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Politics of Monday, 26 September 2022


PDP crisis puts Tinubu, Obi ahead of Atiku - PDP Chieftain

The presidential candidate of the leading political parties The presidential candidate of the leading political parties

A former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh says the festering leadership crisis in his party (PDP) may narrow the 2023 presidential election to a two-horse race.

He told The Nation in Abuja yesterday that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) would be the beneficiaries if PDP failed “to sit down together and resolve our differences before the situation completely gets out of hand.”

“The crisis, if it persists, may narrow the 2023 presidential election to a two-horse race between Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi,” Metuh warned.

He spoke just as a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, revealed that he has been “working silently behind the scene,” to bring peace to the PDP. The party will on Wednesday inaugurate its Presidential Campaign Organisation (PCO) and the National Campaign Management Committee (NCMC) in Abuja.

The main opposition party has been in turmoil since former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar emerged as its standard bearer for the February 2023 presidential election.

The rift deepened after Rivers State Nyesom Wike, who came second in the party’s shadow presidential poll, was allegedly overlooked by Atiku in the selection of his running mate.

Earlier last week, the crisis worsened as Wike’s allies jettisoned campaign responsibilities, and insisted that Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman, must be removed.

Despite several meetings convened to resolve the impasse, acrimony yet lingers in the party

But in an interview with The Nation, Metuh advised that peace must be restored to the PDP ahead of the presidential election.

His words: “The fate of the PDP in the 2023 election has been made precarious by Obi’s presence in the race.”

“Whether or not we admit it, Obi’s LP will take a considerable size of PDP votes in all the states in the Southeast.

“Obi has also penetrated states in the Southsouth, including Rivers, where Governor (Nyesom) Wike holds way and there is nothing anybody can do about that. So, nobody should hold the PDP or its candidate(Atiku) to ransom. “

He, however, said it would amount to weakness on Atiku’s part to buckle under pressure from Wike to remove Ayu, as a condition for the governor’s participation in the campaign.

According to him, Atiku will become a laughing stock among Nigerians and in the eyes of the international community if he yielded to such pressure.

Metuh, who is the longest serving member of PDP’s National Executive Committee (NEC), said the desire of Nigerians is to have a president who would be strong and firm in his convictions.

Admitting that Wike has always been a champion of the cause of his people, he cautioned the governor against bringing down the house with his insistence on the removal of the party’s national chairman.

Metuh, who dismissed claims by Wike and his loyalists that the South had been shortchanged by the PDP, advised that the contentious “issues should be discussed in-house”

“Enough is enough,” he said, adding: “I speak from institutional knowledge as the longest serving member of the party’s NEC. I don’t think it is fair to say that the South has been shortchanged in the affairs of the party.

“if you put it the other way, I think that the South has gotten more than a fair share in the affairs of the PDP and we are comfortable with that and we don’t have any problems.”

Former Senate President Saraki, who spoke for the first time on the PDP crisis, described Atiku as the best option for Nigerians in 2023.

He said: As I moved around the country in the past few days, I got the feeling that many people are concerned over my seeming silence on recent developments in our party, the PDP.

“My response is that there are times to speak and be heard and there are times when working silently behind the scene is more productive. This is such a time.”

A spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign, Charles Aniagwu, who confirmed that the PCO and NCMC would be inaugurated on Wednesday, also said that the decision on which part of the country the party would kick off its campaign would be taken after the event.

Aniagwu also said that no decision has been taken on how to fill the vacancies created by the withdrawal of Wike and his allies as members of the PCO.

“Replacing them is not on the cards. We believe that they will have a rethink and come back to the fold so that together we can prosecute the campaign,” he said.

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