- NEC meeting holds tomorrow
Twenty-one days to the commencement of campaigns for the presidential election, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, seems to be on the edge following the unbending position of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
The crisis rocking the leading opposition party has ballooned in recent days as the camp of Wike has refused to shift ground on its demand that the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, be sacked.
Wike, who is grieving over the selection of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as Atiku’s running mate has been tongue lashing the camp of the former vice president.
Sources in both the camps of Atiku and Wike said the delay in the constitution of the campaign council was as a result of the internal wrangling.
In 2019, when he contested against President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku constituted a 154-member committee with a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, as the director general.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed September 28, 2022, for the commencement of campaigns for the presidential and National Assembly elections.
A top shot in one of the organs of the party at the national level said they were being careful with the final list of those that would be appointed to serve on the campaign council.
“We are being careful for two reasons: we don’t want a situation whereby people will be appointed and they will reject it. Two, we don’t want moles to be appointed in the council,” he said.
A founding member of party in the South West said the inauguration of the campaign council was not the most urgent issue now, but the resolution of the crisis in the party.
He insisted that the National Chairman, Ayu, must resign to save the party from disintegration ahead of the 2023 elections.
He explained that the campaign council was just an administrative structure which would naturally take off when a new national chairman emerged.
Speaking with our correspondent, a former National Secretary of the party, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, expressed optimism that the crisis rocking the party would be resolved amicably.
He said there was no cause for alarm over the delay in the constitution of the campaign council.
A public affairs analyst, Comrade Achike Jude, said it was a dark day for the party, alluding to the crisis in the party.
He said, “If they cannot get their acts together on time, it will affect the chances of the PDP in the 2023 elections.”
He noted that despite the several overtures made by the party’s candidate to pacify the aggrieved governors, the crisis had festered.
Mr Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to Atiku Abubakar, had previously said that, “A lot of work has gone into the process of putting together the campaign council.”
Meanwhile, the party will hold its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting tomorrow. The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, confirmed the meeting.
By Ismail Mudashir, Baba Martins (Abuja) & Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos)