2023 Presidential Race: Atiku’s Emergence As PDP’s Candidate Divides South-South Activists

The emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the 2023 presidential flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has caused a sharp division in the active social voices in the South-South geo-political zone.

A pro-democracy and human rights activist in the region, Karl Uchegbu, told Naija News in an interview that Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State who PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, described as the ‘’hero of the Convention’’, helped neutralize a clear and present danger to their (Northern) suzerainty.

According to Uchegbu, ‘’the Saturday convention of PDP for the election of its presidential candidate was never about Tambuwal and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State friendship. It is called group interest, and most often, it tends to be selfish.’’

But, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, is not on the same page with Uchegbu. For this Bayelsa State born political activist, ‘’Atiku’s emergence as the presidential flag bearer of PDP is the best thing that has happened to the party and Nigeria since 1999.’’

He is thanking PDP’s ad-hoc delegates for voting for a man of ‘’experience, capacity, competence, reach, exposure and blueprint to return the party to power at the centre as well as rescue the country from imminent collapse.’

Continuing with his line of thought, Uchegbu who is the Zonal Chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) said, ‘’Tambuwal was picked to deliver the ‘death blow’. When it comes to politics, the sons of Futa Djallon give no quarter and take no prisoners. Power is their life. They know it and don’t pretend about it.

‘’The same PDP Chairman that Wike’s friend, Governor Samuel Orthom of Benue State nominated, is has seen hailing Tambuwal as the hero of the presidential primaries. What was heroic about stepping down and unleashing your supporters against an assumed friend?

‘’I have heard in some quarters that aside from Wike’s verbal belligerence, there were palpable fears in some quarters that he might win. According to a political operative, Wike displayed two qualities that panicked the power mandarins that allocate leadership in the country.

‘’He showed raw courage and a scant disregard for personal safety. He said the things that no southerner dare say, and the way he said it didn’t win friends for him. In some quarters, he was viewed as one with the sole aim of dismantling the house that Lord Lugard built.

‘’Have we forgotten his battles with the cabal over the sharing of VAT? Are so quick to forget that during the COVID-19 lockdowns that Wike arrested a helicopter filled with oil workers, for violating COVID protocols?

‘’The truth is that Wike by joining the presidential race made a lot of powerful and ‘dangerous’ people nervous, and when these kind of people get nervous and panicky there are always consequences. I have heard it said in some circles that Wike would restructure the country. It was that serious.’’

Continuing, the rights activist said, ‘’those whose father’s were handed over the key of the Lugardian estate as permanent caretakers will never allow that. While as is typical of southerners, they are jubilating or mourning Wike’s loss on strictly partisan lines, the North is not seeing any party divide.

‘’They are not even seeing a Wike. What they see is a southern RISORGIMENTO, which momentum would have certainly upstaged the cart. Whether Wike the political will to have carried that true remains to be seen or will be left as Fela advised, for a symposium discussion in the future.

‘’In the eyes of the sons of Futa Djallon, allowing Wike to succeed would have been like allowing Asari or Nnamdi Kanu to win the presidency of Nigeria. This is simply unacceptable to them. There is a reason why they always go to Chattam House in London and the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

‘’The South also needs to activate their own think-tank and also start going to those places and even other places East wards. Power is never given, it is taken. Hate him, love him, this is the signal lesson, Wike had brought home to the South. Will we learn?’’

For Frank, however, “the emergence of Atiku as PDP’s presidential flag bearer ‘’is not only commendable but a golden dawn for the party to bounce back to power. PDP has gotten it absolutely right so far, all that remains is for the party to be focused, committed and resolute to achieve its aim of forming and administering the next government at the centre.

“There is no doubt that Atiku has all it takes to win votes to help the party realise its dream of returning to power, but the party needs to continue on the part of solidarity by making the necessary sacrifices to remain cohesive, united and impregnable to achieve the ultimate goal of occupying Aso Rock Villa in 2023.

“This is the time for the PDP to return to the drawing board, appease all aggrieved presidential aspirants and ensure that the party goes into the 2023 presidential election with a solid and united front. We are confident that Atiku has all it requires to ensure that the PDP wins the 2023 presidential election and return the PDP to power in 2023.

“This is the goal and the party cannot afford to allow sentiments, selfishness and divided loyalties to deny it of the ultimate prize. Atiku is the Comforter that Nigerians have been praying and yearning for. I am hereby urging the party to work passionately and assiduously to emerge victorious in 2023.’’

This article was originally published on Nigeria News

Generated by Feedzy