Presidential race: Atiku’s bumpy road to lose millions of votes over rift with PDP G-5 governors

Quadri Yahya 

It is often said that one should put one’s house in order before leaving home. But the opposite is what we can call what the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar is doing as he goes to the February 25th poll. 

It is just a few days to the poll that will decide the fate of Atiku’s long term ambition to become Nigeria’s president. 

And while opposition parties are ensuring that all machinery is put to work, Atiku’s rift with some PDP state governors persists. 

The governors and their states are; Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue, Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).

The governors adopt the name G-5 and are led by Wike. 

The governors had formed the G-5 as a platform to protest their dissatisfaction over Iyorchia Ayu’s continued stay as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The five governors had called for Ayu’s resignation, arguing that it was wrong for the PDP to have northerners as national chairman and presidential candidate, vowing that they would adopt a presidential candidate if Ayu failed to resign from his current position.

They argued that the party’s Constitution provides that party and elective positions be zoned between the North and the South.

Atiku’s Sacrificial Lamb To Retain Votes From G-5 Governors’ States is Ayu 

The G-5 Governors had said they would adopt a candidate different from Atiku. But they are yet to do so. And they have not assured Atiku of having the vote of the PDP members in their respective states.

While Ortom has hinted at his choice of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, others have kept mum or threatened to adopt the candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

However, for the PDP candidate to emerge in the presidential poll, Atiku cannot risk losing Votes trom the five governors. And to retain their votes, Ayu is the sacrificial lamb. 

From the recent voter distribution by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Rivers state has 3.53 million eligible voters; Benue, 2.77m voters; Abia 2.12m voters; Enugu 2.11m voters and Oyo 3.27m voters for the 2023 elections.

State governors are key leaders of the party and can influence who the electorate votes for.

Wike continues to taunt Atiku, especially with the fact that Rivers State have given PDP highest votes since Nigeria’s fourth Republic. 

An analysis by Factcheck Elections shows that of all the six presidential elections conducted in this fourth republic by INEC, Rivers State has given PDP its highest votes in just 4 elections – 1999, 2003, 2011, and 2015 , adding that there was no state-by-state breakdown of candidates’ votes in the 2007 presidential election.

From the foregoing, it shows that Atiku’s rift with the G-5 Governors will potentially impact his chance at the Feb. 25th polls as millions of votes are at stake.

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