Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is reportedly battling to retain his grip on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by plotting to remove the party’s acting National Chairman, Iliya Damagum, from office.
Naija News gathered that Atiku and his loyalists are uncomfortable with Damagum being in office over his alleged loyalty to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, and his camp.
Party sources told The Nation that all political options to remove Damagum, including the forceful return of the National Secretary, Senator Sam Anyanwu, have failed to materialise.
One of the sources said one of the reasons the plot against Damagum has failed so far is the backing of Wike, the G-5 and some members of the PDP Governors Forum, led by Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, who is said to be interested in the 2027 presidential race.
It was gathered that faced with the strong opposition in the PDP, Atiku and some party leaders are giving full support to the suspended National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to win his case for reinstatement.
Although Ayu is no longer keen to return to office, Atiku and his supporters believe that a fight to the finish in the court is the only option left to rescue the PDP from Wike and the G-5.
The newspaper claimed that since Atiku lost his election petition against President Tinubu in the Supreme Court, he has shifted his attention to 2027.
A top source, who spoke under anonymity, said one of the 2023 poll challenges, which the Atiku camp identified, was not being in full control of the party.
He said: “Having lost the last Presidential Election, Atiku is plotting to have a firm grip on the PDP to be able to contest again in 2027. He still believes that he has a better chance.
“That is why he has yet to relocate to Dubai in the UAE. Contrary to his claim, he is not protecting any democracy in the country.
“The former VP and his team recognised that his major setback in the last election was not being able to control the PDP structure. There was internal dissent in the party, but without sanctions.
“He used what I would describe as a make-shift PDP structure for the last presidential election.
“During the campaign and the general election, the party was weak, and after the poll, the party was not strong enough to assail him.
“The Atiku camp is unhappy with Damagum for pandering to the whims and caprices of PDP leaders like Wike.
“Atiku’s major obstacle is that the party’s leadership is being controlled by two groups, including Wike/the G-5 and the PDP Governors’ Forum, which is headed by Governor Bala Mohammed, who may challenge him for the party’s ticket for 2027 poll.
“Bala had a patched relationship with Atiku during the countdown to the last general election.”
According to the investigation, Atiku’s loyalists and pro-Wike/G5 and Damagum members have been at war at the party’s National Secretariat in the past two weeks.