By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
Nigeria’s former President of the Senate and Chairman, National Committee on Reconciliation and Strategy of the largest political party in Africa, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bukola Saraki, has said that former governors under the platform of the party are committed to the victory during the PDP in the 2023 general elections.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and given the unabating insecurity situation in the country with dwindling economic uncertainties as well as the alleged lopsided policies of the Buhari administration, which has further divided Nigeria deeper along tribal and religious divides, the PDP may stand the chance of driving the All Progressive Congress (APC) away from the centre come 2023 elections.
Saraki also said that although the PDP doesn’t make noise about who is joining the party, but many, even those, who left the party are coming back to join the PDP. Addressing newsmen shortly after meeting with the former governors in Abuja during the week, Saraki said, “yesterday we met with one of our former Presidents. Today we are consulting with our former governors who are key stakeholders and leaders in their states.
“There is no way we can talk about consultations and unity of the party without consulting them. We have been here for two to three hours. Very useful and productive meeting. They have all shown their commitment towards the party to go and strengthen our party in their states and the national level to ensure that the party is well prepared towards the next elections ahead of 2023. “They also to bring about the areas of grievances which is normal in any party, as leaders to help us unify and bring people together where there are problems and issues.”
Explaining further why it is important to reach out to them, the former President of the Senate said, “a lot of them have a lot of experiences and resources but felt that they’re not as involved in some of the issues that are ready to now work actively.
“And we’ve promised as a committee to keep them brief, get them involved in some of the work,” adding that have people who look up to them with respect. He said: “I want to see them more active because their silence sometimes might be misinterpreted. They have promised me and the committee that they will be more active workers of the party.
“You will hear more of their voices; they are available for comments on national issues. I think it will help the fortunes of the party.”
Asked why many former governors are are leaving the party and no new ones are coming in, Saraki said, “we’re doing most of reaching out first to those who are in the party, making them very active and very involved. Of course, there are some who are in other parties. We don’t start telling you who is coming until when they are arriving. Just be watching.”
The former governors who were in attendance are; Peter Obi, Anambra, AAbdulfatai Ahmed, Kwara, Ibrahim Shema, Katsina, Boni Haruna, Adamawa, Ahmed Makarfi, Kaduna, Gabriel Suswam, Benue, Sam Egwu, Ebonyi, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Delta, Ramalan Yero, Kaduna, Babangida Aliyu, Niger, Ibrahim Idris, Kogi, Wada Idris, Kogi, Liyel Imoke, Cross River, Emeka Ihedioha, Imo and Ayodele Fayose, Ekiti. In a related development, the spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said there is no crack in the party National Working Committee (NWC). Addressing newsmen, Ologbondiyan explained that NWC has no issue with the party National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
He said: “We are a united, indivisible and Indissoluble National Working Committee (NWC). We have a responsibility to move the party forward. We have no issue with our National Chairman. You will agree with me that if there is any kind of issue, the environment will not be the same. APC is looking on how to divide the PDP. But one assurance I will give is that the NWC is united, no rancour and we are working on how to deliver the party in the 2023 general elections.
“It is the APC that is now in faction. We have in the APC, the Congress of Progressives Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). In the PDP NWC, we have no faction.” On the report that some serving governors and former governors want to defect to the APC, Ologbondiyan said, “none of our governors wants to leave the PDP.
“Otumba Gbenga Daniel has since left the PDP in 2019. He is not a member of PDP. He has since defected to APC. He left with faction of the party. Both Gbenga Daniel and Iyiola Omisiore are not members of the PDP. If you are member of the party, you must be active. He declared that he has a working relationship with Dapo Abiodun. He has since left PDP. Iyiola Omisore has since left the PDP. “
On whether the party will consider the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as it’s presidential candidate, the spokesman of PDP said, “We have not started selling forms, until then, we don’t know those who are contesting for the presidential ticket of the party for 2023. Moreover, we have not started selling forms.”