As Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections is on the fast approach, the collective fate of the five governors known as G-5 governors may be hanging in the balance with their party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, North-West Nigeria, has hinted of the possible sanctions awaiting those five governors from the PDP for their vehement opposition to the party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Alhaji Tambuwal, a top backer of Alhaji Abubakar’s candidature, declared in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Muhammad Bello, declared that the PDP has lawful processes for dealing with erring members that will be deployed accordingly against the G-5 governors.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will respond to the antics of five of its Governors currently being speculated to be in political dalliance with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“The PDP is a law-abiding party, and it would explore lawful avenues to bring any of its erring members to book,” Tambuwal warned.
He explained that the PDP was waiting and will respond to whatever position is taken by the G-5 governors, which Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, leads.
Apart from Wike, the quintet includes: Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, South-East Nigeria; Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, South-East Nigeria; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, North-Central Nigeria; and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, South-West Nigeria.
It would be recalled that fissures in the PDP had either been mended or expanded during the campaigns for the party’s presidential primaries and following the outcome of the primaries in which Atiku Abubakar emerged winner and Wike placed second.
It would further be recalled that in one of the more dramatic moments during the PDP presidential primaries, Tambuwal had declared his withdrawal as one of the presidential aspirants on the ballot and avowed his unalloyed support for Atiku Abubakar.
Tambuwal withdrawal from contesting in the PDP presidential primaries and alliance with Atiku Abubakar subsequently influenced the emergence with a comfortable lead of Nigeria’s Vice President under the two consecutive four-year terms of the administration of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007.
Consequently, the PDP has been thrown in a flux, as debates raged among members and non-members alike over if it was just and equitable or otherwise for the party to field Atiku Abubakar, who is of Fulani extraction from Adamawa State in Nigeria’s North-East, and possibly having him succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, another Fulani from Katsina State, North-West Nigeria, whose second four-year tenure terminates May 29, 2023.
Opposition to Atiku Abubakar’s candidacy by the G-5 governors, which membership lends itself to the advocacy for powershift from Northern Nigeria to Southern Nigeria, had eventually soft-pedalled on the issue, but insisted that there must be a shakeup in national leadership of the PDP, including the resignation of the Benue State-born National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, in order to promote equity, fairness and balance of power, noting that these were impossible with Northern Nigeria presenting the PDP presidential, the party National Chairman and other chieftains at the national level.
Ayu has neither resigned nor been sacked as the PDP National Chairman, as he continues in office with the support of Atiku Abubakar and several attempts to reconcile the G-5 governors with the party’s presidential candidate have recorded persistent stalemates.
Political watchers posit that the G-5 governors would impact the outcome of the elections this year, noting that similarly disenchanted members of the PDP, notably governors, under aegis of New-PDP had in no mean measure contributed to the founding of the APC, which subsequently pushed off the PDP from its pedestal as the ruling party for 16 unbroken years in 2015 and retains power till date.
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