Atiku, Wike In Fierce Battle for the Sole of PDP Ahead of 98th NEC Meeting

According to recent reports from NewsOnline Nigeria, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is experiencing a heightened power struggle between Atiku Abubakar, the party’s 2023 presidential candidate, and Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. This battle for control over the party’s structures has intensified in anticipation of the upcoming 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, scheduled for April 18.

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Various sectors and organs of the PDP have been calling for urgent action from the Umar Damagum-led National Working Committee (NWC) in response to alleged anti-party activities during the 2023 election. As a result, there is a growing demand for the NEC meeting to address these concerns and potentially impose sanctions on involved members.

The approaching NEC meeting has reignited the rivalry between Atiku and Wike, as both factions aim to consolidate their influence within the party. The source of contention stems from Atiku’s decision to overlook Wike for the vice-presidential slot after the primary elections, leading to a bitter divide within the PDP. In retaliation, Wike endorsed the All Progressives Congress candidate, Bola Tinubu, during the election, further deepening the internal rift.

The upcoming NEC meeting has become a battleground for both factions, with intense lobbying for their respective candidates, particularly from the North Central geopolitical zone, to replace the former National Chairman, Ayu.

Insider sources within the PDP indicate that the fight for control has escalated, with both the Atiku and Wike factions pushing for their candidates to be announced as the new National Chairman. Atiku’s camp has mobilized various independent groups affiliated with the party to write to the NWC, accusing Wike, Samuel Ortom (former Governor of Benue State), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (former Enugu Governor), Okezie Ikpeazu (former Abia Governor), and other G-5 group party leaders of engaging in anti-party activities during the 2023 election.

However, due to Ayu’s pending court case, the announcement of his replacement may be delayed. Despite divisions among PDP governors, caution is being exercised. Additionally, stakeholders from the North Central region are rallying around potential replacements, including Abubakar Bukola Saraki (former Senate President), Gabriel Suswam (former Benue State Governor), and Babangida Aliyu (former Niger State Governor). The extent of camp support for these candidates remains unclear at this time due to ongoing consultations, the pending court case, and other factors.

It is worth noting that several state chapters and independent groups affiliated with the PDP have submitted names of party chieftains allegedly involved in anti-party activities during the 2023 election.

The 98th NEC meeting, scheduled for April 18, will address various agenda items, including discussions on the National Chairman, constitutional amendment, the 2023 review committee, state congresses, and other matters. The replacement of Ayu from the North Central region would be in line with the party’s constitution, but the ongoing court case has complicated the process. If Ayu withdraws the case and resigns, the North Central caucus can proceed to nominate his replacement.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, has refrained from speculating on the meeting’s details and assured that the agenda will be unveiled at the appropriate time.

In summary, the PDP is currently grappling with a power struggle between Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike as the 98th NEC meeting approaches. The meeting holds significance for both factions, who are vying to solidify their influence within the party and secure the position of National Chairman. The outcome of the meeting and the resolution of internal conflicts will shape the future direction of the PDP.

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