Tuesday, January 26, 2021

We will be more strategic in 2023 — PDP

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By Dirisu Yakubu, ABUJA

As the major political parties begin skeletal preparations for the 2023 Presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has assured Nigerians that the factors which worked against it in 2019 will not be allowed to rear their heads again.

This is even as the party said it is holding stakeholders’ meetings at the ward, local, state and national levels to get things right and eliminate chances of pitfalls capable of working against its interest in 2023.

Fielding questions from exclusively, a member of the PDP National Executive Committee, NEC, said though the party fared well in the last general election, particularly the Presidential poll, “there are things we didn’t get right which we must correct in the next election cycle.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on party affairs, the PDP official stated: “We know where we are coming from and the experience is a good guide for the future. Even though we did well as a party in the last Presidential election, we as a party knew the mistakes we made. But what is important is how we respond this time,” he said.

Asked to speak on these “mistakes,” the soft-spoken politician decried what he called the failure of the 2019 Presidential aspirants on the platform of the party to work together after the ticket was won and lost.

“When more than 10 aspirants indicated an interest in the sole ticket in 2019, the party did the right thing by allowing them to go to the field to test their popularity. That is democracy. On paper, that is the best the party could do. However, we all know that only a few of those aspirants identified with the Atiku/Obi ticket. They kept sealed lips when it was necessary for them to speak up and that didn’t help us.

“I don’t want to move faster than the Governor Bala Mohammed-led committee that is reviewing the performance of our party in that election. What you cannot, however, gloss over is the fact that some governors whose names I won’t mention here failed to do the necessary mobilization in their respective states. This gave the All Progressives Congress, APC, an easy job in those states and we got punished.

“Now, I gathered, that was not entirely the fault of those governors. Some of them felt they weren’t given the liberty to champion the campaign as they deemed fit and decided to let those who branded themselves experts in electioneering matters to take centre stage. We learnt belatedly what mileage that cost us at the end,” he lamented.

He also noted that unlike 2019, the major opposition party will be more strategic in 2023 “with focus on getting the right man acceptable to Nigerians of different faith and ethnicity because President Muhammadu Buhari has so messed the country up that only a leader good enough to right the wrongs of this administration will be thrown up by the party.”

For those flying the kite on the possibility of former President Goodluck Jonathan testing the waters again, the PDP official said it’s too early to start mentioning names, even as he craved the patience of Nigerians to let the party complete its homework first.

“It is too early to start throwing up names. There are issues to be dealt with first internally but I can assure Nigerians that having seen and witnessed the shameful stewardship of President Buhari, the PDP will be well guided this time,” he added.

In a development, Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, DNPS, of the PDP has urged those bent on knowing who will fly the party’s Presidential flag in 2023 to be a little patient as “there are things to resolve first and foremost.”

According to him, “the PDP will first resolve the issue of zoning and even before then, the Bala Mohammed-led committee will have to submit its findings to the leadership of the party first. Will it zone the office or leave it open to all six geo-political zones? The party will speak on this issue at the right time.

“Nigerians should also realise that there are over a million qualified citizens who can preside over the affairs of this country at the highest level. Identifying the best from this pack is not an easy task. So, we need time but we assure Nigerians that the PDP won’t let them down.

“What we shall do is to ensure that Nigerians do no go through the hell they were forced into by the APC since President Buhari came into power. We must resolve as a people not to walk that lonely, deadly route in 2023 and beyond,” he noted.

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