stay in office was a breach of the PDP’s zoning principle.
As things stand, the party’s presidential candidate, the National Chairman and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees are all from northern Nigeria. PDP stakeholders are still trying to broker peace.
A top ranking member of the party, who pleaded anonymity for fear of jeopardizing ongoing peace talks, said, “Truth be told, Wike is not contesting for any office at the moment, he literally has nothing to lose.
“The Atiku camp has angered the Wike camp with the conduct and utterances of some of its members.
“Matters were made matters worse by Atiku’s people who went behind to broker meetings between Atiku and some of Wike’s people in a bid to isolate him. “I’m aware that some strategists are working hard to isolate Wike in order to deal directly with those in his camp who have something at stake.
“Several of the governors will be seeking a second term in office come 2023, some will be heading for the Senate, and hence those in this category will see reason to abandon a course of action which could jeopardize their chances.”
Party watchers agree that the current travails of the party PDP are deep-rooted and virtually everybody in the party’s top echelon has played one role or another in making it fester.
A senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Jos, Joseph Anuga, explained that power abhors a vacuum as such, when the party’s founding fathers jumped ship and others stepped in to fill the gap, it would be inconceivable to expect such persons not to seek to promote their own interests.
He said, “People join political parties as a vehicle to actualize their personal or group interests. Governor Wike stepped in when others ran, you can’t blame him for seeking to benefit from the investment of his time, energy and resources in the party.”
An Abuja-based public affairs commentator, Mr. Adakole Moses, on his part, said the party will be shooting itself in the foot if it does not find a decent way to handle Wike’s concerns.
He said, “Since the PDP, like most of our political parties do not have a structured functional system of financing its operations, a man who helped sustain the party throughout its most challenging period will definitely have this sense of entitlement for whatever it is worth, the party and its candidate must find a way to reassure him and his supporters that their concerns are not being ignored.
“There is also a big challenge which both the PDP and any other party which intends to form government in 2023 cannot ignore-the South East. It is double jeopardy because; this is one part of the country which has consistently voted for the party since 1999.
“Most south-easterners feel alienated because they feel, and rightly so, that their close to two decades of support for the PDP brand should count for something.
“Votes from the region may not be much when compared to the North-West for example, but the eventual winner must get at least 25 percent of votes cast in each state to be returned.”
The Atiku camp has remained upbeat about prospects of an early resolution of the impasse following a face-to-face meeting between him and Wike penultimate week. Media Adviser to the former VP, Mazi Paul Ibe, told Sunday Vanguard, “We are in the final stages of talks, we are confident that most, if not all of the outstanding issues, will be thrashed out in no distant future. The PDP is one big family.”
A source in Wike’s camp said, “We are not averse to a quick resolution of all the issues, but we require significant guarantees to restore our confidence in the process.”
While a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George, has led the move to oust Ayu in order to pave way for genuine reconciliation, the party leadership described his calls a personal opinion which was not reflective of the majority opinion of party members.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said, “Every member has a right to express a personal opinion, it is their right.
“This does not however represent the majority opinion of our members.
“Our party organs have met severally and have expressed confidence in the leadership of the Iyochia Ayu-led National Working Committee.”
He explained that calls for Ayu’s removal on account of zoning were uncalled for at this time because there is precedent.
The spokesman noted that when President Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, emerged as PDP candidate in 2007, Senator Ahmadu Ali, also a northerner, was National Chairman until Yar’Adua won the election before another Convention was held and a successor emerged.
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, speaking in a similar vein at a party event in Abuja, on Friday, said those making such calls did not wish either the PDP or Nigeria well.
He said, “Those calling for the dissolution of the NWC do not mean well for the PDP and Nigeria. What we should be taking about now is how to unite the party towards achieving the rescue mission. We are proud of our party leadership and we are with them.”
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SCRAP METAL DEALERS IN LAGOS STATE DECLARE TOTAL SUPPORT FOR ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU AS PRESIDENT AND GOVERNOR BABAJIDE SANWO-OLU FOR 2ND TERM
Thousands of Scrap Metal dealers in Lagos State have vowed to deliver massive votes for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the re-election of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and all APC candidates across the State.
This declaration was made on Sunday at the New Garage Busstop (Odo Iyaalaro), near Ojota by the teeming members of the association. The event was organized by Grassroots Engagement Directorate under the leadership of Hon. Abdulbaq Ladi Balogun.
The Chief of Staff to Lagos State Governor who also doubles as the Director General of Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat (ICC), Mr. Tayo Ayinde commended the leadership of the organization and the massive turnout of their members.
He reiterated government commitment to making available a conducive environment for business activities in the state. In his words; ‘ The Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu administration is performing wonders across the State and if returned to power, he will do more.’
He assured the leadership of total support from the Government, Mr. Ayinde used the opportunity to enlighten the gathering on how to vote correctly especially with the new BVAS system.
The chairman of Independent Campaign Council, Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku appreciated the members and leadership for conducting themselves very well. He charged them to go all out and vote for APC candidates in the coming elections.
Delivering his speech, the chairman of the Scrap Metal Dealers in Lagos State, Comrade Adewale Adedotun thanked the Director General, the Chairman and all that came with them. Adedotun declared that the group has no other party to support but APC .
Dignitaries at the event were Mr. Tayo Ayinde (Director General ICC), Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku (Chairman ICC), Hon. Kafilat Ogbara (House of Representatives Candidate for Kosofe Constituency), Hon. Okanlawon Sanni (House of Assembly Member Kosofe), Hon. Mayosoore Ogunlewe (Chairman of Kosofe LGA), Hon. Ladi Balogun (Director, Grassroots Engagement), Hon. Olumide Olayomi, Hon. Bode Olaniyan among others
Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo/Hamzat Independent Campaign Council (ICC)
INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN COUNCIL FOR TINUBU/ SHETTIMA AND SANWO-OLU/ HAMZAT BUYS JAMB (UTME) FORM FOR 2000 STUDENTS
The Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat (ICC) purchased Joint Admission Matriculation Board – Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination form for 2,000 students in Lagos State.
As the promising teenagers are looking forward to a brighter future, the Independent Campaign Council (ICC) is poised to give helping hands, particularly the indigent students.
Championing the distribution of the UTME forms among the young people today 2nd February, 2023 was the Directorate of Education of the Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu-Shetima and Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat ably led by the Director, Dr. Adeyinka Olarinmoye.
Speaking at the event, the Director General of ICC Mr. Tayo Akinmade Ayinde congratulated the vibrant young people and their parents. He admonished the students that getting a free form does not give them licence to be lazy.
Mr. Ayinde noted that great people are hard working people and for young people to excel,they must be diligent in all they do .
Some of the highlights of the event were giving gift items to students who excelled during a brief quiz competition. The Director General also gave gifts to some of the parents who accompanied their wards to the venue.
Dignitaries at the event were Mr. Tayo Ayinde, the Director General of ICC, Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku, Chairman of ICC, Director, Education Directorate of the ICC, Dr. Adeyinka Olarinmoye among others.
In Osogbo, Tinubu restates commitment to job creation, credit for business owners
…carpets Governor Adeleke for poor governance
All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, took his message of Renewed Hope to Osun State on Thursday where he assured the people and party supporters of his commitment to create jobs for the unemployed and make credit available for business owners.
Speaking in Yoruba to a mammoth crowd of people who thronged the venue of the campaign rally at Freedom Park Osogbo, Tinubu said his administration would empower the people with the skill that will make them employable while ensuring that the youth will no longer spend years in university due to lecturers’ strike action, stating that his pledge to the people will remain a biding covenant.
“I make a social covenant with you today that the unemployed among you will get job. Those with no skill will be provided the relevant skill that would put food on their table. When we get to government, we will make soft loans available for market women and business owners.”
Taking a swipe at the current Peoples Democratic Party government of Governor Ademola Adeleke in Osun State for poor governance of the state, the APC presidential candidate charged the people that APC administration will soon return to continue the good work.
“They were given a little opportunity to rule for some months and they started misbehaving, killing and creating unrest in Osun state.”
From his prepared speech which he didn’t get the time to read, Asiwaju Tinubu congratulated Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, who was declared winner by the governorship election petition tribunal.
He praised Oyetola’s tenacity, diligence, consistency and determination, which made him not to give up until he got his stolen mandate back.
On his plans for Osun, Tinubu noted that the state, which is highly blessed with diverse resources, should be a destination for business and tourism across the country, promising to help achieve this if he becomes the president.
He said, “Osun is a beautiful state filled with virtuous, industrious and welcoming people. We will support Osun to become a manufacturing, industrial, agricultural and tourism paradise.
“You have fertile soil, abundant mineral resources, and a rich culture and history capable of attracting tourists from across the world.
“A vote for me is a vote to develop all parts of this state and this country. Rural areas will not be forgotten but will be developed to support more economic activities and create better lives for the people.
“At the same time, our growing urban population – you city boys – will enjoy decent jobs and a living wage.”
Tinubu urged the people of the Osun State not to be deceived by the empty promises of Peoples Democratic Party Candidate Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party Candidate Peter Obi, saying both have nothing to offer.
While he said Atiku was only interested in stealing the nation’s resources and pocketing them for himself and his cronies, Tinubu likened Obi to the unprofitable servant who buried his talents, saying while Obi was Anambra State governor, he failed to use the state’s resources to develop it, rather saving them for no purpose.
“None of the other major candidates in this election have the capacity, integrity, knowledge or determination necessary to do what must be done. Only I, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, am prepared and up to the task of leading this country, our cherished homeland, back towards its best destiny.
“Do not vote for the candidate of the poverty development party, Mr. Privatise, Atiku Abubakar. When, as the Vice President of this country, he had a chance to make a positive difference, he chose the lesser path.
“He chose to use his position to enrich himself, his family and his friends. He sold Nigeria’s most prized assets for a fraction of their value. In the name of privatisation, he stole from your future to enrich himself.
“Worse, he has learned nothing. He has gone everywhere telling the Nigerian people that he is coming back to finish the job. He has promised that this time he will not steal your prosperity.
“You should not believe him or his greedy co-conspirators. The nation does not need the return of its Privatiser-in-Chief. Reject him and his band of foul jesters. They have no serious plans for this country. They resort to cheap and vile antics because they have no substance, no solutions.
“Be equally wary of the false messiah, Mr. Stingy, Peter Obi. This man’s promises are bold and his boasts are plentiful. Yet, when he was given the responsibility to lead just one state, he was overwhelmed by it.
“He could only stash away the money he was supposed to be using to develop the state. All the people of Anambra could hope for was that whoever came next would have better ideas.
“A governor is not a banker, expected to hold fast to his customer’s deposit. Obi was expected to build good roads, schools and hospitals. He was supposed to pay the salaries of Anambra doctors, teachers and civil servants. He was meant to nurture and empower new leaders.
“In eight years, he achieved none of these things. He is no visionary leader. He is the man who proudly buried his talents because he knew no better. This man who could not even understand the proper role of a governor cannot be trusted as the next president. Reject him,” he added.
He also itemized further things his administration will do in the agricultural, educational and security sectors to give a befitting life to the people.
“Our farmers will be better equipped to feed the nation. In return, they will receive decent incomes with which they can better tend to their families in addition to tending to their land.
“Our educational reforms will equip talented youth with skills needed to be globally competitive. Our policies will open access to loans and business expertise to those wanting to start their own businesses.
“The bedrock of our national security shall be strengthened. We will better equip military units with tactical communications gear and all-terrain vehicles to give them greater communications and mobility to track down criminals, bandits and terrorists.
“We will upgrade our weapons systems and exploit aerial technological superiority to further identify, monitor and subdue the criminals, terrorists and bandits who would do harm to ordinary citizens,” he added.
At the rally were Governors Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); former governors Kayode Fayemi and Adegboyega Oyetola, as well as former APC Interim Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, APC National Women Leader, Betta Edu and other party leaders from National headquarters and South West party leaders.
Tinubu Media Office
February 2, 2023
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