On May 28, 2022, delegates from all the states of the federation and the crème de la crème of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) converged at the MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja. Their goal –– to elect the party’s candidate ahead of the 2023 election. As the major opposition party in the country, the convention draws the attention of all other political parties, including the ruling APC. The convention came with its usual pre-convention dramas, but in the end Atiku Abubakar is the PDP presidential candidate..
A colossal setback hit the actualization of an Igbo presidency in 2023 as Peter Obi resigned from the PDP. The former governor of Anambra, an astute economist, is undoubtedly one of the forerunners for the 2023 presidential race from the Igbo extraction. He is well-loved by many Nigerians because of his reputation as a good manager of resources.
He chose the Labour Party as a party he believes aligns with his aspirations and mantra of taking the country from consumption to production. Mr. Obi must have noticed there was no chance for him to win the presidential ticket of PDP because of the desperations of the money bags in the party.
Another PDP presidential aspirant, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen withdrew from the race on the ground that the entire contest has been obscenely monetized. Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) were reported to have stormed the venue of the convention. The ‘money primaries’ had ended before the delegates got to the venue. Aspirants were reported to have met them at their hotels, where dollars were shared generously. The operatives can do little because the menace of money politics has grown systematically; we have refused to nip it right in the bud.
At the convention venue, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the incumbent governor of Sokoto State and one of the presidential aspirants, withdrew from the presidential race and asked his supporters to vote for Atiku Abubakar. It is worthy to note that in 2019, Wike backed Tambuwal against Atiku; four years down the line, Tambuwal supported Atiku against Wike.
As against the stand of the Southern Governor’s Forum that wants power to shift back to the south after the completion of Buhari’s administration, Atiku Abubakar emerged as the flagbearer of the PDP. He pulled 371 votes; he was followed by Nyesome Wike, who got 237 votes, while Bukola Saraki got 70 votes. Bala Mohammed and Anyim Pius Anyim got 20 and 14 votes, respectively. Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and Diana Oliver Tariela got one vote each.
Apparently, the 75 years old Adamawa-born politician has not lost his political finesse. Looking at the 134-vote margin he got ahead of the first runner-up, he would have still won without Tambuwal’s support. However, it was apparent that ‘Northern Solidarity’ came to play here.
In his acceptance speech, Atiku extended a hand of fellowship to the defeated aspirants and pledged to work with them to ensure victory for the party. The race for Atiku’s running mate has begun. Unfortunately, following the resignation of Mr. Obi from the PDP, many south southerners appear to be more likely to pick the slot. Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state; Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom and Nyesom Wike, are some of the favourites.
Will the ruling APC be willing to hand over its ticket to a southerner when a northerner who can ‘boast’ of 11million votes in his kitty has picked the PDP’s ticket? Only time will tell.