2023: Mass exodus threatens PDP in S/east
PDP

By Uche Chris

With the running mate to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of PDP, known, the question of the Southeast on the ballot of the major political parties, either as president or vice, has narrowed to only Mr. Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour party.

For the South East, this is a potential landmine and a prospect that portends serious consequences if not pragmatically and strategically handled. Politics is about interest and only those who recognize this fact remain relevant in the scheme of things.

Already, emotions are running high, and moral indignation strong among people of the region toward the two main parties, but particularly, the PDP, for its betrayal; however, we must avoid vengeance and being consumed by a destructive anger.

Ndigbo have not only laboured for the PDP, but have suffered more than any other region in the past eight years on account of its loyalty to the party. It would be sheer ignorance of political interest to abandon the party, and sacrifice all its efforts on emotional ego trip.

Arguably, Obi is the best candidate, but in politics the best candidate, more often than not, doesn’t always win. As they say, democracy and politics are games of numbers, strategic positioning and interest balancing to guaranteed the most favourable outcome.

Who would ever imagine in today’s Nigeria that a Muslim/Muslim ticket could be contemplated given all the religious sensitivities and fear of religious domination. But here we are with one in our hands because the APC recognized the challenge of a Tinubu candidacy, and believes it is their only fighting chance for success.

Without appreciating the importance of interest and taking steps to advance it, you will always lose out not only in politics but also in life. The Igbo are often been accused of being naive politically, too opinionated and wear their offence on their sleeves, which has been their bane in accessing power in the country.
This was the reason they went to war without a strategic appraisal of the situation and its consequences. It is the same situation that left them outside the mainstream for so long; and stuck with PDP, and NPP before it, when others were seeking new alliances.

Mr. Obi is their son, and the preferred candidate by many Nigerians, especially the youth generation and professional groups, but the question is: Can he generate the critical voting mass to topple and dislodge the two behemoths that hold the country hostage?

This is the question the Igbo must answer before deciding where to cast their vote. The coming polls is so important that we must not miss the opportunity to make a wise and informed choice to reshape the future and set the country on a path to sustainable development, which it has been denied these eight years.

Yes, we have a genuine grievance to reject PDP; yes, we deserve to aspire to the top job without being condenscendingly and shabbily treated by others as inferior stakeholders; and yes, Obi has as much chance of making it as any other candidates.

However, Obi will do the Igbo more harm than good, for the simple reason that he may lose against the Big Two, not on account of suitability or even popularity, but unfortunately due to our prebendal politics.

APC’s victory will most likely perpetuate the exclusivist policy of President Buhari on the Igbo, because of the vindictive attitude of the alliance that is primarily between the North West and South west, which was reinforced at the primary. Bola Tinubu, it’s presidential candidate, did not visit the zone for campaign before the primary.

The Igbo must not leave their fate or interest in the hands of other people who may have a different and opposite interests to theirs. They usually do. They should be proactive by taking their destiny in their own hands, by positioning the region for the best advantage they can possibly negotiate.

A vote by the region for Obi will strategically be a vote against the PDP, because the region is one of the strongest blocs of the party, and the ultimate beneficiary will be APC. It is normal and even expected that Ndigbo should be enthusiastic to vote for their son, but they must also be guided by the consequence if he fails to win, which is more possible than otherwise.
The fact is that he started late and the platform is weak. We can speak all the fine grammar and reel compelling statistics, but the brutal reality is that it will take a revolution for the party to win; and no such revolution can happen in this election.

APC already has two handicaps in the north, namely Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso, who will split their votes. The decisive votes will be in North Central, South south and Southeast. In this context, PDP stands better chance of victory.

However, with Southeast vote for Labour and Obi, the margin will narrow precipitously, making it any party’s game and creating the possibility of a run off. Ndigbo cannot take such gamble because they will be the worst losers.

Surprisingly, high ranking senator, Ike Ekweremadu, shares this sentiment, insisting that Ndigbo may be throwing away their precious votes by abandoning PDP they had supported since 1999, for a risky romance with Labour Party.

However, we should add the caveat: LP stands a good chance if the merger talks with other parties, especially, the NNPP, led by Kwankwaso, materializes. This is the scenario that presents them a fighting chance.
But given what politics means to most Nigerians, there is very little hope that it will work. Without foreclosing such possibility, Ndigbo should not, as often the case, put all their eggs in one basket. They should not vote LP and Obi regardless, primarily on emotional consideration; but must keep their options open if LP does not provide a secure possibility.

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