- The opposition PDP is seeking to end the reign of the ruling APC as Nigeria heads to the 2023 general election
- However, internal crisis and some other factors are threatening the chances of the party's presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar
- In this report, Legit.ng examines some factors which may cause Atiku's defeat in some PDP-controlled states
In Nigeria’s presidential elections, political parties are naturally expected to win the states where the governors belong to them.
This is because governors wield strong influence in their respective states and are expected to work for their presidential candidate’s victory.
However, there have been some instances where presidential candidates lost in the states where the governors belong to their parties.
To cite a few examples, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was in charge of Oyo state before the 2019 elections, with the late Abiola Ajimobi as the governor.
Nevertheless, President Muhammadu Buhari lost the state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
One of the major factors responsible for Buhari’s loss in the two cited APC-controlled states then was internal crises.
The same scenario may play out for Atiku, who has again secured the PDP presidential ticket, in 2023.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) controls the remaining state, Anambra.
However, out of the 14 states the PDP controls, the party has serious internal crises in six, namely:
Four of the states are in the south, while the remaining two are in the north.
The G5 governors and the PDP crisis
Five PDP governors, now better known as G5 governors, have not only withdrawn their support for Atiku’s presidential bid; they are openly campaigning against him even though they opted not to leave the party.
The governors are:
- Nyesom Wike (Rivers)
- Seyi Makinde (Oyo)
- Samuel Ortom (Benue)
- Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia)
- Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
They are working against Atiku and the PDP following the party’s refusal to grant their demand: Iyorchia Ayu’s resignation as the national chairman.
Since Atiku is a northerner, the G5 governors said Ayu, who is also from the north, should step down for a southerner to take over.
However, their demand was not granted.
Bala Mohammed’s alleged move to join G5
The PDP is also having an internal crisis in its Bauchi state chapter, which has fueled strong speculations that the state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, may align with the G5 governors against Atiku.
The governor threatened to withdraw his support for Atiku after accusing the PDP presidential candidate of collaborating with some Bauchi party chieftains who are against his re-election for a second term.
The G5 governors have expressed solidarity with him, fueling speculations that he may soon pitch his tent with them.
If the protracted crises are not dealt with before the general election, Atiku may lose in the listed states, even though they are being controlled by PDP governors.
Atiku's fate in the southeast: The Peter Obi factor
Meanwhile, beyond the PDP internal crises, the Peter Obi factor may also make Atiku lose in Abia and Enugu, though they are PDP-controlled states.
In a recent report where it predicted Atiku's defeat, Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research said the growing popularity of the Labour Party presidential candidate might make it difficult for Atiku and the PDP to gain more votes in the southeast.
For years, the southeast has agitated for the emergence of a Nigerian president from the Igbo-dominated zone.
With Obi now on the ballot of a party fastly gaining ground, the zone may not look at Atiku's side again.
Atiku may also lose Osun, Tinubu’s “ancenstral” state
Before the 2019 elections, the APC was in charge of Adamawa state, where Atiku hails from. However, the “home boy” factor, apologies to Anambra Governor Charles Soludo, made Atiku defeat Buhari in the state.
A similar scenario may also play out in 2023.
Though the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, now claims Lagos state, where he had served as a two-term governor, he is originally from Osun state.
Notwithstanding the PDP’s victory in the 2022 Osun governorship election, Atiku may lose the state to Tinubu in 2023.
Can Atiku win the cited PDP states with G5 governors' support?
Asked if Atiku can win the cited PDP states without the support of the G5 governors, Anthony Ehilebo, a PDP Presidential Campaign Council member, told Legit.ng:
“That question in time will answer itself, as I believe, with exception of Wike, all the others have a direct personal stake in the 2023 election and will soon see the fruititious nature of our belief that the PDP is the only party in Nigeria that has A-rated dispute resolution mechanisms.”
Atiku Support Group dumps PDP presidential candidate
In another report, the Youths for Atiku Political Group (YOFA) group has declared support for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
In a statement released on Tuesday, November 22, the group said it is not backing Atiku in 2023.
YOFA, which has changed its name to Youths for Peter Obi (YOPO), said it decided to back the LP presidential candidate and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, because they "are young, diverse, competent, energetic, kind-hearted."