The 2023 presidential election saw the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Labour Party finishing as first and second runner-up respectively according to the election results as announced by the election umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. PDP pulled 6,984,520 votes, while LP got 6,101,533 votes; APC had 8,794,726 votes to emerge the winner.
Now that the 2023 presidential election has come and gone, one area of concern as we look forward to the next general elections come 2027 is the leadership crisis that is blowing hard on the opposition parties.
Before the election, PDP was hit with perennial leadership crisis which degenerated into various factional groups, among which was the popular G5 Governors (Integrity Group), led by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.
The contention was about having both the Party’s presidential candidate and the National chairman from the North. A situation which did not go down well with Gov Wike and others, insisting that the party chairman must come from the South.
There is no doubt that the crisis hugely affected the performance of PDP in the polls. If the G5 Governors and other seemingly unrecognised factions had voted for Atiku, his chances of winning the 2023 presidential election would have been increased.
Even after the election, PDP’s woes continued as its National chairman, Ayorchia Ayu was suspended by the ward executive of the party in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue state for anti-party activities. He was later restrained by a High Court from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party. Truth be told, Ayu’s sack was masterminded by some aggrieved members of the party for some reasons.
Well, I’m not trying to point accusing fingers at anybody, but the point remains that there are lots of aggrieved members who while attempting to express their grievances may have intentionally or unintentionally wreaked havoc on the party.
For the Labour Party, it was a victory for Peter Obi even though he didn’t actually win at the poll going by the results that was released by INEC. Some Nigerians (Obidients Movement) are of the view that the election was marred with electoral irregularities and manipulations, while others (APC supporters spearheaded by party loyalists whom I call ‘ The F’s Men’, Femi Fani-Kayode and Festus Keyamo) are saying 2023 presidential election was credible, free and fair.
But the greatest undoing of the Labour Party is the leadership crisis that’s rocking the party which saw their National chairman, comrade Julius Abure, being restrained by a high court from parading himself as the party chairman.
He was restrained alongside three other officials of the party, the National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim; the National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara; and the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu, over alleged forgery.
As I write, an acting National chairman in the person of Alhaji Lamidi Apapa has been installed. Whether we like it or not, some members of the party do not recognise Apapa as the party’s chairman. On the other hand, Apapa and his supporters may be happy with the turn of events. Like the saying, ‘if one man’s own doesn’t spoil, another man’s own won’t be good.’
But one thing that got me thinking is, why would the Labour Party’s members be concerned about who holds positions at this time when they have a very big task in their hands? Even if there are grievances, they should be kept aside for now…at least until their petition challenging the victory of Tinubu is determined at the Tribunal.
Now, with this unending crisis in the opposition parties: yes I called it unending crisis because I’m pretty sure it will continue unabated due to personal and selfish interest. The question is what will become of the Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party in the next four years when elections are held again. Will they be strong enough to give APC a run for their money amidst crisis?
The answer is NO! Except otherwise!
Listen, no party wins power amidst crisis. History tells us that! PDP lost Edo State to Oshiomole in 2008 at the Tribunal, not because the court was credible, but because of the crisis at the state level. Oshiomole also lost it to his political son, governor Godwin Obaseki amidst crisis.
Therefore, for a party like APC that may have been in power for 12 years by the end of 2027 to be defeated at the polls, a united opposition party is needed.
The fact remains that Peter Obi as a person is loved by many Nigerians especially the youths for his credibility and care for the wellbeing of the ordinary Nigerian. But for Obi to actualize his ambition, he needs to couple his credibility with a strong and unified political party.
Having said that, you can see why by political calculations and events that have been unfolding, one can envisage that the ruling All Progressives Congress, may hold on to power for the next two decades.
To me, APC’s victory as the presidential election is not mainly because of their formidability. Though the victory is being contested at the presidential election petition tribunal. As we await the determination of the tribunal, one thing is standing out for the party – Unity and a common cause. Inspite of the drug trafficking allegations against the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC seems to be waxing strong, while the opposition parties are plaguing themselves with leadership crisis.
Well, as the crisis continues to rock the supposedly strong opposition parties, the ruling party will continue to hold on to power, and this may continue for the next two decades.
Written by Inegbenose Prevail, a journalist & political analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org