2027, PDP and defections galore

Ahead of the 2027 general elections, the rank of the leading opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is depleting daily with the massive defection of its members; TOPE SUNDAY writes.

This is not the best of times for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its rank is depleting daily ahead of the 2027 general elections. The development might not be unconnected with the current challenges bedevilling the party.

The genesis

For political pundits, the crisis started in the build-up to the 2023 elections when the 17 presidential hopefuls of 2023 started voicing their intentions and pursuing their agendas, sparking internal discord within the party.

Matters intensified when the former governor of Rivers state and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, was defeated by the former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, in the party’s presidential primary in 2022.

The situation in the party took a fresh dimension when Atiku announced former Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate for the recent presidential election, thus going against the recommendation of ex-governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, and other influential figures who favoured Wike as the PDP’s vice-presidential candidate.

This development led further to the creation of the emergence of the G5 faction, commonly known as G5 Governors, which later served as an albatross to the party at the polls.   

The recent show of strength by Alhaji Atiku and the FCT minister, Barrister Wike, in an attempt to control the structure of the party is another clog in the party’s wheel of progress.

Defections galore

Consequently, as this reporter gathered, the party chapters in Imo, Edo and Osun states have been massively hit by the defection of some of its notable members for either the All Progressives Party (APC) or the others.

In Imo state, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, and former governor of the state, Emeka Iheodia, recently dumped the party, and his departure has sent shockwaves through the party and beyond.

As a prominent figure within the PDP, his defection underscores deep-seated issues that have been simmering beneath the surface for some time. With Iheodia’s exit, the PDP faces not only the loss of a key member, but the challenge of retaining its core base of support amidst growing discontent and disillusionment.

The reasons given for Iheodia’s defection, like those of many others, range from personal grievances to broader concerns about the direction and leadership of the party.

In an address to the PDP chairman in Mbutu Ward, Aboh Mbaise local government area of the state, Ihedioha said the PDP “has taken a path that is at variance with his personal beliefs,” noting that the party was heading in the wrong direction.

A few days after the former governor announced his resignation from the party, the state chairman, Charles Ugwu, and 21 other chieftains also formally resigned their positions and membership of the party.
Others included the immediate past deputy governor, Gerald Irona, former vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and one-time education commissioner, Jude Njoku, Ikenga Eze (ex-Rep member), Vin Udokwu, ex-Chief of Staff, Imo government.

Also, in Edo state, the party suffered from defections as the September 21 governorship election approaches with prominent political figures leaving the party to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Among the defectors are Matthew Uhroghide, a two-time Senator from Edo South, and Patrick Giwa, a former House of Representatives aspirant from Owan Federal Constituency. Also, a former Clerk of the National Assembly and several ex-council chairmen and vice-chairmen under Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration switched sides.

Senator Urhoghide was quoted saying that he was a founding member of the APC and has now returned to help build the party in the southern state, adding that he has confidence in the leadership of the APC at state and national levels.

And in Osun state, the party is witnessing a wave of defections as loyalists of the former governorship aspirants, Prince Dotun Babayemi, have dumped the party for the APC.

Although, at the time of filing in this story, Prince Babayemi had not officially dumped the PDP for APC, but the party in the state had reportedly constituted a committee that would welcome him into the party.

APC, in a statement signed by its Osun state chapter chairman, Mr. Tajudeen Lawal, named Mr Debo Badru as the chairman of the 12-member defection committee, while Mr. Bello Atanda, the state organising secretary, would serve as the secretary.

The statement partly read in part, “Osun APC has named a powerful committee that will organise a befitting official defection of Omo Oba Dotun Babayemi and Dr Akin Ogunbiyi with the thousands of their supporters and followers across the state into the APC in the state.” 


Reacting to the development, a political analyst and lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Mr. Femi Fayomi, described the defections as “worrisome,” saying that “it’s an indication of an ideological deficit in Nigeria.”

“Defection in party politics is an indication of an ideological deficit in Nigeria.  Nigerian politicians have been described as political prostitutes given the spare of defection since the return to civil rule in 1999.  In developed climes, it is difficult for a politician to defect from one party to another it happens in Nigeria. 

“The level of defection in the polity has become worrisome and a matter of concern to deepening democratic principles. The dimension of the defections often flows from opposition politicians towards the ruling political party for several reasons. 

“One of such reasons is what some analysts have described as ‘stomach infrastructure,’ a lack of internal democracy in political parties, inordinate ambitions of politicians, etc.

 “The internal wrangling in People Democratic Party particularly the aftermath of the outcome of the 2022 Presidential Primary in Port Harcourt and the defeat in Presidential elections back to back as well as the debacle on Party leadership offer juicy grounds for disgruntled party members to seek solace in the ruling party,” he said.

he said further that, “If the gale of defections continues unabated in the opposition PDP, it will no doubt play a significant negative impact on the performance of the party in the 2027 general elections. 

“However, defection alone may not be a serious threat to the excellent performance of a political party in an election, it has been established in the literature that several sociological issues like religion, ethnicity, outstanding economic performance, and voter rationality to name a few go a long way in influencing the outcome of an election.”

On his part, Fayomi’s counterpart at the university, Mr. Olakunle Olowojolu, told Blueprint Weekend that, “The emergence of APC as a mega party in 2013 weakened the then ruling PDP. In 2015, APC achieved an impossible feat as the first opposition party to win the general election in Nigeria.

“Since then, PDP has lost many of its members who defected to the ruling party, APC. In Nigerian politics, personal interests override party affiliation and political ideology.

“Before the 2023 presidential election, the influence of former Governor of River state, Nyesom Wike and the support given to APC by the likes of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state limited the chances of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in winning the election.

“Outside Atiku, it seems PDP does not have presidential hopefuls that can challenge APC in the 2027 presidential election.PDP can spring a surprise only if APC is dismembered and PDP can form a robust coalition across the board.”