The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has been faced with another dilemma as some elders in the party made new demands ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Naija News understands that the former Vice President is currently struggling to pacify Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his aggrieved camp members including state governors.
Wike and his allies had demanded the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, asking that he should be replaced with a Southerner.
Their demands follow Wike’s grievance on what he counted as a betrayal of his personality after events that happened during and after the PDP”s presidential primaries and national convention months ago.
However, Atiku’s efforts and that of the leadership of the party to settle the issues have yielded no positive result yet.
Amid the internal crisis, Elders Forum for Atiku 2023, a political support group within the nation’s main opposition party protested at the Abuja residence of Atiku on Wednesday, Naija News learnt.
Reports revealed that the Elders during the protest insisted that Atiku must revisit the composition of his Presidential Campaign Council.
The major demand of the party stakeholders was for Chief Raymond Dokpesi to be made the Director-General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCO) 2023.
Some of the inscriptions on the banners carried by the forum according to PM News were “we want Dokpesi to remain the champion of the presidential campaign.
“Activate the presidential campaign without delay. Allow the D-Gs to choose their Deputy Directors’’.
Avoid Repetition Of Gbenga Daniel’s Mistake
The Elders Forum warned the presidential hopeful to not allow the event of 2019 to repeat itself. They reminded Atiku of how the former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel who was his then Director-General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation defected to another party.
The Forum also in a letter signed by its National Coordinator, Pa Lawrence Okojie, and the National Secretary, Mr A.K Peters, stressed that they believe in the capacity of Dokpesi to mobilize and work with everyone for the success of the PDP at the 2023 general elections.
The letter reads: “We, the Elders Forum for Atiku 2023 write to protest the composition of the Directors and Deputy Directors at the NCMC.
“We strongly believe that proper considerations were not taken in arriving at these appointments as not all the Deputy Directors-General are duly committed to the matter.
“We believe that competence, loyalty, sincerity, experience, and resilience in the struggle should be the essential ingredients that should have been considered in the selection of directors and deputy directors of the NCMC.
“We therefore strongly request that His Excellency should revisit these developments and do the needful to spare us a “Gbenga Daniel Part 2’’ in this 2023 presidential run.”
The statement added: “It is on record that from national sensitization to the success at the presidential primary, the galvanizing role of Dokpesi as leader of the Presidential Technical Committee cannot be undermined moving forward.”
Naija News understands that the forum made the letter available on Wednesday at the Abuja residence of Atiku.
Speaking with journalists present at the time, Okojie who led the forum members, insisted that the PDP needed Dokpesi to coordinate the affairs of APCO.
He said that even before anyone identified with the Abubakar presidential ambition, Dokpesi took it upon himself to mobilize support for the candidate and carried everyone along. Okojie added that the forum with its coordinators in all 36 states and members across the grassroots was ready to work in all the polling units for the success of Abubakar.
On her part, the National Women Leader of the forum, Deborah Makinwa, said they needed Dokpesi to continue where he stopped.
Makinwa who said that she had been supporting Abubakar from the beginning till now, urged him to also employ more women in his campaign council.