The decision of the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, to quit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) less than 72 hours before the primary election is still generating a buzz on social media.
Obi has over the years generated some sort of movement among youths. This is why his decision to abandon the party after travelling to 35 States and the FCT, came as a surprise to many.
However, DAILY POST had projected that Mr Obi’s chances of clinching the PDP presidential ticket is slim and the option of becoming a running mate is equally slim.
DAILY POST takes a review of the options available and his chances at the general election.
Obi is yet to win party battle….
For many die-hard APGA supporters in Anambra, the decision of Obi to dump the party in 2015, is still viewed as betrayal.
Victor Oye, APGA Chairman, had in an interview said, “As far as I am concerned, Peter Obi remains a member of APGA. He is only pretending he is in PDP. The People in PDP will never trust him because they know that he is synonymous with APGA.”
Victor Umeh had also accused Obi of being reluctant in supporting the party in its regional agenda.
He said Obi was reluctant in supporting Rochas Okorocha in his first bid for governor in 2011.
Obi is fast developing a reputation for taking flight whenever there is a battle within the party. His inability to manage party politics remains a major challenge.
In an interview, Obi blamed the emergence of Willie Obiano on the manipulation by Victor Umeh, the National Chairman of APGA.
When it appeared that Obiano was ready to assume control of APGA, he left for PDP.
Many believe that Obi left the PDP because of the politics of Governor Nyesom Wike, who is also positioning for the ticket of the party.
“Peter Obi leaving the party is not surprising to me. He knows that there is no way he would have won the presidential primaries. Forget what Doyin Okuope said about sharing money,” Wike had said on Thursday.
If he eventually joins any party, that will be three parties within 8 years.
What has emerged clearly is that Obi was not in control of PDP structure in Anambra. The same thing happened in APGA.
Aside from Okupe, Obi struggled to get any governor on his presidential election project. A couple of heavyweights from the north would have helped.
NNPP may not be ideal
Unless Obi is ready to become running mate to former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso under the New Nigeria Peoples Party, chances of being handed the ticket is very slim.
Mr Kwankwaso, the leader of the Kwankwassiyya movement is some sort of larger than life individual. He left the PDP to actualize his ambition of becoming the president of Nigeria. More importantly, he does not believe there is any southern candidate in the PDP (Including Obi) that has the capacity to dislodge the ruling party.
In the event that Obi decides to settle for Vice President role, there is a great contradiction in the political ideology of the two politicians. While Obi believes in austerity and prudence, however, the entire Kwankwasiyya movement is built on patronage and human development.
There is also the capacity to win election. As running mate to the Atiku Abubakar, he was unable to galvanize the South-East, as Buhari performed better in the region than he did in 2015.
The battle could turn into a three-horse race: APC, PDP and NNPP. In that event, the ruling party may benefit more from a three horse-race. Kwankwaso’s base remains Kano State and maybe a pocket of a few States.
Also, most of Obi’s supporters are those already leaning toward the PDP. This may work perfectly for the ruling party, who may be hoping on their structure to win. They have 22 governors already. They only need to maintain their base.
Although, Buhari’s guaranteed 12 million votes will be missing, but in a three-horse race, the PDP may not be able to capitalize on it.
Labour party and other options
None of the existing parties outside the APC and the PDP has the structure to win the presidential election.
Most of the parties are equally struggling with internal crises that are far worse than the APC and the PDP.
In 2018, Oby Ezekwesili joined ACPN to run for president, by the time she realised the crisis in the party, she dropped out of the race before the main election.
A coalition is likely not possible. It would be recalled that the last attempt at a coalition in the run-up to the 2019 general election failed. Most of the candidates pulled out after the result of the coalition.
Opt for Senate then build a party
Mr Obi could opt for a senatorial seat in this election. If he wins, then utilize the platform to make friends across the country.
Then, whichever party he adopts could use off-season elections to test his ideas. Between 2023 and 2027, there will be elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti.
He can then also get like-minded Senators or other aggrieved lawmakers from other parties to join his party.
Perhaps, a merger in 2027 with another party may become feasible. But whatever their option, Mr Obi must learn how to manage party politics to survive.