Governor Nyesom Wike of Cross River State.
•Thoughts of power retention in the north seeping into APC
By Emmanuel Aziken
The quest for ascendancy in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP ahead of the 2023 presidential election primary was yesterday descending into war after supporters of two of the leading presidential contenders, Atiku Abubakar and Governor Nyesom Wike were engaged in a verbal war.
Meanwhile, with the PDP in deep anxiety over the resolution of the zoning debate, it has emerged that a similar debate was quietly seeping into the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC with northern party chiefs and monarchs drumming another four years for the North.
Saturday Vanguard reports that the PDP is presently tensed over the report of its 37 man committee on the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket.
In the midst of that tension, Senator Dino Melaye who is an ally of two of the leading northern presidential aspirants, Atiku and former Senate President Bukola Saraki came out yesterday to denounce Southern presidential aspirants, Mr Ayo Fayose.
Though a presidential aspirant in his own right, political pundits see Fayose as an ally of the major Southern presidential aspirant, Wike.
Saturday Vanguard reports that Fayose who collected his form earlier this week had following that, denounced the pair of Atiku and Saraki for contributing energetically to the emergence of the Muhammadu Buhari led government.
He had also on a television programme on Channels flayed the duo of Atiku and Saraki for destroying the PDP in 2015 and now returning to seek the party’s mandate.
He had said: “Let me take for example our respectable leader, His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, he won in Adamawa with less than 20,000 votes [in 2019].”
“Go to Sokoto, what’s the voting difference? Let us go to Bukola Saraki in Kwara, we actually lost there. Let us sit back and look at figures.
“This amalgamation of people trying to…at the end of the day it backfired. Jonathan, despite his flaws, we had supported him and some of our leaders didn’t go to APC …if some of them had become Presidents in Abuja would they come back? Will Atiku come back? Would Bukola Saraki have come back?
“When the journey was rough and bad, they ran back. Today, because our party is a party that tries to bring people together, we must not forget history.
“Today, I’m glad they are challenging people jumping from one party to the other, those are the ideologies that are missing,” he added.
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Countering Fayose on Friday, Melaye said:
“Inebriated by several wraps of Amala in Abuja, former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, in his characteristic exuberance, directed indecent and indecorous attacks at two serious contenders for the presidential ticket of the PDP, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar and His Excellency Bukola Saraki.
“Incidentally, the mauling of Amala gained more publicity over the collection of the presidential nomination form, in a pretentious exhibition of dining with the masses.
“The issue before Nigerians now is not who can eat more, but who can produce food. That is why their attempt to tar the outstanding achievements of Atiku Abubakar as former Vice President and Bukola Saraki as former Senate President Fayose would be discounted as the belching perfidy of a presidential gambler.
“It is clear from the verbal missiles deployed by Fayose that he was simply de-marketing frontline aspirants in PDP as a counter-intuitive strategy to shore up the chances of his political godfather in APC.
“It is amazing that Fayose who could not manage and retain a PDP state now aspires to lead a behemoth structure like Nigeria. Today, Ekiti is stripped of all vestiges of PDP; no PDP Senator, no PDP House of Representatives member, no House of Assembly member, no Local Government Chairman, and not even a Councillor. He left Ekiti State worse than he met it. How could he fail in the state and expect promotion to the national?
“The contest for the ticket of PDP and the Presidency of Nigeria is a serious engagement. Those who aspire to the position must elevate themselves above pedestrian conduct and address real issues, rather than dwelling on inconsequential inanities.
“The national leadership of our great party should call Fayose to order, by curtailing his unproductive verbiage against serious contenders. Having failed to upgrade from local political space to the national stage, Fayose may indeed be assisted to undertake a week-long orientation session on the ethics and codes of peer relations on a presidential canvass.
“Nigeria is in dire straits at the moment. It is beyond the call of jesters in the corridors of elevated governance.”
Replying to Melaye, Fayose denounced him as a political Hushpuppi who would take three different positions on the same night.
He, however, vowed to restrain himself pending when those he said Melaye was representing would enter the fray.
Fayose speaking through his spokesman, Lere Olayinka said: “If the man he is deceiving with his fake support speaks, we will respond accordingly.”
“As for Fayose, Nigeria and its people must be rescued from this APC Calamity that that political jester of Kogi teamed up with others to enthrone.”
“That is a project to which he (Fayose) is totally committed, not rantings of a jester in the palace of politics.”
Concerned PDP stakeholders are, however, expected to cause a breather today at the wedding of the daughter of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State. The wedding taking place in Abuja, according to sources is expected to draw several leading political lights from the party possibly including all the declared presidential aspirants.
However, that tension generated by the hot debate over zoning in the PDP is also seeping into the APC with northern party chieftains and monarchs said to be buying into the argument.
Saturday Vanguard reports that journalism teacher turned politician, Dr Pedro Obaseki had made a number of television documentaries running on AIT where he canvassed among others that 14 of the 16 years that the PDP held the presidency were through southern presidents. He argued in his documentaries that with Buhari, the North would have held power for 11 years, less than the 14 years that southern presidents have held the office.
Sources disclosed that the argument was beginning to fuel the argument for the APC to also zone the presidency to the North.
“That is the argument that is going on right now among Northern political chieftains and monarchs. They are circulating the Pedro Obaseki documentary and seeing how they can buy into it,” a prominent supporter of Atiku told Saturday Vanguard.
However, a member of the APC National Executive Committee, NEC was dismissive of that suggestion saying in an off the record comment that the APC had already decided on going South.
Saturday Vanguard reports that the colour of what could emerge from the South could emerge today at a politically coloured reception of one of the more prominent Southern hopefuls, Rotimi Amaechi in Port-Harcourt.
The reception for Amaechi, the minister of transportation, couched as a thanksgiving service by the APC at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, is expected to be shadowed with calls on him to formally cast his hat into the ring.