• PDP’s many battles as opposition party

    Pdps many battles as opposition party - nigeria newspapers online
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    From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja


    Pdps many battles as opposition party - nigeria newspapers onlinePdps many battles as opposition party - nigeria newspapers online


    The Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) is in a fix. Fourteen months after the 2023 general elections, cracks that emerged in the opposition party in the aftermath of the nomination of its 2023 presidential and vice presidential candidate have continued to widen.

    Things started falling apart in the PDP, shortly after the May 29, 2022 presidential primary of the opposition party, which was won by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.  Atiku later nominated former Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate for the 2023 presidential poll.

    However, Okowa’s nomination as vice presidential candidate did not sit well with supporters of former Rivers State governor, and present Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.  The former Rivers governor, who

    came second in the contest for the PDP presidential ticket,  had come tops in the consideration of the panel set up by the opposition party to shop for a suitable vice presidential candidate.

    Exasperated by the turn of events, a group of five governors ( G-5) consisting of Wike; Samuel Ortom, Benue; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu; Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia and Seyi Makinde, Oyo, alongside their supporters demanded the replacement of then PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, with a Southerner. However, Ayu said he would not quit, with Atiku saying he cannot force the former chairman to resign.

    Consequently, the G-5 and Atiku went their separate prior to the last general election, where PDP failed to regain power as the ruling party at the center.

    Eventually, Ayu vacated his seat as national chairman, following his suspension from the party by his ward, in Benue State. The former Senate President’s ouster paved way for the PDP Deputy National Chairman ( North), Umar Damagum to take over the leadership of the party as acting national chairman.

    Nevertheless, the schisms within the party has continued, making  it impossible for the party to make any meaningful progress, in the last 14 months.  Apart from crisis in some state chapters, including the controversy over moves by PDP leaders in the South East to replace Senator Samuel Anyanwu with former National Youth Leader, Sunday Udeh- Okoye as  National Secretary, there have also been several litigations.

    Also, the NEC, which is the second highest organ of the opposition party, after the National Convention, which is  supposed to meet, at least once in every three months, could not meet until last week.

    Prior to the April 18 NEC  meeting, Atiku and Wike’s supporters returned to the trenches with each of the two camp scheming on how to gain upper hand in battle for party machinery, ahead of the 2027 general elections.

    The Atiku camp was pushing for the immediate  appointment of a substantive national chairman, to take over from Damagum, who have been occupying the office in acting capacity, since the ouster of Ayu as national chairman, last year while Wike’s supporters, wanted Damagum to be confirmed as substantive national chairman, or in the alternative have someone sympathetic to them appointed national chairman.

    Therefore, there were expectations that the NEC would appoint a substantive national chairman to replace Ayu, as well as begin the process of reviewing the outcome of the last general election and impose sanctions on members accused of indulging in anti-party activities.

    Ahead of the NEC meeting, the PDP National Organising Secretary, Umar Bature, had requested chairmen of state chapters to furnish the national secretariat with the names of members suspected to have engaged in anti-party activities.

    “After the elections, we expected the state chapters to give us their reports, that is the post 2023 election result. A lot of the states have not submitted their reports and we need those reports to be compiled for the next NEC meeting.

    “ Lot of agitations are coming from party members, suspend this, suspend that, you are the ones that are in charge of those states. You are to tell us who did anti-party and who did not do anti-party, based on that, NEC will take decision. Write to us and tell us what transpired no matter what happened, “ Bature had stated.

    Nevertheless, the NEC retained Damagum as acting chairman, until  August. The  next meeting of the party organ is slated tentatively for August, when congresses for state chapters would have been concluded.

    The party organ also resolved to set up a Reconciliation Panel to reconcile aggrieved PDP members, as well as a Disciplinary panel to look into the cases of errant members.

    The   chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees ( BoT), Senator Adolphus Wabara, while addressing NEC members had said: “we cannot ignore the fact that our party is facing internal strife, fueled by inactions, disagreements and misunderstandings that threaten to undermine the very foundation upon which the PDP stands.

    “The recent events have brought to light the urgent need for reconciliation, unity, and collective action to steer our party back on course. It is in times like these that the true strength of our party is tested.”

    Like Wabara, the acting national chairman believes that there is need for party leaders to bury the hatchet, in the overall interest of the PDP and the country.

    According to him, “there is also need to constitute a strong reconciliation committee to unite our many aggrieved members especially those that fell out during the last party primaries. It is better late than never.

    “We must as urgent as possible reposition and strengthen the party for effective and constructive opposition, bringing on the table acceptable alternatives of policies and programmes in the governance of our dear nation; we must also as a matter of necessity bring the concerns of Nigerians to the forefront of political discourse.

    “We must also understand that Nigerians are in love with the PDP and are anxiously looking up to us to bring succour and relief to their long APC-afflictions. There is also need for us as an opposition party to remain more united than we have ever been.

    “This is because in unity lies our strength; we must remain vigilant and also understand that the ruling party will be making frantic effort to use any available means to destabilize us, but if we are able to close ranks and remain focused, external forces against the party will always be frustrated.”

    In the aftermath of the NEC meeting, attention has shifted to the state. The opposition party is scheduled to hold congresses in at least 20 states within the next three months.  Apart from the state congresses, the two other issues before the opposition party are the reconciliation of  aggrieved members and sanctions for errant members. 

    However, amidst fears by party stalwarts that the lingering internal strife within the opposition party would militate against the PDP, in the run-up to the 2027 polls, chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, and Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed,  told journalists, in Abuja, last week, that the forum would ensure that all issues are resolved.

    According to him, “we know that there are some mauraders hiding somewhere trying to factionalize our party and take one faction to go and do coalition.

    “We are not going to allow that as governors. We are very responsible and we are very credible and we make sure we resolve all the issues and unify the party for maximum efficiency and success in the next election. “

    Nevertheless, stakeholders are looking towards the next NEC for the party to iron most, if not, all the issues in the  party. Regardless, unknown to many, the resolution of the issues, including the appointment of a substantive national chairman will depend largely on the PDP  governors.

    The opposition party, since  its inception  has always been a “governors’ party”, where the state executives call the shots. For instance, in the aftermath of the 2015 election, it was the governors that rose in unison to  pull the party back from the brink.

    Therefore, all eyes are on the governors to resolve all the issues in  the PDP and unite the members, ahead of the 2027 polls. Analysts say the fate of the PDP would depend on whatever the governors do or fail to do in the coming days.

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