Atiku Returns To Nigeria Ahead Of Crucial PDP NEC Meeting

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Ahead of the much-anticipated National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President and presidential candidate of the party in 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has returned to Nigeria.

Atiku, who had been out of the country for weeks, returned in the early hours of Tuesday, a source told LEADERSHIP.

The Ambassador Illiya Damagum-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP was pressured into fixing the NEC meeting for April 18, having refused to hold the meeting for over one year. The NEC, the second most influential decision-making organ of the party after the national convention, is expected to meet every quarter as stipulated by the party’s constitution.

The anticipated NEC meeting, according to party sources, is shaping up to be a make or mar one for the party.

Atiku, who is regarded as de facto leader of the party, being the presidential candidate in the last elections, is expected to spearhead other meetings ahead of the NEC meeting.

This comes as agitations have mounted over the poor management of the party against the backdrop of allegations that the party was being controlled by external forces as alleged by former Benue State governor, Senator Gabriel Suswam.

Also, the North Central zone has called for Damagum to relinquish the acting national chairmanship seat and allow the emergence of a substantive national chairman from the region where the party originally zoned the position to in 2021.

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Recall that former Senate President, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, from Benue State (North Central) emerged national chairman at the party’s last convention.

But Damagum, deputy national chairman (North), who hails from Yobe State (North East), was made acting national chairman in 2023 after a court order removed Ayu from office.

Although the agenda of the NEC would be defined by the NWC, sources told LEADERSHIP that the NEC meeting might also decide on what actions to take on “party leaders who have continued to undermine the party.”

Recall that some governors and party chieftains openly worked against Atiku as PDP presidential candidate in 2023 and also recently reiterated their resolve to support President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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