19th March, 2021
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The battle for the 2023 presidency is certainly going to be explosive. This is because the All Progressives Congress, APC, has failed to provide the needed leadership to remain in power beyond that year. But the ruling party is leaving nothing to chance to ensure it consolidates on its hold to power.
But the APC should be afraid by now as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is beginning to put its house in order to capture the power it lost to the APC in 2015. Then the party was divided and fragmented, but with less than two years to go, the PDP is restrategising.
One man piloting the new move to reconcile aggrieved PDP members and reposition the party ahead 2023 presidency is the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki. Saraki was swept out of Kwara politics in 2019 as he lost election back to the Senate. PDP was demystified in Kwara and the Saraki’s stranglehold on Kwara politics was broken. But he is back.
For months, Saraki has been heading the PDP Reconciliation and Strategy Committee set up to reconcile aggrieved members for the party to be stronger to capture power in 2023. The former Senate President has been very efficient in carrying out the assignment.
He has led the committee, which included former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Ayim; former Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), and Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); as well as former House Minority Leader, Mulikat Akande, to visit lots of aggrieved PDP members.
Saraki and his committee had visited former President Goodluck Jonathan, where he was persuaded not to dump the party for the APC as was being speculated. Saraki has also met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to ask for support in the mission to recapture power.
The Saraki’s team were also with former Military Heads of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd) and General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) to solicit support for the PDP in 2023. Saraki had also met with all former governors of the PDP to strategize for the PDP.
At a stakeholder’s meeting in Abuja, Saraki told PDP members that “We need to have unity of purpose! No one can win an election on their own!”
Also, Saraki championed a meeting with all PDP governors in Abuja to ensure that elections in 2023 are tilted towards PDP.
He had said “As an opposition party, our Governors play a critical role in fostering peace and unity in our party. This is why, earlier today, the PDP Reconciliation Committee met with the PDP Governors in Abuja to discuss the work of our committee across the nation.”
The former Senate President has been going from state to state settling disputes among PDP members and reconciling the aggrieved. Saraki believed that the PDP is on the move again to snatch power from the APC.
But there are opposition to Saraki’s move. Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode is particularly pained that Saraki was the one who led a rebellion against the then President, Jonathan which led to his defeat at the poll.
Fani-Kayode said it was Saraki who led a rebellion against Jonathan in 2014 and persuaded PDP governors to defect to the APC.
Fani-Kayode had spoken when Saraki led his team to meet Jonathan to persuade him not to join the APC.
“Interesting to note that the man that led the team to GEJ’s house to appeal to him not to leave the PDP yesterday is the same man that led the rebellion against him and the defection of Governors from the same party in 2014 and cost him the 2015 presidential election. What an irony!” he had tweeted.
All across states, the voice of Saraki is heard. He is painstakingly carrying out the assignment to uproot the APC out of power in 2023, but how far can he go? This is a time where many PDP members are trooping into APC despite the misgovernance. Many bigwigs from PDP, like Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, Senator Elisha Abbo and others.
Political analysts are of the view that it will be extremely difficult for the PDP to snatch power from the APC despite Saraki’s urgent intervention.