THE politics of the 2023 elections appears to account for the ongoing widening gulf within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Checks indicate that the worsening crises in the party is being driven by key political gladiators scheming to seek higher elective offices, with stiff challenge by rival political gladiators bent on controlling the structures of the two parties.
The supremacy contests involve largely serving governors and former governors; former and serving ministers, as well as presidential hopefuls. In both parties, some of the governors who are on the last phase of their eight years of two terms of four years each in office are rallying some forces and making frantic effort to forge alliances.
Some of the governors are either eyeing the presidency or hoping to be picked as vice presidential candidate of their parties.
Other gladiators in both the APC, and PDP were reportedly maneuvering to alter the existing structure perceived to be skewed against their chances in the permutations and buildup to the next general election in the country.
For instance, while some forces are determined to ease out Prince Uche Secondus as PDP chair so as to pave way for possible emergence of a southern candidate, others are said to be lending their support to the camp of the embattled chairman to ensure the North produces the standard-bearer of the party in 2023.
They believe the odd favours PDP if its candidate comes from the North because of the perceived preponderance of sentiments against the ruling APC in the country, coupled with the belief that indiscretion cost PDP the presidency in 2015, when the party settled for a southern candidate.
However, another tendency in the PDP believes that it would amount to being insensitive to the sensibilities of the South in the PDP if it concedes its presidential ticket to the North, which produced President Muhammadu Buhari who is on the last lap of his maximum two terms of four years each in the saddle. The school of thought believes that it would be against the grains of power rotating between the North and the South to guarantee stability and assuage the feeling of marginalisation among the components of the federation if the party settles for a candidate from the North.
It was discovered that the PDP seems to be burning the candle at both ends on the issue of reconciliation or what some observers described as akin to working across purposes.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who stayed abroad for a longer period after the last election, has lately stepped up reconciliation with some PDP top shots, while the one set up by Secondus under the chairmanship of a former president of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has been shuttling from state to state to heal old wounds and reposition the party.
It should also be noted that the reconciliation committee set up by the party after the election with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State as chairman submitted its report last year, recommending an open contest for PDP presidential ticket in the next election.
Meanwhile, the issue of power shift between the North and the South in 2023 has generated sizzling debate.
It underscores the sustained campaign to stop Secondus from seeking a fresh mandate as PDP chairman, even as another tendency in the party favours the position remaining in the South so as to allow the South-West produce the chairman for the first time in the history of the party.
According to some elders and other key stakeholders of the party in the region, who craved to remain anonymous, it might be a difficult sell to have a northern presidential candidate for PDP after Buhari. This line of thought has given rise to the agitation in some circles in the South-West that the PDP choose its standard-bearer from the South in 2023.
For the APC, the governors elected on its platform are reportedly not on the same page either on the battle for its presidential ticket.
Though some influential APC members, especially from the North, favour the South producing the presidential candidate, insiders hinted that a few of them were positioning themselves for the position of vice presidential candidate.
The back and forth movement by the interim leadership of the party over the conduct of APC national convention is said to be part of the game plans by powerful blocs to be in good stead for the next political dispensation.
A clique in the APC and its cahoots in top government circles are said to be behind the plot to influence the direction of affairs and torpedo the ambitions of others in rival power centers.
According to some insiders, the battle against Secondus is taking place in different fronts, as some forces from his home state, Rivers, were said to believe his reelection could deny the people of the state of a chance to seek a higher elective office in 2023.
So, a camp of one of the presidential hopeful from the North is said to be making overtures to forge an alliance with that of the embattled PDP national chairman in order to put on course his touted bid to retain his position at the next convention of the party.
Meanwhile, neither the PDP nor the APC has officially unveiled their power sharing formula in the gradual buildup to the next election.
In APC, while some of its governors are said to be favourably disposed to the bid by an APC leader, Bola Tinubu, for the presidential ticket of the party, a number of power brokers are averse to it because of fear that he might be difficult to ‘control’ him if he becomes president.
Whereas the PDP is smarting from the plots to unseat Secondus and the sudden resignations of seven national officers of the party on Tuesday, the APC is contending with the near nightmare caused by the judgment of the Supreme Court on the matter relating to the 2020 governorship poll in Ondo won by its candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
The crisis of confidence among the major stakeholders in the ruling party is exacerbated by the row trailing the conduct of APC ward congress last Saturday.
Part of the grievances of the angry PDP officials that resigned was that Secondus had sidelined many in be scheme of things. Some Board of Trustees (BoT) members and elders also alleged that he treats them with disdain and hardly showed up at key meetings with them.
According to the sources, for two days, the officials that resigned on Tuesday made moves to meet with him so as to table their grievances but he was said to have tactically avoided them.
The sources added that the rank of those that do not feel comfortable with the leadership style of Secondus included PDP elders and members of the BoT of the party. It was learnt that not too long ago, an attempt was made to pass a vote of no confidence on Secondus, but it was shot down at a meeting by some PDP elders.
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