A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka has faulted the permutation of the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, on parties controlling Kano, Lagos and Rivers states.
Chidoka, an ally of PDP flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar described Kwankwaso’s analysis as “not mathematically correct” hours after the NNPP candidate said any party that can’t control the three states should forget about winning the 2023 presidential election.
While he acknowledged that the three states deliver millions of votes during elections, Chidoka said no party has won the three states in the history of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic.
“It is the party that wins across all segments that wins the election and no party has won the three states at the same time – most times, two out of three. In 2019, APC won Kano and Lagos was marginal – it was 45% to 55% split between PDP and APC. PDP won Rivers,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.
The PDP stalwart said his party has won at least three presidential elections since 1999 despite losing Kano.
“As there is Kano, there is Katsina. As there is Lagos, there is Delta, there is Akwa Ibom, there is Jigawa, a state that doesn’t have high numbers but high voter turnout if you look at historical data,” he noted.
Kano had over 1.8 million cumulative votes – the highest by any state in the 2019 presidential election – while Lagos had over one million total votes and Rivers about 600,000 total votes. Kano and Lagos are currently controlled by the APC whilst PDP is the party in power in Rivers.
However, there are fears that the intra-party squabbles between Governor Nyesom Wike and Atiku over the chairmanship of Iyorchia Ayu would affect the chances of the PDP presidential candidate at the polls next February.
‘PDP Can’t Remain A Viable Party Without Winning The North’
Chidoka further explained that PDP can’t remain a viable party without winning the bulk of votes in northern Nigeria as it did to govern Nigeria from 1999 to 2015 before it lost to Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“What we have in the PDP now is what I call a ‘Northern Strategy’; restoring PDP as a national platform that cuts across its base in the South-East, South-South and take it to the north again.
“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,” he said.
The PDP chieftain, however, said his party’s strategy of winning back the north won’t be at the expense of losing its base in Southern Nigeria.
With Nigeria’s return to democracy after years of military rule, PDP produced then Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 to 2007), Umaru Yar’Adua (2007 to 2010), and Goodluck Jonathan (2010 to 2015).
The party has since jostled to return to Aso Rock for the top job in 2023 having failed in 2015 and 2019. PDP faces a major challenge in the next presidential election as it produced Adamawa-born Atiku to succeed Katsina-born Buhari — both from northern Nigeria, a development faulted by proponents of zoning.
‘Future Of G5 Tied To PDP’
On the crisis rocking the PDP, Chidoka said his party will continue to work on winning Rivers and will work on winning back five aggrieved governors of the party known as the G5 or the Integrity Group because their future is tied to the PDP.
“We will continue to work to win Rivers State and I believe that Governor Wike understands that his future is tied to that of PDP, same as the other four governors,” he stated.
The former minister said the PDP will “work towards every issue and ensure every contradiction between the party is resolved before the election and I am very hopeful about that”.