2023 Presidency: PDP May Adopt Indirect Primaries As Governors Plot To Corner Party Ticket Thickens

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2023 Presidency: PDP May Adopt Indirect Primaries As Governors Plot To Corner Party Ticket Thickens

 

 

As political scheming and permutations continue ahead of the 2023 presidential election, indications have emerged that the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) may adopt the indirect primaries to produce the party’s presidential flag bearer. Sunrisebulletin has learnt.

This is even as the presidential candidate of the PDP may emerge from the within the party’s 13 state governors as they fine tune strategies to corner the party’s presidential ticket from others outside its ranks.

The governors, during preliminary discussions on the matter, have reportedly agreed in principle to ensure that one of them flies the party’s flag during the election.

Newly elected national chairman of the PDP, Prof. Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday led other chieftains of the party to Abeokuta to confer with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Details of their closed door meeting were not immediately known, but Obasanjo told the delegation after their talks that he was not interested in returning to the party come what may.

Ayu had told Obasanjo not to be “tired of us as we come knocking asking for advice. “

It was further gathered that the governors are determined to consolidate on their success at the recent national convention of the party where their favoured candidates emerged as members of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC).

According to a PDP source, to achieve the PDP Governors objective of producing the presidential candidate, the governors have also resolved to encourage the party leadership to adopt the indirect mode of primary election to nominate the presidential candidate later in the year.

This, it was learnt, is part of a grand plan to prevent other presidential aspirants, especially former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, from getting the presidential ticket.

A PDP senator said the governors are banking on their current hold on the leadership of the party to achieve their aim.

The source said: “At the just-concluded national elective convention of the PDP in Abuja, majority of the governors elected on the platform of our party, working together, showed their might as they literally hand-picked members of the next National Working Committee (NWC) and other national officers of the party.

“Though a couple of governors appeared left out of the arrangement back then, it appears they have now been appeased as the PDP Governors’ Forum has taken firm charge of the party, and is in a vintage position to decide who will fly the party’s presidential ticket in 2023.

“Attempts by other stakeholders in the party including former Vice-President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido, to wrest control of the party from the governors were unsuccessful as seen in their attempt to install Col. Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd) as Deputy National Chairman of the party.

“The governors muscled Taofeek Arapaja into the position with their collective influence and delegates. This is a foretaste of what awaits us all when the contest for the presidential ticket of the PDP finally takes off.”

A member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) corroborated the view, saying the governors made it clear during the crisis ridden days of the party’s former NEC that they were left with no choice than to take over the leadership of the PDP.

“They are not pretending about what they intend to do,” a source who pleaded anonymity said.

“During the discussions to decide who would lead the party after Secondus, several interests and caucuses attempted to take charge.

“The governors, presidential aspirants, party elders and the National Assembly caucuses; they all struggled for control. But the governors had their way eventually largely because of their number and privileged positions.

“And from day one, nobody was left in doubt about their plans.

“Recently, at a meeting with some BoT members in Abuja, a couple of governors revealed that what is best for PDP in 2023 is for the party to repeat its 2007 model when two governors emerged as presidential candidate and running mate.

“Their argument is that the party needs funds and widespread mobilization for its campaign, and it is only a group like the Governors’ Forum that can marshal such funding and mobilization in the current circumstance.”

It was further gathered that the governors are convinced that only a concerted effort on the part of the group can stop the plan by Atiku to pick the PDP ticket again.

Sources said Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, who were initially not part of the plot executed by their colleagues to take over the party last December, were reconciled to the larger house shortly before and after the convention respectively as part of efforts to ensure unanimity in the actions of the governors going forward.

“PDP governors are all on the same page on these issues as we speak. They are working together,” one of the sources said.

A zonal Vice Chairman of the party in the immediate past NWC told our correspondent in confidence that with the outcome of the last elective convention, the governors have announced themselves as the undisputed owners of the party.

“Presidential aspirants of the party, including Anyim, Atiku, Lamido, Kwankwaso and Saraki, already know what they are in for. They know the governors would have a big say in the 2023 presidential contest.

“What it means is that without the support of the governors, you can’t win a big position in the PDP of today. This is the message I think everyone took home from that convention,” he said.

“It is common knowledge among leaders of the party that the governors are working in that direction since after the convention.

“And one of the plans is to foist indirect mode of primary election on the party for the nomination of the presidential flag-bearer.

“The talks are already on and the leadership of the party that will decide is firmly under the control of the governors.

“But if you ask me, I will say there is nothing wrong in what they are doing because we are all politicians.”

It was also gathered that the governors are trying to convert more party members to support their plot.

At one of their meetings, it was resolved that governors would move against any consideration of direct primary by the PDP.

To achieve this, members were asked to sensitize NASS members in their various states and get their support for the plot.

“Already, members of the NWC from all the states controlled by the governors are in their kitty and will readily agree to the dictates of the governors.

“The challenges they have now are in states not governed by the PDP.

“To overcome this challenge, they plan to use the zonal leadership of the party to control these states. That explains the fierce political wars in some zones over party positions.

“The Southwest, North-central and the South-south are good examples.

“While the governors can confidently boast of pulling their plot through in the 13 PDP-controlled states, they are working hard to penetrate the other states where they don’t have one of their own in charge.

“These states are the hopes of Atiku and others. But if the governors go into the race united and the other aspirants split the available states, you can guess what will happen.”

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