It is well known that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the presidential election, and they are currently challenging the outcome in court. However, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will change the election result. If the PDP is honest with themselves, they will admit that they could not have won the 2023 presidential election with all the divisions and odds against them. They knew they lost the election fairly and the reasons for their defeat are clear.
Several articles have analyzed why the PDP lost the election. The loss of Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso was a significant factor, and the G-5 governors led by Nyesom Wike dealt the final blow to the party. With such divisions, it is delusional to think that the party could win the presidential election.
There is a general sentiment that after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, power should naturally rotate to the south, regardless of party affiliation. In a country sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, such things are necessary. However, Atiku Abubakar breached that agreement by contesting. To be fair, his argument has some merit in that the PDP has had 14 years of Southern presidency, while the only Northern president produced by the party spent only two years in office. But Nigerians do not see it as a party affair; they want politicians to maintain the north/south rotational presidency.
Going into the election, Atiku was overconfident of winning. However, he forgot that he was not Buhari and did not have the street credibility or grassroots support of a Kwankwaso or Buhari in the north. Thinking he would inherit the 12 million votes of Buhari in the north was pure fantasy. He also assumed that the governors in the northern APC states would put northern interest above party loyalty, but they were adamant that power must shift to the south. The northern governors of the APC were the heroes of the election.
How could Atiku expect the southeast to abandon Peter Obi for him when, by merit and loyalty, the PDP should have micro-zoned the presidential ticket to the region? The region has been loyal to the PDP since 1999 and, for the first time, a southeasterner had a bright chance of emerging as president. It was arrogant of Atiku to expect the region to support him.
The PDP ran a toxic campaign with some of the jesters on the presidential campaign train mocking the whole process.
After the elections, the PDP needs to rebrand itself. The party has lost back-to-back presidential elections and is in danger of falling behind the Labour Party as the strong opposition party in the country.
Getting up to 10 governors in next weekend’s gubernatorial elections will be a herculean task. The southeast is not looking good for the party, and their best bet is the south-south now. I do not see them retaining Benue with the way Father Alia is moving like a hurricane, and Taraba may be dicey.
At this rate, I do not see the PDP winning the 2027 presidential election. It will be a hat-trick of losses for them. Something needs to be done quickly to buck the trend of losing their third consecutive presidential election.
Firstly, the old guards in the party need to retire from partisan politics. Atiku, who would have made a good president, should retire from politics and be an elder statesman.
Secondly, the jesters, whose toxic campaigns did more harm than good to Atiku’s presidential bid, should take a backseat. The party needs new and trusted faces to lead the party to the next level .The country needs a vibrant opposition to keep the ruling party on its toes. That is the only way to grow and strengthen our democracy.