By Lateef Adegbite
Barely six months to the 2023, general elections that would usher in a new President for Nigeria, the crisis in the opposition people’s Democratic party,PDP, is far from being over. This is because members of Nyenson Wike, governor of Rivers state’s camp are still insisting that Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party National Chariman must resign for peace to reign.
Bode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, south west and one-time Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, may have alluded to the fact that Ayu was the architect of his own troublem, by promising to vacate his position for a southerner if a northerner eventually wins the party Presidential primaryhich was thrown open for all interested party members last May. Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice president during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and a norther had won the PDP, Presidential primaries,
George, who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘it would be morally right for the PDP, National Chairman to have kept to his promise and resign his position after Abubakar, the Adamawa state born politician, had emerged as the party Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections.
The south west PDP, Chieftain, had consistently said that ‘’Ayu’s resignation has become necessary ‘’to ensure the inclusivity, sensitivity and balancing that the party’s founding fathers envisaged when the party was formed as the ban on politics was lifted by then military Administration headed by Abdusalami Abubakar, a retired Army General, in 1988.
Worried by what is happening in the party, Emmanuel Udom, governor of Akwa Ibom state, and Chairman, PDP Campaign Council, has urged party Leaders to uphold their promises, meaning that Ayu, the party National Chairman should go. He stated that Wike ‘scamp has the right to express their views which cannot be ignored.
Many had expected Abubakar, the PDP, flag bearer for the 2023, general elections, who is currently working closely with Udom, governor of Akwa Ibom state and Aminu Tambuwal, a former,Speaker of House Representatives and now governor of Sokoto state to intervene to save the crisis in the party from degenerating.
But he had said that he can’t decide the resignation of Ayu, the party’s National Chairman, describing it as ‘‘a personal issue’’. He was emphatic: That ‘‘neither him nor anyone else has the power to make the decision for him.
He may have appealed to the Wike’s camp to sheath their sword as ‘’the body empowered by Law in the party to have initiated the removal of Ayu, the party National Chairman, has already passed ‘’a vote of confidence in him’’, meaning that there is nothing anybody can do about it.
He had urged Wike, George and other aggrieved members of the party to retrace their steps, and join efforts with other members of the party Presidential Council headed by Udom, the Akwa Ibom state, governor in order to win the 2023, general elections.
The appeal may have fallen on deaf ears as the Wike’s camp were said to have officially announced its ‘‘withdrawal from participating in the Presidential campaign Council of the party for the 2023, general elections On Wednesay,esday, September 22, 2022.The group may have taken the position after a rigorous meeting that was said to have lasted for hours at the private residence of the Rivers state governor in PortHarcourt, the state Capital on Tuesday, September 21, 2022. The meeting was said to have spilled over to the early hours of Wednesday, September 22, 2022.
Those that were said to be at the Wike Organised meeting include Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state and former governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, Ayo Fayeshe, Ekiti, Donald Duke, Cross river, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Gombe, Jonah Jang, Plateau and Mohammed Adoke, a former minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation during former President Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
Other PDP Chieftains who were said to be at the all- important meeting of the Wike’s camp, include elder statesman, George, Jerry Gana, who ncidentally, hails from Benue, the home state of Ayu,the embattled PDP, National Chhairman, Dan Orbih, PDP, Deputy National Chairman, south-south geo-political region , Chibudom Nwuche, a one-time Speaker of Hose of Representatives , Senator Suleiman Nazif , Nnenna Ukeje among others.
There are indications that Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor of Enugu state, Okezie Iikpazu, Abia and Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, who are strong members of the Wike’s camp were absent at themeeting, fueling speculations making the round that’s that they may have soft pedaled on their stand that Ayu, the National Chairman , must resign for a southerner to replace him.
The worry of party loyalists was that the decision of the Wike’s camp to withdraw from the PDP, Presidential Campaign, may affect the party chances of the party winning the 2023, general elections and forming the next government after the xpiraration of the Buhari’s Administration, in May, 29, 2023.
The decision of the Wike’s camp to withdraw from participating in the PDP, Presidential campaign, according political analysts may have exposed Rivers, Oyo, Benue, Enugu, Abia, Cros river, for the grab by the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state and Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and now Presidential Candidate of the Labor Party, LP, who has the support of the Nigerian Youths.
Going by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, time-table, the Presidential Campaign for the 2023, general elections would officially kick-off on Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
In preparation for the 2023, general elections, INEC, has already released the names of the Presidential Candidates and Candidates of other electives offices of the 18 political parties jostling to rule the country after President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. The Commission, which had the support of the Nigerian President may have given the parties a level playing field to go about their Campaigns which kick-starts on Septemeber 28, 2022, and sell their Manifestoes to the electorates.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria President had reassured the world Leaders at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in NewYork, the United States, on Wednesday, September 22, 2022, that he will ‘‘leave a legacy of free, fair and transparent credible elections through which Nigerians would select their Choice of Candidates to govern them as his eight-year tenure comes to an end in May 29, 2023’’.
He had told the world Leaders at the UN, 78th ,General Assembly meeting that ‘‘Nigeria is preparing for its Presidential elections next February and that ‘’there will be a new face who will be speaking about the country in the UN, General Assembly meetings, stressing that the government had ‘‘invested heavily to strengthen its framework for the 2023 general elections to be ‘’free and fair ’’.
The Nigeria President may have proved bookmakers wrong that he wants to elongate his tenure by making the 2023, general elections inconclusive as he had expressed his ‘’commitment to Constitutional Limit ‘’, noting that Nigeria which has stood for Democracy and the rule of Law as a country and in the West African sub-region that it had supported such countries such as the Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Chad, to enthrone Democracy in their respective countries and would not go contrary to it.
Buhari, who has thrown Nigeria into huge external debts of over $40 billion, may have taken advantage of his last appearance at the UN, General Assembly, to canvas for debts cancellation for poor African and Latin American countries. He may have made the call so that the Nigeria President that will emerge after the 2023, general elections would start on a clean slate.
He had said that ‘‘developing countries, including Nigeria, are facing numerous challenges, including being able to service their external debts’’. Appealing to the world Leaders ‘’to address what he had described as he burden of unsustainable external debts’’, he implored them to do more ‘‘to complement the developing countries endeavors’’.
According to him, ‘’the multi-faceted challenges facing the developing countries have placed their ability to address their fiscal place in a precarious situation’’.He hadad said that the Developing countries burden of unsustainable external debts, needed a global commitment ‘‘to the expansion and extension of the debt service suspension initiatives to the countries facing fiscal and liquidity challenges as well as outright cancellation of the debts for the countries facing the most severe challenges’’.