There is palpable tension in the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) as crises arising from nomination of candidates has put the party on edge.
It was gathered at that the weekend no fewer than 11 state chapters were enmeshed in crises over nomination of candidates and tussle for party structure ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The affected states include Edo, Ebonyi, Kano, Delta, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ekiti, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Lagos. In Ebonyi, Kano, and Edo states, where PDP factions held parallel primaries.
Similarly, in Delta State, the issue of who is the authentic governorship candidate is also a subject of litigation before the Court of Appeal. The controversy over the nomination of candidates in the Abia, Anambra and Akwa Ibom states chapters of the PDP has led to the exit of many members.
In Enugu State, there have been an uneasy calm where the camp of the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, rooted out supporters of former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu.
In a related development, PDP leaders in Lagos, Imo and Ekiti are locked in a supremacy battle.
It was gathered that in Ebonyi State, the PDP is torn between Senator Obinna Ogba and Ifeanyi Odii, who are both laying claims to the gubernatorial ticket while in Kano, son of the former head of State, Sani Abacha, Mohammed, is at dagger drawn with the son of former minister, Aminu Wali, over who is the authentic governorship.
In the case of Edo, the party is torn between supporters of Governor Godwin Obaseki and the PDP National Vice Chairman (South South), Dan Orbih. Also, in Delta, speaker of the State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori and a presidential aide, David Edevbie are squabbling over the governorship ticket.
It was gathered that while the speaker enjoys the support of Okowa, who is also the PDP vice presidential candidate, Edevbie is being backed by former governor, James Ibori.
Multiple sources said PDP stakeholders in the affected states as well as at the party national secretariat, in Abuja, were apprehensive that the crises may jeopardise the chances of the opposition party.
A member of the PDP in one of the South East states stated that party leaders in the zone were afraid that the nomination crisis if not resolved might affect the fortunes of the opposition party in the 2023 polls.
“Party leaders are appealing that those aggrieved should soft pedal in the interest of the party. They are all apprehensive. Party leaders in the South East are very very apprehensive. That is PDP leaders. It is very obvious. The fear is that is there is no unity, they will not be able to win the election in the South East.”
Similarly, a PDP leader and former presiding officer in one of the state houses of Assembly, confirmed that the nomination crisis is threatening the chances of the PDP.
“That is just the truth. If there is no settlement PDP will surrender some of the states to APC and Labour Party. And some of us are not happy about it.”
When contacted, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said differences cannot be ruled out in any political setting. Nevertheless, he stated that the party has put in place a robust conflict resolution mechanism. He expressed optimism that all the issues would be resolved before the 2023 general elections.
“First of all, politics is about conflicting interests. So, differences cannot be ruled our in party politics. We recognise that. But what is more important in all these is that we have within our processes a robust difference resolution mechanism. And it is working. Yes, there will be disputations like you said. Two, they will be concern expressed by stakeholders who are interested in our party. But the good news is the fact that number one, we have followed our rules.
“People have the right to ventilate their concerns either in court or using the processes of the party. Even at that, the process that we have set in motion is ongoing and it is working well. We are hopeful that many of them will result in the withdrawal of those cases and reconciliation of differences. Ultimately, we will bridge the gap. We are hopeful that before the election, all the parties will come together. Every stakeholder is conscious that this is not about self. It about the party and more importantly about the country,” he stated.