Tuesday, September 29, 2020 6:22 am
Three years may seem like eternity, but not when the struggle for political power is at stake. That is what is currently playing out in the nation’s political firmament as it is shaping up for the next general elections. The elections are scheduled to hold in 2023, still some three clear years away.
In spite of the long window however, political parties and their members have returned to the drawing board strategizing on how to win. In the last few weeks, Politicians have been traversing around the length and breadth of Nigeria consulting one another on the polls. The seasons for daytime and nocturnal meetings of stakeholders are returning.
Last week, opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP staggered back to life from the slumber of it’s defeat in last year’s Presidential poll. The party inaugurated a steering committee to chat its course and ensure its return to power in 2023. It was set up by the National Working Committee and headed by Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.
Other members of the group included former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido; former Niger State governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu; former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Taminu Turaki, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,SAN, Masanin Gwandu.
The mandate of the committee is to pay advocacy visits to founding members of the party and discuss ways to bring it back to power at the national level. Notable among those to be consulted are former Presidents Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Former Governors and ex legislative leaders at the State and National levels are also on its itinerary.
Last weekend the group set about the assignment in earnest. Its delegation visited former self styled military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, IBB at his hilltop mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital on Saturday. The following day, the delegation met with Obasanjo at his Presidential Library residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The group arrived Obasanjo’s home for the talks at about 4.00 p.m on Sunday. The meeting was partly a postmortem on the party’s performance in the general election of 2019 and an assessment of its plans of reclaiming Aso Villa in the next election.
Obasanjo, reportedly received them in company of some political leaders like Otunba Oyewole Fasawe among others. The former President was said to have expressed his hapiness for seeing those he described as heavyweights of the party from the North, assuring them that he would continue to give advise that will move the country forward.
The News recalls that Obasanjo was a pioneer member of the party under which he also served as a two-term President, from 1999 to 2007. But the former President parted ways with the party in the build up to the 2015 general elections. He had in fact, publicly torn his membership card and has since then preferred the image of an apolitical elder statesman.
The PDP was the dominant party in Nigeria in 1999 when the military returned to the barracks. But in 2015, the party lost its majority status to the All Progressives Congress, APC when Muhammodu Buhari of the APC defeated then incumbent Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari proceeded to a second term victory in the 2019 election leaving a major casualty in the PDP. The party has since been sucking in the cold, learning a new role as an opposition party.
The Sept. 19, 2020 Edo Governorship Election in which Governor Godwin Obaseki won reelection under the PDP platform has raised the hopes of many members that the party can bounce back. It currently controls 16 States to APC’s 19. The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA controls the only one remaining out of Nigeria’s 36 states.
In a related development, PDP’s Presidential candidate in last year’s election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was also last week reported to have regreased his presidential ambition by inaugurating some committees he hoped will help advance the ambition.
Will the current efforts yield the desired results?