Five governor members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) including Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Ifeanyi Ugwunayi of Enugu State shunned the party’s official kickoff of the presidential campaigns on Monday. 

This follows the governors withdrawal from the PDP’s presidential campaign team following the party’s refusal to remove National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, in spite of the fraud allegations amongst other controversies leveled against him.

As the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar continues his campaign in the remaining part of the country, the five governors, according to multiple sources, are holding a meeting in London today to deliberate over their next steps. 

State of play 
Of the 36 states in the country, PDP occupies 13 states while Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) holds 22 states and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) the remaining one. With the current rift between the presidential candidate and the party leaders and the five alienated governors, PDP cannot boast of the support of the aggrieved governors. 

A deeper dive 
Winning the presidential race of 2023 just got a little more complicated for Atiku. Here is why:

Imo and Enugu State are the only two states held by PDP governors going into the 2023 presidential elections. The two governors, having distanced themselves from the party’s presidential campaigns, are establishing a neutral terrain for other political parties to compete for. What’s worse for the PDP is that the region is producing an indigenous presidential candidate in Mr Peter Obi, who is favored in the region and other parts of the country. 

Before Seyi Makinde of Oyo State distanced himself from Atiku’s presidential campaign, PDP held the gubernatorial position in just one state of the six southwestern states. Like the southeast region, the southwestern region has a native representation in Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu vying to be Nigeria’s next President. This means that Atiku’s major support base could be projectively limited to the south south region and northeast alone. 

The big picture 
While endorsements from state governors, political stakeholders and mentors in the society do not guarantee election victory, they go a long way in influencing the choice of voters. PDP’s internal crisis could harm the aspiration of its party’s candidates. 

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