A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Osita Chidoka, says the party needs to win back the northern states in 2023 general elections, to remain a national party.
Mr Chidoka, a former minister of Aviation, spoke when he appeared as a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Tuesday.
The PDP was the ruling party in the country and in some northern states between 1999 and 2015.
But in the 2015 presidential election, the party’s candidate and the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, was defeated by Buhari Muhammadu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, to become the country’s president.
“By 2015, we had lost (some northern states) including the middle belt, and the PDP was relegated almost to the South-east and the South-south.
“Without us winning back the north into the PDP as a party, we will not be able to remain a viable national platform. So, what is at stake today is the mechanism of doing that” the PDP chieftain said.
“What we have now in the PDP is what I called a northern strategy. Restoring PDP as a national platform that cuts across its base in the South-east and South-south and cuts across the north,” he added.
Mr Chidoka, however, said the quest to win back the northern region will not be at the detriment of losing South-east and South-south.
“So, it is that conversation that is going on within the PDP. I believe we will find a middle ground in that,” he stated.
‘Future of G5 Tied To PDP’
The former minister dismissed the disagreement between the PDP national leadership and five governors that make up the G5, led by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
He said the party would work on winning back G5 governors and argued that their future was tied to the PDP.
“We will continue to work to win Rivers State and I believe that (Nyesom) Wike understands that his future is tied to that of PDP, same as the other four governors,” he said.
Mr Chidoka expressed optimism that the PDP will “work towards every issue and ensure every contradiction between the party is resolved before the election”.
Apart from Mr Wike, other members of the G5 are Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
G5 came about after the PDP presidential primary, where Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, defeated Mr Wike and others to become the party’s presidential candidate.
The group have been demanding the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to pave the way for a southerner to lead the party in order to achieve a “regional balance”.
The governors’ argument is that both Mr Ayu and Atiku hail from northern Nigeria.
About two months ago, the governors and other party members loyal to Mr Wike, withdrew from the PDP presidential campaign committee and vowed not to take part in the campaign committee except Mr Ayu resigns.
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