- The reoccurring crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is putting the party on the edge at the moment
- Party faithful and stalwarts are not pleased with the current state of the party as mass defection seems likely
- One of the most notable possible defection that might finally cripple the party is that of Governor Nyesom Wike
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is in near crisis following Atiku’s choice of Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta State as his running mate. Since Atiku announced Okowa, a former Governor, as his running mate, opinions among Nigerians, party men and women have been sharply divided.
While some see nothing wrong with Atiku’s choice of Okowa, many have kicked against the decision, including prominent party members and leadership.
Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor was said to be the choice of the majority of the party’s leadership, considering his strength in the south, but some sections of the leadership worked against his emergence.
A report had emerged that the issue of who becomes Atiku’s running mate was discussed and debated by the National Working Committee, NWC, where Wike also got endorsed by members. According to a report by the SUN, over 80 per cent of NWC were taken aback when Atiku and Ayu disregarded the majority’s decision and opted for Okowa.
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According to the NWC, Wike deserved the position basically because he did very well during the party’s convention. This is besides his political strength in the south.
Despite the massive support enjoyed by Wike even by the committee set up to look into the running mate issue, the Rivers State Governor lost out.
Gov Samuel Ortom may dump PDP
Apart from Wike who had on several occasions expressed disenchantment with the party’s decision against him, other governors have expressed dismay at the choice of Okowa. Prominent among those who had spoken out was Wike’s ally and fellow governor, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
Ortom had in a recent interview condemned the decision of the party, saying that majority of the party members were in support of Wike’s emergence as against Okowa’s. Ortom’s reasons were anchored on Wike’s contribution to the party. According to him, many of them returned to the party through Wike’s support and advice.
Legit.ng had reported that Ortom accused Atiku Abubakar, of failing to honour the democratic choice in the selection of his running mate.
Ortom said he was watching things for now and would take a decision once it becomes very clear that the party could not help the situation.
He charged the leadership of the party to reach out to Wike, saying that he deserves to know why Atiku changed his plan after Wike was promised that he would emerge as Atiku’s running mate.
Legit.ng has gathered that the only thing that would stop Ortom from a possible exit from the party is an understanding with Wike by the Atiku’s team and perhaps the leadership of the party.
Wike has been so supportive of Governor Samuel Ortom and had on several occasions donated to the state in order to end the farmers/herders crisis in Benue State.
It will, therefore, be a disaster for Atiku and the PDP if Ortom walks out of the party. It means the party’s hope of winning the state in 2023 may be heading for a crash. Benue is strategic in the north-central as the state influences other states within the region. Such a decision may likely affect Kogi, Nasarawa, and Plateau states.
What Wike’s exit will do to PDP, Atiku
Analysts believe that Wike’s exit from the PDP following the lingering disagreement over running mate will further put a crack on the party’s hope for victory in the 2023 presidential elections.
A source told Legit.ng that:
“To win a presidential election, a political party must win in 3 influential states including Rivers, Lagos, and Kano states. As it stands, Wike is neither in nor out. But if he exits the party completely or decides to remain in the party without contributing, PDP will lose Rivers State. And do you know what that means to the party?”
Recall that after spending some days in his Turkey vacation, the Rivers state governor has returned to the country. His return has further raised the hope of his party, when he declared that despite the ongoing crisis in the party, the target was to defeat the All Progressives Congress in 2023.
Wike made the declaration when he was welcomed into the country on Saturday, July 2.
Apart from Wike’s strong influence in the south, he has the financial capacity to help his party to a massive victory in 2023 due to the financial strength of his state. Wike has a good relationship with people that matter in the north, hence his body language will either make or mar PDP and Atiku’s aspirations.
But a chieftain of the PDP from Rivers state who does not want his name in print said care must be taken, else PDP loses everything. According to him, it’s not even because it’s Wike as no party member or stakeholder should be undermined.
“I’m appealing to our party not to look down on anybody. I’m saying this because everyone matters in this fight to unseat the APC leadership in 2023. We must show more commitment towards our unity if we must attain this goal. Take for instance, should Wike decide to leave today, he will be leaving with his supporters and others. Some governors are fully with him. It will look like a Tsunami which we must avoid.”
But the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said there is no cause for alarm as all hands are on deck to resolve all possible disagreements in the party.
A report has claimed that Atiku who will be returning from his vacation will lead a delegation of PDP elders to beg Governor Nyesom Wike to remain in the party.
Atiku contested in the 2019 election against President Muhammadu Buhari but lost. Stakeholders like Wike did not put in great effort in the campaign ahead of that election. Many believe a lack of interest in Atiku’s campaign in 2019 was instrumental to the party’s defeat by the APC.
But it remains unknown if a perfect reconciliation can be achieved in the party before 2023.
PDP faces mass defection as Wike's loyalists fume
In another related development, loyalists of Governor Nyesom Wike are on the verge of exiting the PDP.
This move will however take effect if Governor Wike himself decides to exit the party for another party.
It was gathered that the aggrieved loyalists of Governor Wike are not pleased with the way Atiku Abubakar snubbed Wike for the VP slot.
In Delta, PDP stalwart dumps party, joins APC
Meanwhile, a PDP stalwart in Delta state, Godsday Orubebe has joined the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
It was gathered that Orubebe on Friday, July 1, made the shocking announcement in the Burutu local government area of Delta state.