Internal wrangling threatens PDP electoral fortunes in Abia
PDP

By Ori Martins

Indications are strong that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not come out strong in the South East in next year’s general elections based on the outcome of the just concluded parties’ primary elections.

Investigations carried out by this newspaper revealed that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Labour Part (LP) are dangerously posing a serious and fresh threat to the PDP.

After PDP’s primary elections meant to elect candidates to represent it in all levels of the 2023 general elections, most of the aspirants who lost the parties’ nominations felt disenchanted and in the process embraced either APGA or LP in order to realize their respective political ambitions.

In some instances, leading aspirants who felt the leadership of the party would not look towards their direction left PDP long before the primary elections were conducted. Taken together, the mass exodus that has hit PDP in the South East in the last three months has been highly groundswell in mode and earthshaking in application.

Abia State

The proprietor of Gregory University, Uturu, Prof. Greg Ibe was among the first set of politicians to wave an eternal goodbye to the umbrella party. Ibe who has been making his intention to be elected Abia governor known for more than 12 years now was the early aspirants that called it quits with PDP.

He left the party shortly after Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and PDP leaders in the state made it clear that power would shift to Abia Central rather than Abia North as previously speculated. Without wasting any time, Ibe pitched his tenth with APGA and it was reported that almost about 100 thousands members of PDP in Abia State followed him to APGA.

“I think Abia PDP recorded a huge minus on the day it allowed Greg Ibe to leave for APGA. In the first place, taking PDP’s ticket to Abia Central rather than Abia North was a gross miscalculation.

“Of course, Ibe who hails from Abia North understood that he was one of the targets of the PDP ill zoning arrangement, therefore he moved to APGA where he is now the governorship candidate.

“The interpretation here is that the PDP will certainly not garner the strength it was known for in the previous elections for a part of the reason that Ibe had pulled his loyalists and supporters to APGA”, said Nnana Igwegbulam, an Umuahia based public analyst.

Ibe has pledged to make Abia great if he emerges the next governor of the state.
As it is, leading middle class and grassroots PDP members in Abia State were not very pleased with the sudden departure of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe from the party.

The grouse of those members against their party stemmed from the fact PDP leaders ought to have maintained absolute neutrality going in for the primary elections, particularly the governorship.

Those who toe this line of argument hinge their claims on the fact that had Abaribe lost the PDP governorship election he would not have left the party. And if he had won it would have benefitted the party more.

However, Abaribe and all the PDP governorship aspirants from Abia South suffered exclusion as the party took its governorship ticket to Abia Central. Expectedly, Abaribe decided to go back to the senate even as he dumped PDP for APGA to join forces with Ibe.

“We are very much aware that Abaribe is the most popular politician in Abia State, right now. He is close to the grassroots, close to the market women and he interacts with both the low and high in the society.

“If you ask me, the PDP made a fundamental mistake by not negotiating with Abaribe. His exit will no doubt do a great harm to PDP in the 2023 general elections”, a PDP chief who didn’t want his name in print stated.

If the exit of Ibe and Abaribe is quaking PDP’s stand in Abia State, then that of Dr. Alex Otti could be described as a tsunami. Otti almost caused a political sensation when he nearly emerged as the elected governor of God’s Own State in 2015 on the platform of APGA.

The erstwhile Diamond Bank managing director turned politician ultimately had a brief stint in APC before eventually finding a home in LP. As a matter of fact, the movement of Dr. Peter Obi to LP has ostensibly elevated the party’s chances in general and Otti’s appeal for the governorship election in particular in the state.
With Otti’s move to LP, few other politicians with capacity, courage and panache equally moved en masse out of the PDP.

One of such person’s is Hon. Ginger Onwusibe from Isiala Ngwa North. He lost the PDP nomination ticket for Isiala Ngwa North and South to the immediate past Abia State chief of staff, Prof. ACB Agbazuere.

He has identified with Otti in the Labour Party and both men have been working assiduously for victory.

“The fact remains that the entrance of Otti, Onwusibe and now Obi at the national level into LP has rally strengthened the party in Abia State.

“The grand loser in it all is the PDP because most of those moving over to both APGA and LP are virtually PDP members”, Uka Ndubuisi, a politician based in Aba, noted.

Ebonyi State

There are two PDP governorship candidates in Ebonyi State. In the primary nomination conducted on May 28 and 29, 2022 which was supervised by INEC, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii was declared winner. When it appeared the coast was clear, the unexpected happened.
The PDP announced a fresh date for another governorship primary election, which was held on June 4 and 5, 2022. The winner of the June election was Senator Obinna Ogba, who was instantly recognized by PDP and issued the Certificate of Return. This has sparked off both commendation as well as condemnation from party members in the state.

According to an enraged PDP member, Aku Obani, ”If PDP does not want us again, the leadership of the party should quickly inform us so that we leave the party for it.

“How can we conduct a governorship primary election, following all the laid down guidelines and at the end of the day the party did otherwise? For instance, we used the result of the three man ad hoc delegate list which was based on outcome of the PDP Congress conducted on May 7, 2022.

“The list was recognized as well as approved by both the National Working Committee as well as the all relevant agencies. The primary nomination itself was free and fair even as it followed and observed known regulations and guidelines . Yet, that election was annulled by PDP.”

Indeed, things came to a head when the national publicity secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagbo issued a release that cancelled the first primary election on the grounds that the panel which conducted it was not properly constituted. Since then, it has been confusion all the way in Ebonyi PDP.

Following the turn of event, which was against him, Odii approached a high court in Abakiliki which gave him judgement but PDP national leadership ignored the order and went ahead to recognize Ogba by issuing him a Certificate of Return.

Right now there is crisis in Ebonyi PDP and concerned members are afraid that this may lead to a failure in the 2023 general elections as the two men who ought to have been working for the victory of the party are disunited.

Imo State

Almost all the aspirants that lost in their respective parties’ nomination primaries headed for LP in Imo State. In a way, the biggest casualty seemed to be Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi who is the serving member representing Imo East (Owerri Zone) in the red chamber. He was defeated in the PDP primary election.

Unable to stomach it, Onyewuchi who comes from Owerri North LGA switched over to LP. The interpretation here is that Imo has no PDP serving senator. It equally goes to say that the LP will be stronger than both PDP and APC in struggle for the soul of Owerri zone on the grounds that the former has a sitting senator while the latter has none.

Onyewuchii was lured to LP in view of the current Peter Obi Movement, which is sweeping across the South East region.

In Okigwe zone, Austin Nwachukwu who aspired to stage a return to the Federal House of Representatives on the PDP ticket but failed also ran to the LP to pick a ticket. Nwachukwu moved from PDP to APC back to PDP and now LP.

The same issue is also present in Orlu zone where the Imo State boss of the NUJ, Comrade Precious Nwadike who also lost out in the PDP primary election for Orlu State Constituency quickly cornered to emerge as the LP candidate.

Certainly, it appears APGA and LP may pull a shocking win over PDP and APC in the South East in 2023.

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