The Rescue Nigeria mantra recently adopted by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its campaign slogan for 2023 will come in full fledged on Friday, December 10 when its newly elected National Working Committee (NWC) takes over the baton to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years. Beyond this, the new leadership of the party is shouldered with the responsibility to return the former biggest political party in Africa to the centre of power come 2023.
Coming out of its last national convention without rancour has put to rest speculations of a gasping PDP that many believed the exercise could be its last as a political party. But against all odds, the PDP proved to be more resilient. The party is not only ready to push the ruling APC to the limit this time but it is also determined to give it a fight for its power and money come 2023.
Obviously, the outcome of the convention has sent shivers down the spin of the ruling party that is currently not certain of its direction to 2023, given the current leadership tussle that has engulfed its various state chapters; all the way to the national level- a situation tied to who decides what, takes what and gets what in 2023.
On Sunday, October 31, former Senate President, Ayorchia Ayu formally became the party’s national chairman through the party’s old tradition- consensus building. Ayu and 19 of the 21 new officials emerged by consensus after a high level horse trading at the geopolitical/zonal caucus levels, underlining the strong desire of the major opposition party to portray a veneer of unity and stability, and give order to an otherwise very difficult situation.
The PDP was riddled with leadership crisis that cost it a huge fortune in the last few years and became even worse in 2021 when three governors and several lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives left the party for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Before the party’s latest twist of fortune, it was enmeshed in an atrocious internal wrangling among factions, underlined by the conflict between the erstwhile party Chairman, Uche Secondus and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. Since the party’s defeat at the 2015 election, all has not been well, as all prescriptions intended to put it back on its feet fell short of restoring the health of the former biggest political party in Africa.
The bulk of this blame was directed at the party’s leadership under Uche Secondus, who they accused of complacency and corruption. A factor attributed to the loss of Zamfara, Ebonyi and even Cross River to the APC as their governors decided to jump ship.
Despite the success recorded at its recent convention, Nigeria’s major opposition party is still confronted with crisis in some of its state chapters- a leadership conundrum bequeathed by the outgoing Uche Secondus led-NWC.
Prince Kassim Afebgua, a former Edo State Commissioner for Information, acknowledged this when he told THISDAY in exclusive chat that the “new leadership of the party has a lot on its plate to resolve.”