Pressure Mounts on Saraki to Lead PDP as Party Faces Reorganisation

Governors and National Assembly members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are reportedly exerting pressure on former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, urging him to assume the role of national chairman for the party.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that this development follows the removal of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu as national chairman by a Benue High Court, which has left the party’s leadership in the hands of Ambassador Illya Umar Damagun in an acting capacity.

Sources reveal that the PDP is contemplating a complete reorganisation if the presidential election tribunal does not rule in favour of its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) have been paying visits to Saraki’s residences in Maitama, Abuja, and Ikoyi, Lagos, ostensibly to discuss the future of the opposition party. Some visitors meet with Saraki individually, while others come in small groups.

Concerned individuals have expressed apprehension that the PDP may struggle under the leadership of Bola Tinubu and emphasise the need for a unifying figure who can rally all members and factions, thereby fortifying the party’s foundation. It is argued that Saraki possesses the necessary attributes as a natural unifier, enjoying broad acceptance and goodwill among various groups such as the G-5 Group, Atiku’s supporters, non-aligned members, and even the NWC.

One NWC member highlights Saraki’s successful reconciliation efforts in 2021, revitalising the party after the devastating loss in the 2019 presidential election. Additionally, Saraki garners support from esteemed statesmen like Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Gusau, and others while also commanding respect from the youth. However, despite mounting pressure, Saraki has thus far declined the overtures.

A source close to the former Senate president reveals that Saraki firmly maintains that discussions regarding the next party executive should not take place until the ongoing litigation concerning the presidential election results is concluded, This Day reports.

Saraki cautions against creating fresh internal strife by attempting to prematurely terminate the tenure of the current NWC members. Instead, he expresses his willingness to work behind the scenes to assist the party, rather than assuming a formal leadership position.

Nonetheless, it is believed that Saraki’s associates within the party remain persistent in their efforts to persuade him to take charge of rebuilding the PDP. These individuals reportedly plan to involve his contacts in the business world to facilitate the party’s revival.

This newspaper learnt that when contacted, several PDP chieftains declined to comment, stating that the timing for such discussions was inappropriate due to ongoing tribunal proceedings.

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