Recently, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Turakin Adamawa and former Vice President, made a re-entry into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He called it a comeback to his family, which he helped to build.
It is widespread opinion that Atiku wants to contest the presidential election on the platform of the PDP, a party that ruled the country for 16 years, before it lost power to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku’s return has elicited widespread discourse with the APC casting aspersion and vilifying him while PDP elements and many well-meaning Nigerians laud his courage. This development also seems to bolster the fortunes and electoral chances of the PDP as he may end up clinching the party’s ticket to run for the president. As a former vice president and two times presidential aspirant, Atiku knows the terrain and has the machinery and national structure to execute a presidential campaign that could intimidate other parties and their candidates.
It is, therefore, imperative at this build-up period to analyze the intra-party politics in PDP which will determine which geo-political zone gets what position in the next PDP presidency. Having strategically zoned their presidential slot to the North, PDP should give Atiku the needed support to emerge as their flag bearer.
A review of the positions already occupied by various zones in the past PDP governments will suffice here, as it will help in the calculations. In 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from the South West was the President; Atiku Abubakar from the North East was the Vice president while many from the South East occupied office of the senate president.
To correct the obvious imbalances and sense of alienation in the South East which will be the panacea for the electoral success of the party in the forth coming presidential election, the South East has to be given the Vice Presidential slot with a promise to zone the president to it after eight years of Atiku.
The credible and politically sound allocation of the four most important positions in the country in an Atiku presidency should be, President – North East, Vice President – South East, Senate President – South West, House Speaker – North Central
A critical factor that will support this assertion will be the consideration that in the present APC government of Buhari, the President is from North, West, Vice President from South West, Senate President North Central while House Speaker is from the North East.
The South East and South South, which the president believes are the stronghold of PDP, were not considered at all, even the consolatory position of secretary to the government of the federation which his supporters in the two zones had expected.
It is important to commend PDP for its novel decision to elect its National Chairman from the South South, which is now the nucleus of the party. It is the zone with the highest number of PDP states.
It is important to note that South South with 83.3% and South East with 60% of the states in their zones should be the heartbeat of the party. This was aptly captured during its last convention when its elected its National Chairman from the South South zone. The zone mainly funds the party and should determine who presides over its affairs.
Having achieved that at the National Working Committee level of the party, they should allow other zones to take up other prominent positions in the party and the in-coming PDP government to precipitate a mass exodus into the party to actualize its success at the polls in 2019. The coast of success is clearer now than before, especially with the alleged low performance of the Buhari-led government. APC has indeed shown itself as incompetent, myopic, nepotic and unprogressive as its incumbent president does not have the interest of all Nigerians at heart in pursuit of his government policies. The economy has completely crumbled; prices of fuel and other food items have hit the ceiling. A lot of comparative studies have been made on the prices of all essential goods during the PDP 16-year rule and the APC two and half years. It is seen that prices have increased up to 300%; a sign of bad government.
Security of lives and property has been thrown to the dogs. Life no longer has meaning as herdsmen, who have been described as the fourth deadliest terrorist group, yet he has refused to tag them terrorists, slaughter innocent citizens in their homes or farms on daily basis. They have killed more people in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna, Enugu and other states than known terrorist groups without the Police, DSS or Military making one arrest or organizing any animal dance for them. Buhari overrated his capacity to change things, which he has actually achieved in the contrary. The chips are now down, we have seen the difference between propaganda and governance. We have seen how incompetent, unpatriotic, tribalistic and retributive this government is.
Atiku will become the next president if he puts PDP’s house in order by not allowing it to be destroyed by extraneous forces again. The South West should accept the outcome of the last convention as it will be in the overall interest of the party and its members. They should mend fences quickly with all zones working with the National Working Committee to woo back their kith and kin who are currently hobnobbing with strange fellows, despots and non-progressives who are deceptively wearing the garb of democrats.
Atiku should use his managerial acumen and organizational prowess to placate the South West and galvanise all the zones to re-establish the formidability of the party. If he sows sparingly, he will reap sparingly or not reap at all, but if he deploys his enormous economic and social network in the revitalization process of PDP, he will be the ultimate beneficiary. The time to start is now.
A more balanced sharing formula for the office of the President, Vice President, Senate President and House Speaker will promote sense of belonging for all the zones which will enable them to work for the success of the party in the 2019 elections and would counter and prove the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wrong on his 2019 prediction on PDP.
Alozie is U.S based Public Affairs Analyst and Social Commentator.