THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is yet to reconcile with its five aggrieved governors, otherwise known as the G-5 Governors or Integrity Group, headed by the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
The PDP controls 14 of Nigeria’s 36 states. The APC has 21 in its fold, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is in charge of one.
PDP’s crisis continues as the presidential election is 70 days from now.
The party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has continued his campaign, hoping to win the G-5 governors to his fold or proceed to the poll without them.
None of the G-5 Governors has shown up in all the states where Atiku has had his campaign since September 28, when he flagged off his campaign.
Atiku, 76, and a former vice president, has contested the presidency five times since 1993 and lost.
He is among the four leading candidates vying for the seat as President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-term ends on May 29, 2023.
The presidential election will be held on February 25, 2023.
The PDP candidate is vying for the country’s most exalted seat against Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria’s Peoples Party (NNPP) and other candidates.
Tinubu, Obi, Tinubu and Kwankwaso are currently the four leading candidates. Tinubu and Obi are from the South, while Atiku and Kwankwanso hail from the North.
Atiku’s emergence as the party’s flagbearer angers Wike’s group because the incumbent President Buhari hails from the North like Atiku. Both of them are from the Fulani tribe.
Many Nigerians hoped Atiku would settle for Wike as his running mate after winning the party’s primary; he opted for the Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
After many appeals by the party stalwarts, Wike agreed to work with Atiku, but with the condition that the party’s chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, who is also from the North, resigns for a Southern party stalwart to lead the party.
While the APC is hopeful that the Integrity Group will back its presidential candidate in the coming election if the crisis remains unresolved, Obi’s LP is not also losing sleep over winning the group to its camp.
Many analysts have described the G-5 Governors as significant to whoever wins the presidential election because of their influence and large followership.
The ICIR reports that all appeals to Wike by the Atiku’s group have failed, as the River governor uses virtually every public event to attack the Adamawa-born politician.
The G-5 governors, backed by many PDPs chieftains in the South, including former governors, are insisting on either a power shift to the South or Ayu’s resignation to reflect a federal character in power-sharing within the PDP.
The PDP had ruled Nigeria between May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2015, when it lost the presidency from the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, who was seeking re-election to Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, who led Nigeria through a putsch between December 31, 1983, to August 27, 1985.