2023 Elections And Zoning: The Task Before The New PDP NWC

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Adeniyi Damilola, Otio Justina and Richard Ogunsile

The 2023 presidential election in Nigeria is about 15 months away, and political parties and politicians have started the ‘battle’ to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The journey towards the presidential sit has caught the attention of Nigerians and the International community as the candidate who emerges is expected to be a major determinant of the continued corporate existence or otherwise of the country.

Nigerians in 2015 had voted out the Peoples Democratic Party and former President Goodluck Jonathan believing that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress would be the messiah for the country, however, there have been complaints about his leadership styles and the performance of his administration so far.

President Muhammadu Buhari and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan

President Muhammadu Buhari and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan

The performance of the APC-led government has steered early campaigns and show of interest from prominent individuals in the country.

This has seen the likes of former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi express their interest in contesting the nation’s number one political seat.

There have been speculations that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu may also throw his hat into the ring.

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The National Leader of the APC

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu and Doyin Okupe have expressed interest in the presidency.

On the other hand, some groups in the country have been pleading with the Vice President of the country, Yemi Osinbajo to contest in the 2023 General elections.

The groups believe the Vice President possesses what it takes to drive the country to its promise land, which is bringing about a better economy and security.

Some youths in the country in their call for better governance have vowed to vote for a Presidential candidate within the youth age bracket.

Concerned youths in their clamour for a better Nigeria have lamented over the number of months spent by President Buhari outside the country due to health issues, which may be associated with his age.

President Buhari Travels

President Muhammadu Buhari

It has been gathered that President Buhari as of August 2021 has spent 200 days outside the country due to health-related issues.

Youths who are not pleased with his absence from office vowed not to vote for a presidential candidate who battles with health issues.

Meanwhile, the refusal of the current administration to return to the 1963 Constitution and approve restructuring in the country has seen agitators like the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho clamour for separation from Nigeria.

Some of the agitators in their demands have promised to reconsider their call for separation if the Buhari government restructures the country and changes its style of leadership.

However, the drama around 2023 does not end there as different groups in the country keep clamouring for the presidency to be shifted to a particular region.

Governors from the Southern region have asked for a power shift to their region after President Buhari’s tenure ends, while the Northern Elders Forum and northern governors on their part have insisted the power would remain in the North.

The tussle has led to disagreement among Governors and political office holders in the country as they jostle for who takes over the world’s most populous black nation.

In all of these, the Peoples Democratic Party is also scheming to regain power from the ruling APC in 2023.

The main opposition party in its desire to take over governance conducted its national convention in October 2021, where a new National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu emerged.

The New National Chairman of PDP

The New National Chairman of PDP, Iyorchia Ayu

The former Senate President has a great assignment before him, which is to unite members of the party, reinvigorate the party as a vibrant opposition force and work for the victory of the PDP in 2023.

With the Governorship election in Ekiti State drawing closer, the party would be working relentlessly to clinch the state which would be a pointer towards what 2023 may have in store for the party.

The main opposition party held its national convention in Abuja on Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31st at the end of which Dr Iyorchia Ayu and twenty others emerged as new national officers.

The Newly Elected PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu

The Newly Elected PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu with Saraki, Wike and Tambuwal

There had been certain anxieties that the nation’s opposition party convention may end with an awful experience, those with such expectations were, however, disappointed in the long run.

The event, Newspot understands ended with admiration due to the near-faultless organization by the party seeking to reclaim power.

PDP has been out of power at the federal level since 2015 after Goodluck Jonathan lost the presidential election to the All Progressive Congress, APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.

The opposition party had picked former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as it’s a candidate to challenge the ruling party in 2019, unfortunately, they lost again to the incumbent government.

PDP in its plan to put things in place witnessed some shake-ups a few months ago, leading to the suspension of Uche Secondus, as the National Chairman of the party.

Suspended National Chairman of the PDP

Former Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus.

The suspended National Chairman of the party in return had filed a suit against the party to hinder PDP from carrying out its National Convention, but the suit was struck out by the Appeal Court, Port Harcourt judicial division.

The opposition party had also lost a couple of its members to the APC camp, an earlier disappointment that was celebrated by the ruling party.

However, it all looks like a turning tide for PDP at the moment after the conclusion of the party’s national convention which ended in an unprecedented way.

A side attraction from the concluded PDP national convention is the show of unity displayed by governorship aspirants from Benue State at the Federal Capital Territory.

The Benue State governorship aspirants, fourteen in number, after and during the balloting, booked an unusual act of agreement showing honour to each other.

After bigger parts of the event had been concluded, the governorship aspirants who were wearing the same clothes, assembled themselves and posed for photographs in the residence of one of them before heading for the convention.

It was an unexpected move from the politicians, especially when they are all vying for the same office, it was observed that the aspirants assembled in a place to chat, deliberate, wine and dine, and then took photographs.

Another yet commendable event that was witnessed at the PDP national convention was the party’s bid to promote the not too young to lead agenda.

The opposition party displayed this by electing a 25-year-old man, Prince Mohammed Kadade Suleiman as the National Youth Leader of the party.

National Youth Leader of the PDP, Suleiman

National Youth Leader of the PDP, Suleiman

Newspot understands that Suleiman, a native of Kaduna State, NorthWest geopolitical zone of Nigeria, emerged through consensus during the just-concluded National Convention of the party in Abuja.

From all indications, PDP seems to be working hard to pull itself together ahead of the 2023 presidential election. However, the party still has major challenges to surmount before mounting a credible challenge against the APC.

Zoning In The 2023 Election And The Job Ahead For The NWC

As earlier stated, PDP’s national convention was held at Eagles Square in Abuja in October. At the end of the exercise, 21 people were elected into different positions in the National working committee (NWC) to take over the leadership of the PDP ahead of the 2023 elections.

Below is the list of elected members:

  • Iyorchia Ayu — National chairman
  • Taofeek Arapaja — Deputy national chairman (south)
  • Umar Damagum — Deputy national chairman (north)
  • Samuel Anyanwu — National secretary
  • Netaji Kosheodo — Deputy national secretary
  • Ahmed Mohammed — National treasurer
  • Ndubisi David — Deputy national treasurer
  • Umar Bature — National organising secretary
  • Toyota Amori — Deputy national organising secretary
  • Daniel Woyegikuro — National financial secretary
  • Adamu Kamale — Deputy national financial secretary
  • Debo Ologunagba — National publicity secretary
  • Ibrahim Abdullahi — Deputy national publicity secretary
  • Stella Effah-Attoe — National women’s leader
  • Hajara Wanka — Deputy national women’s leader
  • Muhammed Suleiman — National youth leader
  • Timothy Osadolor — Deputy national, youth leader
  • Kamaldeen Ajibade — National legal adviser
  • Okechukwu Osuoha — Deputy national legal adviser
  • Okechuckwu Daniel — National auditor
  • Abdulrahman Mohammed — Deputy national auditor

PDP’s new NWC are now saddled with the responsibility of leading the party in the much anticipated 2023 general elections.

As it stands, PDP have the likes of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Sokoto state governor Aminu Tambuwal, his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki and former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki jostling for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket.

It is important to understand clearly the region where the aspirants belong in other to deal with the puzzle of zoning the presidential ticket.

  • Atiku Abubakar – North
  • Aminu Tambuwal – North
  • Bala Mohammed – North
  • Bukola Saraki – North
  • Tanminu Turaki – North

Some of the aspirants listed above have been touted earlier by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who spoke in an interview with Channels Television to be interested in the PDP 2023 presidential ticket.

PDP has eminently qualified personalities that can lead this country successfully. Some have indicated interest, like former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, like Governor (Aminu) Tambuwal, like Governor Bala Mohammed,” Makinde revealed.

While these are merely speculations and there are no confirmations yet, one can clearly state that these are some of the aspirants that are obvious to the public for now.

The Ayu-led NWC has been the task of repositioning PDP for the future election.

The party’s leadership expected to kick into gear immediately and commence reconciliation among aggrieved party members which had seen a massive exit from the opposition PDP.

First, the NWC may have to inaugurate a credible  reconciliation committee to meet with aggrieved members to iron out differences.

Secondly, the new PDP leaders must try to take or reduce the influence of governors ( this may seem impossible). Doing this would take the party away from the hands of a few and give it back to the people.

As an opposition party aiming to reclaim power after holding on to it for 16, the PDP has to become ruthless and decisive when it comes to issues concerning the nation.

The new Spokesperson of the party must be ready to jump on anything to keep the party always in the media. The PDP must act as an opposition and pressure point for the ruling APC.

Ayu must be able to galvanise members of the NWC to return to the grassroot to mobilize ahead of the general election. The earlier the better.

Zoning is a dicey subject and the NWC must be smart and strategic in dealing with this, as it has the potential to plunge the party into fresh crisis.

With all indications pointing to the fact that the APC may likely zone their presidential ticket to the south, should the PDP follow suit?

Or should the PDP zone it to a candidate from the north with deep pockets and cult-like following in other to grab back power?

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