Count down to 2023 election ticks as APC, PDP return to the drawing boards

With barely 700 days to the next general election in 2023, Correspondent, MYKE UZENDU, in this report looks at the strategies politicians the political parties have triggered to outsmart each other and produce the next Chief Executive at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

As the race for the 2023 general elections may have taken a subtle start, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have intensified efforts to position themselves well and ready to face each others political missiles in he quest to wrest power both at the national and state levels

The APC has in the past three months, 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 AkpanUdoedehe, 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”.

Contact and Strategy, Constitution Review Committees

For the APC, this 61 man Contact and Strategy Committee, which is chaired by Jigawa state Governor, Abubakar Badaru could be the party’s joker for the 2023 elections as it is saddled with the big task of launching the party into its full contest for the offices

This committee came after the party had already inaugurated its 8 member Constitution Review Committee, headed by Professor Tahir Mamman

Inaugurating the Contact and Strategy committee recently in Abuja, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state boasted that his Committee was committed toward laying a solid foundation that would keep the ruling party in office for 32 more years 

Buni noted that some of the steps taken to actualize the target included the ongoing party registration and revalidation exercise,  as well as the recently inaugurated Constitution review Committee 

He noted that the committee was the party’s collective drive to recover, rebuild and reposition it for the benefit of all members 

“As l said earlier, if you don’t manage your crisis, your crisis will manage you. I am happy to say that the committee is running an all inclusive administration, giving all stakeholders and indeed our members the opportunity to contribute in the onerous task of rebuilding the party. The Caretaker/Extraordinary committee has continuously engaged our members to serve in various committees thereby supporting us to effectively manage the crisises within the party.”

“This has translated into massive return of stakeholders and their supporters who had earlier jettisoned the party. On the other hand, our efforts in wooing members of other political parties into APC, has recorded remarkable and unprecedented successes.

“Similarly, the review of the party’s constitution would take care of ambiguous positions and loopholes that have caused confusion and controversies over the years. 

“This will make our party dynamic and to be in tune with changing times.

“Our vision is to provide a wheel that will drive the party to go beyond 6th, 7th and even 8th term of office to effectively implement the party manifesto, improve the lives of Nigerians and, to remain Nigeria’s leading political party.

“This committee is therefore very key to our process of transition towards successful congresses and national convention and, to establish a very solid, reputable and reliable future for the party.

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.

This 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 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.

For the APC, despite the committees and registration of new members, the in-house squabble has failed to cease as there remains much aggrieved members following the inability of the Mai mala Buni led Caretaker Committee to come plain with a timetable for the much awaited elective congress, which has suffered postponements amidst tenure elongation plots

Also like the opposition PDP, confronting the ruling party (APC), will be the zoning of its 2023 presidential candidate, which analysts see as a time bomb that is waiting to explode if not properly handled

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