Battle for 2023: Partisan War Without End?

Chido Nwangwu writes about the face-off between the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, over the soul of the main opposition party

0n September 28, 2022, Nigerians and the international community await the formal start of the 2023 presidential election campaign.

It’s going to test the worthiness, usefulness and articulation of competing viewpoints and strategies for improving an increasingly embattled Nigeria.

For millions of Nigerians, the state of the country requires taking it forward through stringent financial accountability, a revolutionary economic discipline and restructuring!

The competition in battle for a new direction will test the physical stamina and honesty and public morality and private purposes of the candidates.

It was the famous, incisive American journalist, the late Ambrose Bierce, who defined politics as “A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

The same purposes and fight for personal leverage is the driving force of most politicians especially in Nigeria, most parts of the African continent and of course in the U.S.

The latter is notoriously evident in the continuing revelations about former President Donald Trump’s shenanigans to keep power, no matter the cost!

With only a few days to the start of the campaigns, and months ahead of the scheduled February, 2023 elections), the presidential candidates have many issues and challenges to deal with.

For example, the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has among those issues, the alleged undermining actions and lingering attacks on him by some of his party leadership for not picking the blunt and hard-charging Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, as his running mate.

Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria, has been competing for and/or contesting to become President since 2003.  A number of political insiders say it’s even earlier than that.

Since May 28, 2022, Abubakar, a former top director at the Nigerian Customs (border) agency bagged the ticket in Abuja when Nigeria’s former House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal (from Sokoto) at the point for voting to commence threw his support to benefit Abubakar in a tight vote tally.

We have since learned, according to a claim by one of Wike’s strategists that the embattled Governor “could have” beaten Atiku at the 2022 PDP convention but for the “surprising, shocking, last-minute moves” by Tambuwal. Tambuwal has not made any comments on the anger and disappointment of his (former) friend and ally, Wike.

Wike has left Atiku, again, wondering what Wike has in mind.

The bone of contention remains the decision of Atiku on who will be his VP, after the showdown and political horse-trading at the PDP convention for the 2023 presidential election flag bearer fight. When the votes were counted on May 28, 2022, Atiku Abubakar got 371 and Nyesom Wike had 237. There were other contestants.

For VP, Atiku and his close advisers settled for a non-dramatic personality, a medical doctor and current Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyichukwu Okowa.

Atiku, himself, underlined it — with the following comments: “In these consultations, I made clear that my running mate would have the potential to succeed me at a moment’s notice, that is, a president-in-waiting.

In other words, the person must have the qualities to be President. The person must have an appreciation of the deep rot which our country has been put into by the rudderless APC (All Progressives Congress) government; understands the great suffering that most of our people are going through and the urgency of relieving them of that suffering; understands the critical importance of economic growth and development to provide our young people with jobs, hope, and a pathway to wealth.”

The friends of Wike, especially some Governors, are not happy. Especially as the countdown to the 2023 presidential elections continue, amid all the fake Bishop shenanigans of the presidential candidate of President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his VP, Alhaji Kashim Shettima.

Evidently, regardless of their meetings in London, when the loquacious but results-oriented Wike is unhappy, he speaks his mind, no matter whose ox is gored.

 Atiku and his supporters apparently will continue to “hear” from Wike on this final effort for Atiku to contest to become President of Nigeria.

I have one vital question regarding this battle for the 2023 presidency of Nigeria: will Wike ‘tambuwal’ Atiku?                                                          

-Nwangwu is Founder of USAfrica multimedia networks and public policy organization based in Houston.

Follow him @Chido247

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