Senator Jonah Jang, a former governor of Plateau State and member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) board of trustees has lashed out at Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, noting that his decision to name Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate may cost the party victory in 2023.
Jang warned that the party has a lot of home work to do to clear the mess caused by Atiku’s choice of Okowa, Delta State governor, as his running mate in contradiction of the recommendation of the committee set up by the party.
Jang told reporters in Jos on Friday that the 2023 presidential election looked bleak for the party except the crisis created by Atiku’s adoption of Okowa as running mate was resolved immediately.
According to him, the outcome of last month’s governorship election in Ekiti State was a clear message to the PDP that it could not afford to go into the next presidential election as a divided house.
“As one of the founding fathers alive today, one who participated in the processes that set the background for our primaries, I am compelled to add my voice to that of prominent members of our great party who have shown dismay with recent happenings, particularly with the emergence of the vice-presidential candidate,” Jang said.
“While it is no longer news that the presidential primaries have come and gone and a candidate emerged, it is disheartening that the manner in which the vice-presidential candidate emerged is nothing but sheer disregard for processes. We all are aware of the fact that the party, in consultation with the presidential candidate, set up a committee to select a running mate.
”To turn around and throw away the outcome of the exercise is a clear proof that the work of the committee was either not appreciated or was not going to be in consideration ab initio.
Quoting Governor Samuel Ortom, who was a member of the 17-member committee set up by the PDP to recommend a presidential running mate, Jang said, “Fourteen of us in the committee said the person should be Nyesom Wike unfortunately Atiku picked Okowa in his wisdom.”
Continuing, Jang said: “You cannot ignore the decision of a committee you set up yourself and expect people to be happy.
“That such people are treated the way the party is currently doing is a pointer to the fact that more is to come. No one who intends to go against the APC, which has failed in its promises but thrives on propaganda, will go with a divided camp.
“This explains the urgency with which the party ought to retrace its step in the right direction with a hope of salvaging the already bad situation within the shortest time.”
Jang asked the BoT of PDP and the National Working Committee to do all within their power to stop further dissonance arising from the treatment of ranking members of the party, especially Governor Nyesom Wike.
He said the present situation where the governors of the party have started distancing themselves from the activities of the party and other influential members making public statements indicating their displeasure did not bode well for the PDP, adding that dragging the party into unnecessary disagreements months away from the general elections was not in anybody’s interest.
He said: “It is unfortunate that the very man, who admittedly has been a pillar of the party at a time the repressive tendencies of the governing APC was to send the PDP into oblivion, will be treated in the manner the party has.
“Until we correct the mistakes, which we deliberately made, the future is bleak and the PDP may be caught in a trap it has set for itself. We cannot run a campaign for a candidate whose campaign promise is hinged on uniting Nigerians but not be seen to be doing enough to bring party members together.
“The time to act is now, all well-meaning party leaders and stakeholders must rise in defence of the truth as a way of assuring our teeming supporters of the seriousness of the party to wrest power from the APC. We cannot fold our hands and watch the party drift away from the tenets which have made it the only truly democratic party in Nigeria.”
The former governor said the whims of a few should not be allowed to override the choices of many who believe in the PDP and its ability to return Nigeria to the glorious days.