The inability of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to resolve the ongoing crisis between its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has stalled the appointment of a director general and other campaign council members to lead the PDP presidential campaign.
The development has left many party faithful and stakeholders agitated as to the implication on the campaign and subsequent outcome of the elections as efforts to resolve the crisis were yet to see the light of day.
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Last week, the presidential candidate announced Senator Dino Melaye and Barrister Daniel Bwala as spokespersons of the campaign even though the chairman, the director general and other structures were yet to be announced.
The piecemeal announcement was seen as an effort to show Nigerians, especially those agitated that something was being done on that front.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust reliably gathered that the thinking of the stakeholders is for the DG of the campaign to be from the South, especially the South West following agitations that many of the key positions in the party are already in the firm grip of the North.
One of the names being mentioned is Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde. But Makinde cannot be appointed as DG to Atiku’s campaign without the buy in of Wike since the Rivers and Oyo State governors are in the same camp in the party, a development that has stalled the process.
Another name being mentioned is Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, but apart from Tambuwal being from the North, sources said he was among those that suggested the nomination of Wike as a vice presidential candidate to assuage his defeat at the primary and was not happy that he was overlooked for the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Even though Atiku and Wike met in Abuja and agreed to put up a committee to iron out their differences, the list of conditions is said to be a stumbling block on the path to peace.
Among the conditions, Daily Trust understands, were the resignation of the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu for a southern member to take over, the itemisation of what appointments his camp will get if the PDP wins the presidency and a written agreement to show that the parties will stick to the terms of the agreement if he (Atiku) is successful in 2023.
A source close to Wike told Daily Trust that their camp was not after any position in the campaign council as he reiterated their non-aligned posture for the campaign.
“He should go and appoint whoever he wants to appoint. What we tell them is everyone should go and deliver his own state. We are not going to leave the party but we won’t be part of any unfair system,” the source said.
Reacting to the development, Mr Paul Ibe, media adviser to Atiku Abubakar told Daily Trust that the “Process of putting together the campaign council is ongoing, a lot of work has gone into it, I believe about 95 per cent of the work has been done.
“They have agreed on a structure, and they already have a good idea of the personnel that will man the structure. But let me say that the process has not been concluded but it will be made known when the process is completed.”
Meanwhile, a source at the party secretariat close to the workings of the campaign told Daily Trust that the council will be announced before the 15th of this month.
He added that the party is waiting for the issue arising from the nomination of the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the vice presidential candidate between Atiku and Wike to be resolved.
The source said: “The issue of the mediation going on is paramount; you cannot put the cart before the horse. It is a process, immediately after the issue of the disagreement is settled, the campaign council will be announced and they will get to work.
“I believe that on or before the middle of this month, the council will be announced.
“The names they are looking at are Governor Makinde or Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Many of the stakeholders are of the view that the DG should come from the South and the South-West in particular.
“So, those working on it are looking at the fact that if they are able to mend fences with Wike, Makinde will be made the DG, if not the party and Atiku will go with Oyinlola,” the source said.
This is even as the party has also postponed the National Caucus and National Executive Committee meetings earlier scheduled for Wednesday, August 10 and Thursday, August 11, 2022, respectively.
Even though the party said the “Postponement is due to unforeseen circumstances”, Daily Trust gathered the postponement is not unconnected with efforts to settle the strife in the party before any further meetings, so as not to portray a divided house to the public.
Senator Samuel Anyanwu, National Secretary of the party, who signed the postponement notice, however, stated that a “New date will be announced in due course and all inconveniences are deeply regretted.”