The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, might be far from over and will likely affect the constitution of the campaign organisation of their presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The party is yet to recover from the division caused by the outcome of presidential primary election and the subsequent choice of Ifeanyi Okowa as the running mate to Atiku,
In a report by Saturday Sun, the widening gulf which started shortly after the emergence of Senator Iyorchia Ayu as the chairman of the party has now pitted six PDP governors, predominantly from the South, against Atiku’s presidential bid.
Quoting a source at the party, the newspaper gave the names of the aggrieved Governors as Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ishaku Darius of Taraba and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
“Trouble started when Ayu was elected national chairman of the PDP. Leaders of the party had agreed to zone the chairmanship of the PDP to the North, while the South, like the All Progressives Congress (APC), would produce the presidential candidate.
“As soon as Ayu assumed office, he jettisoned the arrangement he inherited and started working for the emergence of Atiku, who is seen as his close political ally, to emerge as the candidate. Despite attempts by governors and other leaders of the party to prevail on Ayu to respect the agreement that he inherited, the former Senate President remained adamant,” the news paper said while quoting a source.
“When it was obvious that Ayu wasn’t ready to listen and zone the presidential ticket to the South, governors and other leaders decided to leave the contest open. But they agreed to support a Southern aspirant, but people like Okowa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and other people, especially from the South South, started working to ensure that a Northern candidate emerged.
“When Wike lost the primary election to Atiku, party leaders agreed that it would be best to pick him as the running mate to Atiku. The aforementioned governors met with Atiku and other leaders to pick Wike as a popular choice, but were ignored by Ayu and Atiku, who are believed to be micro-managed by some powerful Northern leaders. Unable to have their way, the six governors decided not to play any active role during the presidential campaign of Atiku.
“The governors can’t and won’t defect. They understand that clearly. If they defect now, their candidates can’t win elections. Some of them are gunning for a second term. But they’ll sabotage Atiku the same way PDP governors sabotaged President Goodluck Johnathan in 2015.
“If you recall, many governors of the PDP, especially from the North, worked for the emergence of Buhari. They didn’t leave the PDP, but they sabotaged it from within. That’s what may play out in the case of Atiku.
“There is a general consensus from Southern leaders that power should return to the region. And many PDP governors are close friends of the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They will work for him. If that happens, hold Atiku and Ayu responsible.”