2023 Elections: APC, PDP Crisis Gets Messier as Strong Chieftains Issue Fresh Threats
- Political party campaigns have resumed nationwide, a few months before the 2023 general elections
- Interestingly, the opposition party, the PDP is engulfed in a series of internal crisis as some of its major stakeholders are calling for the resignation of the national chairman
- Meanwhile, the ruling party is not an exception in the drama that is unfolding in the polity in recent times, as some of its strong members have rejected the same faith ticket threatening to adopt other party presidential candidates
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As the electioneering campaigns for the 2023 elections commenced nationwide, more controversies resulting from internal wrangling have emerged among the leading All Progressives Congress, (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
Recall that both APC and PDP have been able to manage their differences and had been engaging stakeholders in meetings in order to resolve their internal crisis, but efforts seem not to be yielding as positive results as expected.
The genesis of PDP crisis
The bone of contention with the PDP is Wike's grievances over the way he was treated by the party and its presidential candidate during and after the primaries of the main opposition party.
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Wike believed that Atiku Abubakar, the party's presidential candidate was given undue advantage ahead of him when Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal was handed the microphone to make an announcement even after he had spoken earlier.
He blamed the chairman of the convention committee, David Mark for allowing such to happen even after saying that everyone was to speak ones at the event.
Legit.ng recalls that Tambuwal's special announcement was the game changer for the party after he stepped down for Atiku and directed his members to vote for him.
Wike was also not comfortable with the body language and utterances of the party's chairman, Iyorchia Ayu. He believes Ayu was biased and not neutral in the entire process.
After a few weeks of reconciliation moves by the party and its presidential candidate, it was alleged that Wike had been penned down to emerge as the running mate to Atiku. But surprisingly, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State was picked by the party's candidate, leading to what appears like a factional group in the party.
About five PDP governors including Wike have as a result demanded Ayu's resignation, saying that the national chairman of the party should now go to the South, alleging that Ayu had earlier promised that should the party's presidential candidate emerge from the north, he would resign. But Ayu has refused to step down amid backing by Atiku and a few other party leadership.
The five aggrieved governors are Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. These governors had at different meetings alongside other PDP chieftains asserted that Ayu's exit is the only guarantee for their participation in Atiku's presidential campaign. They have, however, said they won't resign from the party.
But Atiku and others have argued that they lack the power to sack Ayu as the sole decision is in the hands of the party to do so. And such can only happen through a national convention. It's, however, yet to be seen if the party will be able to organize any convention within this period.
Wike, Ortom, Makinde, others stay away from campaign kick-off
The division in the PDP became conspicuously dangerous and serious on Monday, October 10, when all the aggrieved governors stayed away from the party's campaign rally in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. This is the first time such a thing is happening in the PDP. The governors in the matter are considered heavyweights in their respective regions.
While Governor Ortom holds a strong political position in the North-central, Seyi Makinde appears to be one of the few governors still under the PDP platform from the southwest.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu are strong political leaders from the southeast while Nyesom Wike remains a great political actor from the South-South. Their demands, according to many analysts are genuine but coming at the wrong time.
Political watchers have said that should the issue remain unresolved until the election period, Atiku and the PDP will pay dearly for it. Legit.ng observes that already, the issue is beginning to affect the party.
The absence of the aggrieved governors has sent shivers into the party and there are now concerns about the victory of the party in the 2023 elections.
Massive turnout at PDP campaign flag-off in Uyo
Despite the concerns, the turnout was encouraging as many heavyweights attended the campaign kick-off.
Present at the campaign launch were PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar; his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, leading PDP heavyweights and faithful including the NWC members.
Other dignitaries present were ex-Vice President, Namadi Sambo, former Senate Presidents: Messrs. David Mark, Bukola Saraki and Anyim Pius Anyim and former PDP chairmen: Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Alh. Adamu Muazu and Prince Uche Secondus.
Four of the six South-South governors were also at the event alongside the Chairman, NGF, Alh. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state.
APC also in deep crisis
But the PDP is not the only political party in crisis. The All Progressives Congress, APC, and its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu are currently fighting to keep the party together following Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim ticket decision. Many party leaders including the northern Christian leaders have expressed their shock and disappointment in Tinubu's choice of Kashim Shettima, a former Governor of Borno State.
Many APC bigwigs including former Speaker House Representative, Yakubu Dogara and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, have kicked against Tinubu's decision and have insisted he won't get their support so long as he continues the campaign with a fellow Muslim.
The decision has been considered by many Nigerian as insensitive. Nigeria is of two major religions - Christianity and Islam. Most politicians, in making their choice of running mate would always consider the religious factor.
But Tinubu believes in someone who can do the job as against going the religious lines. He also believes in a strategy that can guarantee his victory in 2023.
The APC also kicked off on a frank note their major political activities on Monday, October 10, with the inauguration of women campaign council. The party's candidate and his running mate were on ground but the aggrieved party members conspicuously stayed away.
The event which held at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja came shortly after some group of northern APC members issued a statement, rejecting the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party.
Dogara, others reject Muslim-Muslim ticket, state position
In a communique issued on Saturday and shared by Yakubu Dogara, former speaker of the House of Representatives, the aggrieved members argued that the Muslim-Muslim ticket was dangerous and clearly not in any way promoting the unity of the country.
According to the group, they have decided to set up a committee to fashion out ways to engender national unity against the division caused by the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
"Conscious of multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural configuration of Nigeria we believe that a same-faith ticket and voting along religious lines may trigger dangerous dimensions of negative consequences among our disparate peoples in ways that will hamper nation-building. Consequently, we have agreed to channel our energies on matters that unite us more as a people instead of encouraging attacks on sensitive issues bothering on religion in the name of politics," the group said.
But the APC campaign council has since disowned the group saying they have since left the APC.
In a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity at the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Bayo Onanuga, the party said:
“The Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council is therefore not surprised by media reports about a meeting of some so-called Northern Christian leaders, who claimed to be members of our All Progressives Congress that was championed by Dogara and his ilk. The claim was totally fraudulent."
The statement referred to Dogara as a politician who was politically unstable and that in his nature, he had left the party, and that those who attended the meeting with the former speaker represented themselves and not the party.
“Yakubu Dogara, the peripatetic and politically unstable politician who organized the meeting left our party officially and unceremoniously weeks ago. And those who attended the meeting were representing themselves, their selfish agenda, not Northern Christians.
The council alleged that Dogara and a few others had continued to campaign against the presidential candidate of the party because Tinubu refused to pick him as a running mate.
The statement added,
“Before then, the former speaker had spearheaded a campaign of vitriol and hate against our party, using religion as camouflage, after he lost the vice-presidential candidacy to a better qualified Senator Kashim Shettima."
No matter how strong both APC and PDP stand today, one thing that appears not to be working for both parties is the issue of internal peace and it looks likely that both parties are heading to the 2023 election without any clear approach on how to resolve their internal squabbles.
2023: Finally, Tinubu breaks silence on Muslim-Muslim ticket, says Dogara, Babachir’s “gang are impostors”
The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has finally replied to claims by former House Speaker Yakubu Dogara and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal regarding the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Tinubu, reacting angrily, described Dogara and Lawal's gang and the group they represent as a band of impostors.
This was as he declared that the former Speaker is no longer a member of the ruling party and so, cannot be said to be speaking for any group of APC members.