Thu. Jul 18th, 2024


To avert possible defeat in the 2023 general election, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have halted the campaign train  in yet another move to reconcile with Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike-led group within the party.

The PDP flagged off its presidential campaign with the five aggrieved governors conspicuously absent in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

The grouse

The Wike group, had weeks back, pulled out of the PDP presidential campaign on the ground that its national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, must resign and allow a southerner step in as his replacement.

Those in Wike’s camp are Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Enugu state Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as well as other party leaders.

They contended that with Atiku as the party’s flag bearer in the presidential race, Ayu, also a northerner, should quit office to achieve some balancing.   

This, they argued, would be the antidote to the cracks within the party as it would entrench fairness and justice.

Chairman PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, resigned his position and yielded the position to former Senate President Adolphus Wabara to placate the aggrieved group.

However, the Wike-led group insisted BoT was only an advisory and therefore, Ayu must go to achieve the needed unity ahead of the presidential elections.  

Fresh reconciliation move  

But still not relenting on the need to achieve peace, 72 hours after the commencement of the campaign, the PDP is in a fresh move to bring the Wike group into its fold by suspending the campaign indefinitely.

According to the party’s campaign timetable earlier made available to journalists before the flag-off, the PDP Atiku/Okowa campaign train was supposed to be in Kebbi state Wednesday and in Zamfara state Thursday.

However, a credible source who is a member of the team, disclosed that the party had suspended its campaign in a final reconciliation move.

“The Zamfara and Kebbi presidential campaign has been suspended till further notice to give the candidate and other leaders of the party time to reconcile with Wike and other aggrieved members of the party,” said the source.

Another highly placed party leader who spoke under anonymity, exclusively told Blueprint that Atiku had recruited a high-power delegation to help mediate and reconcile the party with Wike and his group.

“Realising how important it is for the party to go into the 2023 election united, Atiku has commissioned high-powered party leaders to meet with Wike’s group and resolve all issues,” the party leader said.

Campaign spokespersons

When contacted Wednesday, a presidential campaign spokesman Presidential Campaign Spokesperson, Aniagu Ehiedu Charles, said the campaign time table was only adjusted and not suspended.

In a phone chat with Blueprint, he said: “We did not suspend the campaign, the timetable was only adjusted. We will be in Kaduna on Monday.”

When asked whether the party adjusted the time table for reconciliation with Wike and others, he said “reconciliation has been ongoing, we have never stopped. So, it is an ongoing process.”

Also, another campaign spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, assured Nigerians that Atiku would rescue and rebuild Nigeria.

Ologbondiyan in a statement Wednesday, said the mammoth crowd that received the party’s presidential candidate in Uyo, as well as other venues of the campaign is a pointer to the acceptance of the Atiku/Okowa Presidency ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

“Atiku Abubakar has the experience of office, unlike the learners on parade, having been the Chairman of the National Economic Council. Nigerians can recall that those years, between 1999 and 2007, were the glorious years of our nation when we achieved unprecedented economic growth.

“In those years that Presidents elected on the platform of the PDP governed, life had meaning as our naira had value against competing for foreign denominations; purchasing power was high; teachers had access to repayable loans and could build comfortable accommodation while those who desired to buy cars could afford them,” the statement said.

PDI ready

Meanwhile, the party’s national chairman, Senator Ayu, has said the new Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI) is ready for commissioning.

Ayu stated this when he inspected the new PDI office in the highbrow precinct of Asokoro.

In a statement by his media aide, Simon Imobo-Tswam, he expressed satisfaction with the quality of  renovation work on the property as well as the  furnishing of the new office.

The statement said: “PDP is the party of development as Nigerians know. We believe in innovation. And the PDI is the place where research is carried out, where ideas are incubated for impactful development.

“That is why we chose to locate the PDI in this quiet and serene environment. And we will soon return here to commission the office. And by soon, I mean very soon.

“PDI is the place for ideation, where new ideas are birthed; it’s a the place where robust discussions and rigorous policy analyses are held, and all geared towards making life more meaningful for Nigerians.

“PDI is the intellectual-cum-research arm of Nigeria’s only organic political party.

“It was initially located in Wuse II, Abuja, FCT, Wuse, Abuja, but  following PDP’s presidential loss in 2015, the party relocated the institute to it’s national headquarters in Wuse I, Zone 5, Abuja.

“It would be recalled that on assumption of office on Dec. 10, 2021, the PDP national chairman had pledged to revive the PDI and reposition it for greater mandate-delivery. This is now a promise-kept.”

APC manifestos

Meanwhile, governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), National Working Committee (NWC) and members of the ruling party’s Presidential Campaign Council (APC) have unanimously approved campaign manifestos of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Tinubu presented the draft of the campaign promises at a stakeholders’ meeting Wednesday in Abuja.

Addressing journalists after the closed door meeting, Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, said almost all the stakeholders present at the meeting gave the draft more than 90 per cent pass mark as presented by Tinubu.

Keyamo,  however, said a committee was set up and charged with the responsibility of reducing the said manifesto documents to major highlights in message form.

“What you have seen here is the meeting of difference layers of the party. It was the meeting of the major stakeholders of the party. The Progressive Governors, the NWC, and the PCC with the presidential candidate. We are a very united party with all the organs of the party working in unison towards one purpose. 

“All we did today during the meeting was to review the draft of our manifesto. Our candidate is not the type that operates on his own. He carries everybody along. He presented the draft of the manifesto to all the stakeholders that looked at it. And guess what, almost all the stakeholders gave that draft more than 90 per cent pass mark,” he said.

When asked to give highlights of the manifesto, Keyamo declined.

He said: “We can’t give you the content because we are not going to take it away from our candidate. He is going to present himself before Nigerians on a particular date and occasion. 

“We have set up a small committee charged with the responsibility of reducing the manifesto documents to major highlights in message form we will sell to even the market women, street trader in the most simple language.

“We don’t want to present to Nigerians a very complicated document that they cannot understand in simple terms.”

When asked to be specific on the date to kick start the APC campaign, the PCC spokesman said: “You know that the structure of our campaign involves Presidential diary. I have said that our campaign is not going to be like those that they can kick and start like small vehicles. It is maneuvering a 50-ton tanker in a highway and once we hit the highway, it will be motion and movement.

“Since Mr. President is the chairman of the Campaign Council, we are going to take his diary into consideration in picking and choosing the date. However, we have all virtually agreed to hit the street very soon. 

“We have also agreed on the region we are going to kick-start but I won’t say that now. We have also agreed on all the basic issues. We just want to carry along the leader of the party, Mr President and hit the street.

“We have accommodated all the interest groups in the campaign list. There was virtually no disagreement in the meeting today.”

...Party disowns plot against BVAS

Keyamo also denied alleged plot by the APC to remove Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as claimed by the opposition political parties.

The CUPP claim

At a press conference Wednesday in Abuja, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), had raised the alarm that there was immense pressure on the leadership of the INEC to deactivate the BIVAS from the server, stop the electronic transmission of results, remove the INEC chairman before the general elections and some of the INEC Commissioners.

The  opposition parties which include the Labour Party (LP), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and other registered parties among others, said, “pressure has been resisted by INEC hence the plot by the ruling party’s agents led by some Governors to commence the plot to cause a leadership change in the electoral management body which will consume top officials including the Chairman and the few National Commissioners who are still insisting on the use of the BIVAS.”

APC denies

Denying the claim, Keyamo said: “The accusation from the CUPP is absolutely nonsense. There has been absolutely no occasion where the APC, either through NWC or any of levels of leadership put any kind of pressure on INEC.

“Those sensing defeat are already looking for reasons for that defeat. It is one of the reasons they are trying to generate to accommodate that defeat but they should know that the defeat is imminent.”

Also speaking on the allegation against the ruling APC, a former Minister of Aviation and one of the APC campaign spokesmen, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, asked Nigerians to disregard the claim.

Fani-Kayode said: “The answer to that is absolute nonsense. It’s what you call poppycock. And these are the words of a drowning party spoken by a drowning man with a drowning candidate. 

“There is nothing like that. We are above board, we are serious about what we are trying to do, we are going to achieve our objective, we are going to win this election fair and square. And they are the ones that have lost five governors. 

“They (opposition parties) are the ones that can’t get their party leaders to come to their rallies at their presidential inauguration. We don’t have that challenge. We’re working slowly but surely. As one together, everybody’s coming together. And I’m very proud to be part of this.”

ADC crisis

Similarly, the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has advised members of the public to discountenance any statement emanating from the chairman of the party, Ralph Nwosu and his team. 

The party has been embroiled in leadership crisis in the recent time, even as Nwosu-led National Working Committee (NWC) declared Kachikwu expelled from the party.

Kachikwu, in a statement Wednesday in Abuja, said this in reaction to a convention conducted by the party which purportedly granted Nwosu a fresh tenure of office after holding same position for seventeen years. 

The ADC flag bearer wondered how someone who only recently claimed he was granted a one-year extension by a special convention at the end of August, could now conduct another special convention in October for the same purpose. 

Kachikwu said, “it is clear Nwosu enjoys conducting conventions having done so for the last seventeen years.” 

He further stated that the Senator Patricia Akwashiki-led ADC would soon hold a convention to usher in a new set of executive who would lead the party to victory in the forthcoming 2023 general elections. 

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