Osita Chidoka, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former Minister of Aviation, has criticized the permutation of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, on parties controlling Kano, Lagos, and Rivers states.
Chidoka, a close ally of PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, called Kwankwaso’s analysis “not mathematically correct,” just hours after the NNPP candidate said any party that can’t control the three states should forget about winning the 2023 presidential election.
While acknowledging that the three states produce millions of votes during elections, Chidoka claims that no party has ever won the three states in 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.
Despite losing Kano, the PDP stalwart claimed his party had won at least three presidential elections since 1999.
“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 received over 1.8 million cumulative votes, the most of any state in the 2019 presidential election, while Lagos received over one million total votes and Rivers received approximately 600,000 total votes. The APC currently controls Kano and Lagos, while the PDP is in charge of Rivers.
However, there are concerns that intra-party squabbles between Governor Nyesom Wike and Atiku over the chairmanship of Iyorchia Ayu will harm the PDP presidential candidate’s chances in February.
‘PDP Can’t Remain A Viable Party Without Winning The North’
Chidoka went on to say that the PDP cannot remain a viable party unless it wins the majority of votes in northern Nigeria, as it did when it governed Nigeria from 1999 to 2015 before losing to Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
“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, on the other hand, stated that his party’s strategy of reclaiming the north will not come at the expense of losing its base in Southern Nigeria.
With the return of democracy in Nigeria after years of military rule, the PDP produced then-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (1999–2007), Umaru Yar’Adua (2007–2010), and Goodluck Jonathan.
After failing in 2015 and 2019, the party has vowed to return to Aso Rock for the top job in 2023. The PDP faces a major challenge in the next presidential election after producing Adamawa-born Atiku to succeed Katsina-born Buhari — both from northern Nigeria, a development criticized by zoning supporters.
‘G5’s Future Is Tied To PDP’
Concerning the PDP crisis, Chidoka stated that his party will continue to work on winning Rivers and regaining five disgruntled governors 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”.
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