By Myke Agunwa
Barely 700 days to the next general election, politicians the political parties have triggered various innocuous political strategies to outsmart each other and produce the next Chief Executive of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has intensified its membership registration drive which commenced since January and is expected to end on the 31st of March.
APC’s interim National Secretary, Sen. John Udoedehe expressed confidence at the turn out of the exercise.
“The feedback across the states have been overwhelming and beyond projected success level; with a massive turnout of intending registrants beyond the expectation of the party.
“This development is responsible for the shortage of registration materials recorded in many states across the country and thereby warranting an extension of the exercise to give every interested Nigerian the opportunity to officially identify with the ruling party, the APC”.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has constituted several committees ranging from 2019 Election Review Committee, Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, PDP Women Action Committee, PDP Youth Committee not forgetting the Constitution and Electoral Act Amendment Committee as well as Harmonization Committee that had since turned in their reports.
The 2019 Election Review Committee.
The committee chaired by Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed last Wednesday, presented its report to the national leadership of the party. The committee chairman reported that the assignment was a most challenging because it carries with it the responsibility of unravelling why the party lost power in 2019 and the urgent need to take back power which had slipped off its hands.
He said the four-part report x-rayed the mistakes of the party which according to him was very critical for repositioning it and tackling the challenges ahead of its quest to reclaim power at the center.
He said that despite the clamour that the South East be given special considerations in choosing the next president, the party must put merit and competence at the forefront before looking into other primordial considerations.
“In line with certain unwritten conventions of the nation’s history, many people think that, for fairness and equity, the North East and South East geo-political zones that have had the shortest stints at the Presidency, should be given special consideration, in choosing the presidential flag bearer of the party, for the 2023 elections.
“While we admit that this is a strong argument, we should not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with many capable and very experienced leaders in every part of the country. Moreover, the exigencies of the moment demand that nothing should be compromised in choosing the leader, with the attributes to disentangle the country from the present quagmire.
“Therefore, we think that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate, through a credible primary election; as a way of institutionalizing a merit-based leadership recruitment process, for the country” the committee recommended.
National Assembly faceoff.
After more than two years tussle over the emergence Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as House minority leader and his subsequent suspension with six others, the party following the intervention of its BoT and its Harmonization Committee led by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal lifted the suspension and officially recognized Elumelu as the leader of the party in the House.
They were suspended shortly after the inauguration of the 9th House of Representatives for allegedly frustrating the party’s bid to install its preferred candidate, Kingsley Chinda, as Minority leader.
Reconciliation and Strategy Committee.
The committee is led by former President of Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki. The committee met with several sensitive organs of the party including PDP Board of Trustee (BoT), PDP Governors Forum, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Goodluck Jonathan, PDP Zonal Executives, ex-governors and deputy governors among others.
The Saraki led committee also waded into the face-off between Rivers State Governor Nyson Wike and his Cross River State counterpart, Senator Ben Ayade; the age long rivalry between the PDP faction loyal to Ladi Adedutu and those in the camp of late Senator Buruji Kashamu just as they are tackling the face-off between governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and former governor Ayodele Fayose over soul of PD in the South West.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting of the committee with Obasanjo, Saraki said, “The president is someone who has been in our party before and someone committed to the unity, to the success of this country.
“We are very hopeful for the future of this country; we are very hopeful that everybody will have a sense of belonging. I think it is important that we all must come to the table and discuss. We can tap into a lot of resources. Even on the issue of security, there are (a) lot of people with a lot of experience that we can make use of”.
PDP Women Action Committee.
The Senator Biodun Olujimi led committee, inaugurated last week was given the task of mobilizing Nigerian women for the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
While inaugurating the committee, the PDP Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus said that it is not enough for women to demand 35 per cent affirmative action but charged them to emulate heroines like Magaret Ekpo, and Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, who were dogged fighters for good governance in the face of tyranny. He urged them to aspire for prime positions.
“Your assignment is not just to lobby for 35 per cent affirmative action. You have to play major role. I have seen countries in the Eastern block where women are prime Ministers and even Presidents and those countries are doing well. So not only are you going to seek 35 per cent all inclusive, please play a major role” he said.
Sen. Olujimi while taking up the challenge responded, “The inauguration of this committee will go a long way to give women in our party, a sense of belonging, allow for healthy networking, build confidence in the political process, ensure internal democracy, and strengthen our commitment to the ideals of justice, equity and fairness.”
PDP Youth Committee.
Following the outcome of its meeting with the Saraki led committee, its National Youth Leader Comrade SKE Udeh-Okoye constituted sub-committees that will ensure that youths are not left out in the 2023 political ecosystem.
The Blueprint sub-committee is chaired by Anthony Ehilebo while Hon. Aruwa Ismaily chairs the Project and Budgeting sub-committee. Database/ E-registration sub-committee is chaired by Uju Ugoko, while Media and Publicity is chaired by Austin Okai.
The youth wing is further planning to hold its 3rd Zonal and State Youth Leaders Conference in Abuja from today (Monday) where sensitive decisions on the 2023 winning strategies will be cemented.
PDP National Convention.
Even as the PDP chairman has made concerted efforts to rebrand, reconcile, reposition, end impunity and apologize to Nigerians for the deeds and misdeeds of the party during its 16 years in office, there are strong indications that he still has his eyes on running for a second tenure during the national convention of the party slated to hold in December.
The PDP boss has exploited every available opportunity to dish out his score cards, how the party under his watch was the only party that fielded candidates in all 1,597 positions during the 2019 election, captured 15 governorship seats, 46 Senate positions, 142 House of Representative seats as well as 392 state assembly positions, attracted the then embattled Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki into the umbrella and captured Zamfara state.
However, with the recommendation from the Senator Bala led committee, Secondus may be more emboldened to trade the Presidential ticket with the North so as to secure his second tenure.