2019: The hurdles before the PDP
By Abel Udokene
“I still just cannot understand how someone like Buhari became Nigeria’s President, Was it intelligence, being articulate, humanity, soundness of mind, sound judgment or what? On what basis was he elected? Someone help answer this question. My children will ask me in the future” – Oke Umurhohwo
In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari won an Incumbent President, an election that most Nigerians like Oke Umurhohwo still find it hard to comprehends.
As a supporter of Goodluck Jonathan and PDP in 2015, I was seated with some friends in Oyo State when the issue of the new PDP surfaces, Rotimi Amaechi left, Aliyu Wamakko left, Abdulfatah Ahmed left, Murtala Nyako left, and Bukola Saraki and the rest of them left. I can still remember when my friend tap me in the back and whisper “your Goodluck will lose”
Though I expressed some level of confidence to inspire those who were with us, I knew it was going to be a big task. I tried at that time to reach out to People like Reno Omokri, Doyin Okupe, Olisa Metuh who were at the forefront of the campaign but the result we got was not encouraging.
Something strange happened few weeks before the election, I was to join a volunteer team to a discussion and an engagement forum at the North Central, we wanted to engage young people on the policies of Jonathan’s administration and what it means for our future. As I was preparing to leave Uyo, the coordinator call and Informed me that the orientation of the team has changed from Jonathan to Buhari at the instance of Rotimi Amaechi, he informed me of the motivation involved but I was soaked with my desire to spread the gospel of Jonathan and I felt betrayed because the aim of the volunteer group was to promote the policies of Jonathan and engage young people on the need to support his re-election bid, though we were not a part of his campaign team or funded by any organs of his government, we had visited more than 5 states before this new development.
The group was hijacked, I was left alone, I had to stay put in Uyo and engage with as many young people as I can but as we had already calculated that Uyo was not enough to give Jonathan a second term.
“We have sacrificed everything for PDP. Loyalty to party must mean something.” – Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State, September 2018.
Fast-forward to 2018, a Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Senate President Bukola Saraki; a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (SAN); a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso; a former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State; a former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; a former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; and Dr. Ahmed Datti has already indicated interest to run for President in 2019 under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP).
Truth be told, If PDP can unite and produce a consensus candidate, Buhari will have a hard time winning re-election in 2019.
However, Stanley Nwabia who seems to favour the candidacy of Senate President Bukola Saraki has raised a very important issue which Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State seems to agree with, the issue of returnee and those who stood by the party, though he tried to exonerate Saraki on the grounds that he supported the emergence of Ike Ekweremadu as the deputy Senate President against the will of his former party (APC), time will tell how this will help the healing process.
“I know naturally that those who never left PDP may have some bad blood for returnees. But, let’s be honest, a Bukola Saraki then as an APC Senate President did a lot to ensure PDP’s survival when he entered into a pact with the party and produced a PDP deputy Senate President.” Stanley Nwabia
This was the same concern the former Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio raised when he addressed the PDP gathering during a dinner organized in honour of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and other returnees.
“We must not treat the prodigal sons and prodigal daughters more than the indigene who has remain the indigene of the PDP from the time we were elected into the National Assembly till date, and therefore the national chairman our message is simple, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander…” Godswill Akpabio
The duty before the PDP National leadership is a tasking one. I believe they should work first on genuine reconciliation. There is a need to put all the aspirants together in a room and allow all of them to insult themselves, disagree and finally agree on how to work together to face President Buhari in 2019.
Whether you like it or not, Kwankwaso is loved in the North, Saraki is a jewel of the North central, Atiku has covered a lot of ground, Tambuwal is a force, Dankwambo giants strides in Gombe is legendary, Bafarawa, Turaki, Jang and Ahmed Datti all have a support base, If these People come together and Present a united candidate, Buhari will have a very hard task of winning re-election in 2019.
Abel Udoekene is a writer, a farmer, and a social media strategist, he can be reached via [email protected]