Atiku returns to Nigeria ahead crucial PDP NEC meeting

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has returned to Nigeria in preparation for the highly anticipated National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). After spending weeks abroad, Atiku arrived in the early hours of Tuesday.

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The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, led by Ambassador Illiya Damagum, was under pressure to schedule the NEC meeting for April 18, following a year-long delay in holding the meeting.

According to the party’s constitution, the NEC is the second most influential decision-making body after the national convention and is expected to convene every quarter.

Sources indicate that the upcoming NEC meeting carries significant weight for the party. Atiku, considered the de facto leader of the PDP due to his role as the presidential candidate in the last elections, is expected to lead other meetings leading up to the NEC gathering.

Meanwhile, there have been increasing concerns about the party’s poor management and allegations that it is being influenced by external forces, as stated by former Benue State governor Senator Gabriel Suswam.

Additionally, the North Central zone has called for Damagum to step down from his acting national chairmanship position and allow a substantive national chairman from the region to emerge. The party had originally zoned the position to the North Central region in 2021, and former Senate President Senator Iyorchia Ayu from Benue State was elected national chairman at the party’s last convention. However, Damagum, the deputy national chairman from Yobe State in the North East, assumed the role of acting national chairman following a court order that removed Ayu from office in 2023.

It is worth noting that some governors and party leaders openly opposed Atiku as the PDP’s presidential candidate in 2023 and recently reaffirmed their support for President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The NEC meeting holds significant importance for the PDP as the party grapples with internal challenges and strives to assert its direction and unity moving forward.

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