PDP: Intrigues Over Party’s Leadership

MixCollage 23 Nov 2023 05 19 PM 3967

Following the party’s loss at the 2023 general election, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seems to have failed at resolving the internal party crisis that marred its chances at the 2023  presidential election.

Reports suggest that the party has yet to recover from its loss to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 2023 presidential election, as major stakeholders have been unable to reach an agreement on its leadership.

Since the resignation of the previous chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s efforts to elect a new leader have been hampered by the problems and intrigues in the aftermath of the presidential election.

Information obtained suggests that a number of influential party figures, including serving and past governors, ministers, and National Assembly members, are prepared to fight for the party’s mantle of leadership.

Naija News recalls that leaders of the leading opposition party were at odds with one another in the run-up to the general election of 2023. It is thought that the party’s discord stemmed from Atiku Abubakar’s refusal to designate former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike as his running mate.

Wike, who lost the PDP presidential primary election to Atiku, had anticipated being Atiku’s running mate when former Anambra Governor Peter Obi left the party to vie for the Labour Party’s presidential ticket. However, Atiku chose former Rivers governor Ifeanyi Okowa over Wike. The development resulted in the party’s split, with Wike-led leading the G5 governors wing of the party to aggressively work against the party’s success at the poll.

Govs, Ex-Govs, Former Ministers Fight For Control

Reports suggest that the ongoing issue may not be resolved anytime soon despite the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) urging warring parties to remove their cases from court.

Several sources stated that the party might not see peace again for some time unless the problems brought up by current and past governors are settled.

One of the sources detailed that previous and current governors are preparing to build a new alliance that might result in the election of the party’s national chairman in the midst of the efforts to address the teething problems.

According to the source, the new alliance has already been successful in creating Minority Caucus leaders in the National Assembly who would likely play important roles leading up to the PDP’s scheduled national convention in Abuja.

The source claimed that Bukola Saraki, a former senator and governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011, was well-positioned to become the PDP’s national chairman.

Saraki might decide to run as he has been assured he will win without opposition, according to the source, a well-known party member who begged to remain anonymous.

He noted that if Saraki wins the chairmanship, the outcome will change certain previously formed camps’ projections and preparations to run strongly in the general elections of 2027.

The party has been riven by problems Since Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.

Despite a number of attempts to fix the teething problems, it doesn’t seem like any of the efforts have produced the necessary outcomes.

The issues, which abated with Jonathan’s departure in 2015, also gave rise to new party pillars, most notably governors. The party was sponsored and controlled by governors in the absence of a central government.

In 2019, PDP, for the first time, fielded a candidate as an opposition party. However, it performed awfully, failing to recapture the states it had previously controlled before its defeat in 2015 and failing to restore control at the federal level.

After the 2019 general elections, unable to find a solution, the PDP once more went into the 2023 general elections split along racial and religious lines. Similar to 2019, it was unable to secure the presidential seat and reclaim states it lost in the 2019 election.

The source, however, detailed that “A new leadership will likely happen in the first quarter of next year. The coast will be clear on those who will really control the affairs of the party when the party has its convention.”

We’ll Appoint Chairman At The Right Time –Party’s Spokesman

At the right time and in compliance with its Constitution, the party has stated that it will select a legitimate national chairman to succeed its outgone leader, Ayu.

Declaring that the PDP was a “party of law, order, and process,” the party’s national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, vowed the party would always uphold its Constitution. Following the general election of 2023, Ayu, a former Senate President, was removed from his position as PDP national chairman when his ward in Benue State suspended him from the party. Subsequently, a Benue court maintained the previous chairman’s suspension.

The opposition party’s affairs have been overseen by the PDP Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagum, ever since.

Asked when the party would select its substantive national chairman, the PDP spokesman said that the party has been operating effectively under the interim national chairman, but he did not provide a specific date regarding when his party will elect another national chairman.

Ologunagba cleared that “The position (of chairman) is not vacant. We are following what our Constitution says. When there is a removal or resignation of the chairman, the deputy chairman will act. Our Constitution does not envisage a vacant position.

“We are going to follow our Constitution with regard to the election of a substantive national chairman. The Constitution is very clear on the way to go. It is a party issue. At the appropriate time, the party will make that decision.

“The party is running well and we are going to follow our constitution, in all aspects, as it relates to the positions in the management of the party.”

No Rift Between Me And Govs –Atiku

However, PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has denied rumours that he was in conflict with governors chosen on the party’s platform over the national chairmanship.

Speaking through Paul Ibe, his media assistant, Atiku claimed that the rumoured divide between him and the governors was only a mere suggestion.

 “There is no bickering. We have responded to that issue. All of that are insinuations,” Atiku said.

In a similar vein, PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary Ibrahim Abdullahi explained that Atiku and the PDP governors were not at loggerheads.

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“it is contextual. It depends on how people choose to see it. But contestation of ideas is a normal thing in politics. That is why it is called a political party. People will always come up with their ideas with the hope that it will be what will prevail ultimately. Not anything acrimonious,” Abdullahi said

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