Ahead of 2023, the political space in Nigeria has begun to gather steam as political gladiators realign and restrategise for the general election billed for the next 13 months or so.
Although the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is yet to lift the ban on political campaigns in the country, some political gladiators have started consultations with their stakeholders, others have begun negotiations (horse trading) and strategising while others will be guests to prayer houses, pastors, shrines and native doctors seeking intervention in their ambition to attain political power.
They will be ready to throw everything at their disposal into the ring. Meetings, press conferences, dinner parties, amongst other social events are being staged for their supporters, loyalists, well-wishers and the media to divulge their political ambition.
The purpose is to garner the required political support that would launch them into their preferred political offices in 2023.
Whereas the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be having political brouhaha, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from whom the former seized power in 2015, looks very set and determined to regain control of the centre.
Accordingly, the party has consolidated, repackaged and rebranded for the task ahead.
PDP had one of the most successful conventions in history with none of its members complaining over the outcome. On the contrary, the APC, though yet to hold its convention, feelers from the party hierarchy speak of great division and disagreements among themselves.
The state congresses of the party produced well over 40 state chairmen in a country of 36 states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Presently, there are over three persons laying claims to the position of national chairman of the party with litigations against the outcome of some of the congresses, even as the legitimacy of the Mai Mala Buni-led committee is still being challenged at various law courts.
The governors too, are heavily divided among themselves on the issue of the convention.
Some are accusing Buni of attempt to derail the convention following his rumoured interest to be vice president.
How all these would play out ahead of the February National Convention of the party remains to be seen.
With the PDP looking set to retake power in 2023, governors elected on the platform of the party are due to converge in Port Harcourt today, for crucial consultative meeting.
The 13 governors, who would be led by the Sokoto State Chief Executive and Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, include Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu; Enugu State Governor, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel; and Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri.
Others are Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki; Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed; Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom; Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde; Taraba State Governor, Mr Darius Ishaku, Adamawa State Governor, Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri; and the chief host, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The 13 governors would examine a number of critical issues; top among which is how to reoccupy Aso Rock, and further win more states in 2023.
The Port Harcourt meeting is also crucial, imperative and significant at this point in our nation’s political life, because aside from examining critical national issues, the PDP governors coming to Port Harcourt would also set the agenda or criteria for the kind of presidential candidate the party would like to produce for the 2023 election as well as come up with a workable formula that would lead to the victory of the party.
In the mean time, as the PDP governors meet in Port Harcourt, Chairman of the party in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, has on behalf of the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, welcomed them to the state.
Akawor said the 13 governors should look forward to enjoying Rivers hospitality while wishing them a blissful stay and fruitful deliberations.
By: Paul Deeyah
Deeyah, former Director, News and Current Affairs, Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, writes from Port Harcourt.
2023: Southern PDP Leaders Consider Fresh Option
Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southern 17 states have begun move to ensure that the presidential ticket is secured by an aspirant from one of the three geo-political zones.
In the alternative, they are also looking at a northerner with strong roots in the South.
The plan, according to sources, is to have a second strategy or an Option B, as it has become obvious that the party leadership will not yield to the demand for the presidential ticket to be specifically zoned to the South.
The Southern leaders are moving to ensure that their delegates vote only for either a particular southern aspirant or to adopt a northern candidate, who is not from the far North.
The strategy of the southern PDP leaders behind this plot is to ensure that the outcome of the PDP primary produces a win-win situation for the South, irrespective of where the candidates come from.
A chieftain, who spoke on phone, said: “We want to ensure that the South converts the disadvantage of the PDP refusing to zone the presidential position to the South in line with the rotation arrangement in the party’s constitution becomes a benefit to us.
“We will work to ensure that the South decides who the presidential candidate is, even if he is not from our zone.
“Southern delegates may come together and choose a northern candidate who has strong roots in the South. He must be somebody who has a close affinity and filial relationship with us. He must be somebody who understands the challenges facing the South and can run a government that is based on equity, justice and inclusiveness, and knows what it is to suffer injustice or the pains of the minority.”
“It is the reason why we will not support aspirants from the far North. We will rather support an aspirant whose zone has not produced any of the two positions in the Presidency. An ideal candidate for the PDP is somebody from either the South or the Northern minority.
“It is the only way we can show that without having a southern candidate; we can have a president who believes he owes the South and that the support of the southern delegates is instrumental to his victory. That means that if the South plays its card very well, it can produce a southern candidate from the North.”
Buhari To Determine Malami,Other Returning Ministers’ Fate – Lai Mohammed
President Muhammadu Buhari will decide the fate of those members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) who made a u-turn on their political ambitions and continue to serve in the current administration.
Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this Wednesday to newsmen after the FEC meeting at the State House, Abuja, said he will need to confirm from the president the status of the returning ministers on whether or not they have been reabsorbed into the cabinet.
He said: “The question about ministers returning or not going, I think you need to give me more time so that I can tell you exactly what the situation is. Right now, I need to cross check. I need to confirm again from Mr President what the situation is. You see the final decision on who is going, who’s coming back, who’s not going lies with Mr. President.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; his Women Affairs counterpart, Dame Pauline Tallen; Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva, had earlier rescinded their decision to contest for elective offices in 2023.
Malami was physically present at Wednesday’s Council meeting, while Tallen and Sylva attended the meeting virtually from their various offices in Abuja.
Ngige is said to be away on official engagement in Durban, South Africa, where he is attending the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) global conference on Child Labour.
2023: Ganduje Refuses To Endorse Amaechi For Presidency
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has refused to endorse the former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, for the presidency come 2023.
Amaechi visited Kano on Wednesday as part of his consultations ahead of the All Progressives Congress’ presidential primary.
The former minister had resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to pursue his presidential ambition under the platform of the APC.
At the meeting, with other APC stakeholders present, Ganduje said Kano as a “swing state, will continue to swing.”
He added that Amaechi would know where the state eventually swung to at the right time.
TheTide source gathered that Amaechi, who had told the governor that the people in the APC already knew where Ganduje’s loyalty was, added that he was in Kano to convince him that he was the most qualified among the aspirants.
Our source recalled that when Amaechi visited the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, he was equally not endorsed as the governor told him former Governor Bola Tinubu was their rallying point.
Ganduje is also known to be an ally of Tinubu, who is also aspiring for the Presidency.
Meanwhile, Amaechi said he was more qualified than Tinubu, noting that the former Lagos governor had never been a minister, and even as a lawmaker, Tinubu only served for a few months.
He equally noted that he was more qualified than Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, adding that while Osinbajo was a commissioner in Lagos, he was already a Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly.
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