Even the governor according to one of his close aides is not sure of voting the party. Governor Martins Elechi the aide told some newsmen has already directed his supporters to move over to Labour Party where many of the governor’s associates are hoping to actualise their electoral hopes in 2015.
Such threats to the once impregnable fotress of the PDP in some of its strongholds are raising concern across the polity. In Akwa Ibom, Abia, Rivers, Oyo, Ogun among others, the PDP is driven in crisis that even as at yesterday a definitive mention of the party’s flag bearers in some of the states could not be made. Where the party establishment has thrown up names as in Akwa Ibom and Abia the choices thrown up are strongly being rejected by significant stakeholders that entering into the election in the present condition could imperil the party’s chances in the forthcoming election.
22 of the 23 governorship aspirants of the party in Akwa Ibom who have jointly taken a position against what they allege as the crooked procedure that led to the emergence of Mr. Udom Emmanuel as the party candidate have now threatened to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC. A last minute meeting with Governor Godswill Akpabio last weekend did not yield fruit as the aspirants stuck to their demand for the substitution of Emmanuel, who in any case emerged from the zone as stipulated by the party.
The aspirants it was learned are now contemplating honouring a meeting with the APC presidential flag bearer with the prospect of a mass defection to the party and adoption of Buhari as the sole presidential candidate of the people of the state.
In Abia a number of the governorship aspirants and party stakeholders are still up in battle against the adoption of the erstwhile deputy general manager of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as the candidate. Ikpeazu is largely believed to be the choice of the outgoing governor, Chief Theodore Orji and a number of stakeholders are questioning his adoption given what they claim was his emergence from an agency that failed to clean up Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state.
While a newspaper report that he was pelted with sachet water in Aba last weekend was disconcerting to some, a petition addressed to the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mu‘azu has also raised as yet unsubstantiated allegations bordering on inconsistencies in tax payments.
The Abia stakeholders thus called on the party chairman to save the party the prospect of losing the election through the courts on the fear that the candidate could have challenges if presented.
The situation in Ogun State remains confusing as the national working committee of the party has taken position against the efforts of the state chapter in organising a primary that was not sanctioned by the former. In the primary organised by the state chapter, Gboyega Isiaka, a one time ally of the former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel now allied to Kashamu Buruji has emerged. However, the immediate past speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole is also staking his claim to the ticket and is reportedly being backed by powerful figures in the national secretariat.
“We don’t know who is the candidate for the PDP in Ogun State for now and we are all waiting for December 26 to get our bearing,” a stakeholder from the state said yesterday. The scenario in the state is set to re-enact the infighting that triggered the party’s loss to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in 2011.
In Cross River State it is also being feared that the party’s identity as a one party state may for the first time since after the advent of the Fourth Republic be smeared given the rancour that characterised the governorship primaries. Jeddy Agba, a former senior official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC was on course to claim the party’s governorship primaries after the ward congresses when a last minute intervention of the party directed fresh congresses that were won by those aligned by the outgoing governor, Senator Liyel Imoke.
For now those who lost out have not been as vehement as those in neighbouring Akwa Ibom and Abia, but the fear of a last minute resurgence of ill-feeling is not being ruled out.
In Rivers State 16 of the 17 governorship aspirants boycotted the primaries leaving immediate past minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike as the sole aspirant in the contest.
The 16 who alleged that the primary was stage managed by the party to favour Wike are threatening to vote against the party in the elections.
One of the more formidable aspirants, Tonye Princewill who has moved over to Labour Party, has predicted dire outing for the PDP in the election with Wike as candidate.
“Looking at PDP. I decided not to support Nyesom Wike simply because by my opinion he cannot win. It is just pointless to me that if Wike loses and APC wins, we are sitting there and watching it happen,” Princewill told a national newspaper in remarks published this week.
It was perhaps in response to the fissures that President Goodluck Jonathan last weekend appealed to party members not to flee the party as he assured that efforts would be made to address their complaints.
But with the deadline for submission of names to the election authorities this weekend, no one is banking on that.