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PDP bars governors, lawmakers, others from discussing 2023 strategies


PDP BAuchi

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has directed its leaders to refrain from commenting on the party’s plans ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The directive is binding on governors and lawmakers elected on the party’s platform as well as other key stakeholders across the country.

The Nation gathered on Friday that the party, at a recent secret meeting attended by the leaders of its various organs, reached the conclusion that commenting on its strategies ahead of the polls might bring divisions that could hurt party cohesion.

A highly placed PDP source, who confirmed the resolution in a telephone chat with The Nation on Friday, said the decision was specifically taken to protect the strategy the party intends to adopt in the zoning of its 2023 presidential ticket.

The high-ranking chieftain pleaded not to be quoted in order to not breach the “no comments” agreement collectively reached by the leaders and stakeholders.

The source said:

“Yes, it is true that we had an enlarged meeting where we took a collective decision that none of us should comment on our party’s plans, particularly as regards the zoning of our party’s presidential ticket for 2023.

“That decision was taken to avoid a situation whereby mischief makers and their sponsors will be setting our prominent chieftains against one another to the detriment of our collective interest as a party.

“You must have read a recent media report where a harmless interview granted by the chairman of our Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, was twisted to serve some sinister purposes.

In the said media report, the BoT chairman was quoted to have said that supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were threatening his life for refusing to say that the 2023 presidential ticket of the PDP would be zoned to the Northeast geopolitical zone.

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But Jibrin, in a brief telephone chat with our correspondent yesterday, said he was shocked by the said report, adding that Atiku himself had a good laugh when he read the said report.

“When I met Atiku shortly after that report, he was the first to burst into laughter over the report and I could not help but to join him in laughing because we both knew that it could not be true. That was how it all ended”, Jibrin said.

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Asked to speak on the PDP’s projections for the 2023 presidential race, Jibrin, who confirmed the party’s “no comments” directive to its leaders, declined further comments.

If you have questions about our plans for the 2023 presidential election, then contact the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. He is the one that speaks for the party,” Jibrin said.

Contacted, PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party had not taken any decision on the 2023 contest or regarding zoning.

“I have said it over and over that we have not taken any decision on 2023. I am still saying it again that the PDP has not taken any position on zoning. We are not even discussing it”, Ologbondiyan said in a telephone chat.

Asked to confirm the directive to PDP leaders not to comment on the party’s projections for 2023, the spokesman said: “I don’t know anything about that”.

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Several other party chieftains contacted by our correspondent similarly declined comments regarding plans for the next general elections, apparently in deference to the directive.

But a chieftain, who did not want his name in print, said the party took the decision in order to keep the PDP intact and to avoid infiltration by “extraneous forces”.

The party chief said the directive was also binding on prominent chieftains at the state level, including state governors.

According to him, the leadership of the party and other stakeholders were highly disturbed by the recent media spat between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, ostensibly over the controversial Soku oil wells.

It was further gathered that the thinking within the hierarchy of the PDP is that the party stood a bright chance of winning the presidency in 2023.