The Atiku/Wike feud and PDP’s health before 2023

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As the ember months draw closer, the 2023 general election is fast approaching. Elections are about six months away, i.e. in February 2023. As usual, every election period in Nigeria always takes on new dimensions, coupled with a series of preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders.

Besides INEC, political parties, civil society organizations and security agencies are also involved in the plan to ensure the smooth running of the elections. Undoubtedly, election is serious business in the Nigerian democratic system, hence the need for stakeholders to be actively involved in the electoral process, prior to the poll.

It has been well over a month since the country’s major political parties, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), concluded their presidential, gubernatorial, National Assembly and presidential primaries. National Assembly.

After the exercise, the two main parties are still grappling with problems born from the primaries. Regardless of their seemingly irreconcilable differences among political players, general elections will be held as scheduled by February next year. In the PDP, for example, there are still questions to be resolved about the outcome of the presidential primary and the choice of the party’s vice-presidential candidate.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who lost the PDP presidential ticket to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is embittered by the choice of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate -presidency, as ratified by the National Party Working Committee (NWC).

Governor Wike had pushed for the vice presidential spot after losing the presidential ticket, but was also turned down for Okowa’s emergence. Okowa’s choice was not well received by Wike and his camp. The governor not only criticized the process, he also accused the party of sidelining the southern part of the country in its arrangements.

Recently, a 14-member reconciliation committee was formed by the party to settle the dispute between the Atiku and Wike camps. The committee is expected to review Governor Wike’s grievances and those of his camp leaders and make recommendations on how the party nominee and the NWC will address the issues.

The main demand from Governor Wike’s camp is the resignation of PDP national chairman Iyorchia Ayu, whose resignation is described as important to address the alleged marginalization of the south in the party’s leadership position. As a political analyst and supporter of the PDP, I must say categorically that the feud between the Atiku and Wike camps is unhealthy for the PDP, a party that is ready to wrest power from the incumbent.

At present, party members in their various units, wards, locals and states should have started sensitization in preparation for the 2023 general election, but the national working committee that should provide leadership for this task is not not yet resolved, due to the crisis. To this day, some serving and former Governors side with Governor Wike, while some support the drum for Atiku. Questions like these are not only dangerous for the party, but also demoralizing for party members. The PDP candidate should find a way to effectively manage Governor Wike and other aggrieved governors in the interest of the party.

From the voting pattern and records, in the entire south after Lagos, Rivers is next in voting strength. Also, voting in Rivers State will cover some South-South states. This time no one is inferior, if indeed the PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar are ready to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress at the federal level.

Another matter which deserves urgent attention is the reorganization of the North West Company. According to the zoning method, if the presidential candidate is from the North, the party chairman must be zoned to another region.

Currently, the national president, the chairman of the board of directors and the presidential candidate are from the north of the country. Therefore, it is necessary to revise the NWC for the progress of the PDP.

There is no doubt that Nigerians are fed up with the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, hence the need for the PDP to get it right and embark on the ‘Nigeria Reset’ agenda. It is obvious that nothing works in Nigeria anymore; the economy has collapsed and the safety of life and property is no longer guaranteed. It’s up to Atiku and the PDP’s NWC to get it right and save the country from total collapse.

The leaders of the PDP must bury their egos and work collectively for the advancement of the PDP. This is a golden opportunity for the party to return to power at the federal level and it should not be missed.

Oluwole–ALA writes from Ibadan, Oyo State.

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