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EXCLUSIVE: Atiku camp pushes for David Mark as next PDP chairman

EXCLUSIVE: Atiku camp pushes for David Mark as next PDP chairman
September 21
10:47 2023

Senior figures in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyal to Vice-President Atiku Abubakar are pushing for David Mark, former senate president, to assume the chairmanship of the party.

Sources informed TheCable that Mark is believed to have the capacity to deal with “renegade” party members who are involved in “anti-party activities”.

The PDP has been without a substantive chairman since March 2023 with the ouster of Iyorchia Ayu, also a former senate president, following his suspension at the ward level of the party in Benue state.

Ayu and Mark are both from Benue state.


Umar Ililya Damagum became the acting national chairman but the Atiku camp is reportedly uncomfortable with him as he is seen to be close to Nyesom Wike, former governor of Rivers state and now minister of federal capital territory in the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

Atiku’s biggest supporters — Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa, Babangida Aliyu, former governor of Niger, and Adamu Maina Waziri, former minister — once tried to move against the acting chairman but pulled back because of a possible backlash.

Wike, who lost the presidential primary to Atiku in May 2022, led a group of five governors that openly opposed Atiku in the 2023 presidential election.


“You would expect the PDP to have suspended or expelled Wike by now for his anti-party activities, worsened by his acceptance of a ministerial appointment from a rival party,” a former governor told TheCable.

“But it is very clear that the national working committee is in Wike’s pocket, so we should not expect any form of discipline in the party.”

Mark, a retired brigadier, former military governor of Niger state and former minister of communication, is a founding member of PDP and has never defected from the party.

He unsuccessfully ran against Atiku for the party’s presidential ticket in 2019.


Another source said others being considered as next PDP chairman are Bukola Saraki, former senate president, and Gabriel Suswam, former governor of Benue state.

The issue of chairmanship will be “on hold” for now until after the presidential election petition is finally settled by the supreme court, the source added.


TheCable previously reported moves to expel Wike by Atiku loyalists.


A meeting hosted by Atiku and attended by “elders and stakeholders” who are his loyalists discussed the “Wike problem” extensively.

Most of the attendees rooted for Wike’s expulsion, but some feared that it may further divide the PDP and lead to an “ANPP” syndrome.


The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), which started as All Peoples Party (APP) in 1999, was the strongest opposition party in the country, controlling nine states between 1999 and 2003.

However, a protracted internal crisis soon divided the party and it was left with just three states by 2007, after which it paled into insignificance before dissolving into the APC in 2013.


Senior party members loyal to Wike are threatening to “fight till the end” — including forming  parallel PDP and creating a protracted, ANPP-like crisis — if the former governor is expelled.



The PDP situation was complicated with the nomination of Wike by President Bola Tinubu for a ministerial position.

Wike’s acceptance of the nomination was seen as “the final straw” by the Atiku group.

The Wike group — formerly known as G5 — also got one over the Atiku camp by installing Simon Davou Mwadkwon (Plateau) as the senate minority leader and Kingsley Chinda (Rivers) in a similar position in the house of reps.

The defeat of the Atiku loyalists, led in the national assembly by former governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, was considered another kick in the teeth.

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