The PDP is renewing its efforts towards winning Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the 2015 general elections. How far can it go?
Shortly after his appointment as a minister, Alhaji Mohammed Wakil, the current minister of state for power, stepped up efforts to get his party into reckoning as the party to beat in the remaining states in the North East geopolitical zone of the country not under the control of the PDP.
Borno and Yobe State have never fallen under the grip of the PDP, while the governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako recently left the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has reclassified the state as an APC state.
But this would not be the first time the PDP would be threatening to capture all states in the North Eastern zone of the country. In 1999, the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) won three of the six North-Eastern States of Borno, Gombe and Yobe while the PDP captured Bauchi, Taraba and Adamawa States.
In the build up to the 2003 elections, the party’s top hierarchy made strong moves to win the three states and even though the result fell below their expectations, the PDP succeeded in capturing Gombe leaving the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) with Borno and Yobe States, the additional state it captured served to boost its morale.
Former governor Habu Hashidu lost to Mohammed Danjuma Goje, while Adamu Maina Waziri was defeated by the then incumbent Bukar Abba Ibrahim in Yobe State. In Borno State, Senator Ali Sherif unseated the incumbent Mala Kachalla who defected to the Alliance for Democracy from the ANPP. PDP’s Kashim Imam also lost out in the same election.
Again, in 2007, the PDP lost its bid to capture the two States with Waziri losing out to late Senator Mamman Ali in Yobe, and Senator Ali Sheriff secured his second term in office having trounced yet another PDP candidate Kashim Imam who lost to him four years earlier in 2003.
A similar trend ensued in 2011 with the two states remaining in the hands of the opposition following what many PDP loyalists and analysts say was as a result of the antiparty activities of their party men who allegedly connived with the ANPP governors.
Political pundits believe the cause of the successive failures of the PDP in the North East is not far from the internal wrangling and lack of cohesion among party chieftains.
Wakil, who was a former vice chairman of the party in the North East zone and who is said to have offered to serve as the arrow head of the onslaught in the three state, is not oblivious of this.
To actualise this dream, the PDP is said to have set up a committee headed by the minister which is said to have since swung into action with series of meetings involving top party leaders from the zone in both Maiduguri and Abuja.
The move is said to be at the instance of the Presidency which expressed its resolve to capture the states in 2015.
One of the strategies to be used, sources say, is to lure both Governors Kashim Shettima and Ibrahim Geidam into defecting to the PDP, while a strong candidate would be fielded in Adamawa State to unseat whoever the APC presents.
The second strategy is to ensure elections are not conducted in the three states which have been under emergency rule for the past one year or to shift it to a latter date different from when other states in the country are holding their elections, so as to have enough resources to focus on the states later. But how easily can these measures be applied?
In Adamawa State, the recent defection of General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) and Markus Gundiri to the PDP from the APC is seen as a great boost to the PDP’s effort to win the election next year.
Pundits say the greatest challenge for the PDP would be deciding on a candidate as the coming of Marwa and Gundiri has added to the mix of clashing individual ambitions as there are already people like Bello Tukur, Auwal Tukur, Dr Umar Ardo, Dr Idi Hong and ,many others angling to get the party’s ticket.
Meanwhile, the APC is not bereft of heavy weights as the state governor, Nyako and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as well as many political stalwarts are in its ranks and could easily mobilize strong candidates that would give whoever the PDP presents a good run for their money.
The undoing of the PDP in Borno has been the anti-party activities of its members since 1999. Many fear that this has not been contained.
In the last election, former Governor Mohamed Goni was fielded as a consensus candidate after many of the party chieftains failed to come together. However, to their