By Alozie Alozie
RECENTLY, Turakin Adamawa and former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, made a re-entry into the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
It is widespread opinion that the former Vice President wants to contest the presidential election on the platform of the opposition party. The PDP had ruled the country for sixteen years, from 1999 to 2015 when it lost power to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Not a few people belief that having strategically zoned their presidential slot to the North, the PDP should give Atiku the needed support to emerge as their presidential candidate.
A review of the positions already occupied by various zones in the past PDP governments will suffice here as it will help in the calculations. In 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from the South West was the President; Atiku Abubakar from the North East was the Vice president while many from the South East occupied office of the senate president.
Though office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is not an elective position and should not be a major yardstick for measuring federal character and justice in party allocation of sensitive political positions, it has been used to accommodate and assuage feelings of marginalisation in some zones of the country. A critical analysis of the past political office holders shows that though the South East had embraced PDP as the dominant party of the zone, it is the most marginalized in the allocation of prominent positions in its governments in the sixteen years of its rule.
Except in the Obasanjo presidency when it occupied the position of Senate President, from Yar’Adua, Jonathan to Buhari’s Presidency now, the South East has not been part of the four foremost positions in the government of the country. This indeed has given credence to the zone’s incessant cry of marginalisation and calls for self-determination. To correct the obvious imbalances and sense of alienation in the South East which will be the panacea for the electoral success of the party in the forth coming presidential election, the south East has to be given the Vice Presidential slot with a promise to zone the president to it after eight years of Atiku presidency.
The credible and politically sound allocation of the four most important positions in the country in an Atiku presidency should be as follows: President – North East; Vice President- South East; Senate President -South West and House Speaker -North Central.
A critical factor that will support this assertion will be the consideration that in the present APC government of Buhari, the President is from North West, Vice President from South West, Senate President North Central while House Speaker is from North East.
The South East and South South, which the president believes are the strong hold of PDP were not considered at all, even the consolatory position of secretary to the government of the federation, which his supporters in the two zones had expected.
It is important to commend PDP for their novel decision to elect their National Chairman from the South South, which is now the nucleus of the party. It is the zone with the highest number of PDP states.
Atiku Abubakar could become the next president of Nigeria if he puts PDP’s house in order by not allowing it to be destroyed by extraneous forces again. The South West should accept the outcome of the last convention as it will be in the overall interest of the party and its members. A living dog is better than a dead lion. They should mend fences quickly with all zones working with the National Working Committee to woo back their kits and kin who are currently hobnobbing with strange fellows, despots and non-progressives who are deceptively wearing the garb of democrats.
Atiku should wield his managerial acumen and organisational prowess in placating the South West and galvanizing all the zones to re-establish the formidability of the party. If he sows sparingly, he will reap sparingly or not reap at all, but if he deploys his enormous economic and social network in the revitalization process of PDP, he will be the ultimate beneficiary. The time to start is now.
Adoption of the above suggested sharing formular for the office of the President, Vice President, Senate President and House Speaker will promote sense of belonging for all the zones, which will enable them to work for the success of the party in the 2019 elections and would counter and prove the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wrong on his 2019 prediction on PDP.
Mr. Alozie, ia public affairs commentator, wrote from USA.