Ahead of the December 10, 2021, inauguration date for the newly elected members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Nigerians have tasked the Iyorchia Ayu-led executive to urgently reposition the party for victory in 2023 and beyond.
Although, still basking in the euphoria of a successful National Convention that heralded a fresh breath of air for the party, after a turbulent period, the executive members-in-waiting have been urged to brace up for a serious job ahead.
Observers say that the new NWC must immediately embark on a rebuilding exercise to try and bring all the state chapters together, while reinvigorating the party as a vibrant opposition force ahead of future elections.
Perhaps, one of the key issues that has remained controversial is where the party should zone the presidency in 2023.
Pundits say the NWC must be smart and strategic in dealing with the issue, as it has the potential of plunging the party into a fresh crisis.
Although the PDP has not taken any categorical position on the issue of zoning, there are already debates of possible implications if the party should zone the ticket to the North or the South.
Observers believe that the ability of the leadership to navigate the seeming intricate issue would determine the very future of PDP.
They also advised that the in-coming NWC must look beyond self, but put its gaze at a larger picture of reversing the current socio-economic and political negative narrative and give Nigerians a new lease of life.
In the last few weeks, a number of chieftains of the party across the country have been signifying their intentions to contest the presidency in 2023. Among them are two former Senate presidents, Bukola Saraki, Pius Anyim; Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State governor, and Sam Ohuabunwa, a pharmacist and business executive.
There are also some others who though, have not verbalised their intentions, have already set up groups that are already drawing up support for them at the background.
Kunle Okunade, political analyst, says the new leadership has the immediate task of resolving crises in their state chapters, especially, states that could not hold successful congresses, and should focus on canvassing for new eligible electorate who may buy into their ideas.
“The new executives need to work on repositioning and rebranding the party in the polity because without it, the party may not be able to win the heart of the people.
“PDP has the advantage of canvassing new eligible electorates who may buy into their ideas. That is, the leadership should focus on winning new registrants into their support base,” he says.
“It is obvious that the All Progressives Congress has failed, and it is a great opportunity for PDP, but it depends on how they are about to strategise, remember it is not easy to defeat a ruling party in Nigeria,” he states further.
Segun Adewale, a chieftain of the PDP in Lagos State and member of the South-West executive, warns that the new NWC must decide where the party should zone the presidential ticket to, adding that such decision must be carefully taken so that the party’s chances in 2023 presidential election would not be jeopardised.
“For me, I think the immediate task now for the NWC is to decide where the PDP should zone the presidency to in 2023, especially since the APC may want to zone to the South.
“We have to watch very carefully, it is important so that we don’t make a mistake and zone to where numerically we don’t have the strength and we lose out. It is a key decision that could determine the party’s fate in the 2023 general election,” Adewale notes.
Collins Anene, a member of the party, states that the new NWC should avoid the “banana peel” on the floor of the party’s headquarters at Wadata Plaza, Abuja, by taking a decision to serve all the members of the party, and in the best interest of all Nigerians.
“My advice is not just to Senator Ayu, but to all the members of the NWC. They must work as a group and towards a common goal. There are already some ‘banana peels’ that they must avoid so as not to be brought down accidentally. They know where they are coming from and the onerous tasks ahead of them,” Anene states.
According to Anene, “They were elected at a very crucial period of our great party, when their wealth of experience is seriously needed. They must not be seen as being anybody’s boy; but must be seen to be transparently discharging their duty in the interest of every member of the party. They must work hard to stabilise the party in all the state chapters and strategise to see how to bring back aggrieved members who left the party.”
Anene notes further: “In fact, I would say that the new leadership should take the party to ‘profitability’ as it is said in the business world.”
The new leadership of the party will be sworn-in after the expiration of the tenure of the current NWC members led by Uche Secondus comes to an end on December 9, 2021.
The 21-member NWC was elected on October 30 during the party’s convention in Abuja. The new leadership just had a two-day retreat, which it said was aimed at re-strategising to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the ruling APC.