Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may implode unless leaders of the party rally round to rescue the ship from drifting.
This is coming barely 10 months to the party’s elective national convention where new leadership of the party will be elected. It was gathered that the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) may not be allowed till December when its four-year tenure will expire.
The leadership is accused of poor management of the party’s affairs, as well as creating conflicts in state chapters during last year’s state congresses. Multiple sources informed New Telegraph that governors elected on the platform of the party are not happy with the leadership and are in the forefront of those demanding that they should go before the expiration of their tenure.
According to a party source,
“Before, it was only the National Chairman who was the target. But I can tell you, the entire NWC is going. A caretaker committee will be appointed which will serve out their tenure and conduct a national convention in December.
“The party is broke. The governors are no longer bringing money because they are not happy the way the NWC is running the party.”
It was, however, gathered that some party leaders are worried that the crisis might get out of hand, if a caretaker committee is appointed, and advised to avoid what happened during the Markarfi/Sheriff era.
Instead, they suggested that none of the current NWC members should be allowed to seek re-election or serve in any other capacity at any level. The source disclosed that the anger against the NWC is the festering crisis in South-West, which they blamed on the party leadership.
They accused Secondus of supporting former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose to wrestle the party structure from Governor Seyi Makinde, the same way he has handed the Cross River State structure to Senator Liyel Imoke.
A member of the party from South-West told New Telegraph that the National Chairman knows that Makinde, as a sitting governor, should be the leader of PDP in the zone, but he chose to side with Fayose to spite the Governor.
“When Fayose was governor, he was South-West PDP leader. Did Bode George who was even Deputy National Chairman, contest it with him? Secondus knew about this because he was Deputy National Chairman then.
Why did he want to hand the structure over to Fayose who left office since 2018?” the source asked. There was speculation that Makinde might join the African Democratic Congress (ADC) when his supporters exited PDP WhatsApp platform last week.
The source, however, assured that the governor was not leaving PDP. About four governors are rumoured to be on their way out of the party.
Though no name was mentioned, Zamfara and Cross Rivers State governors are believed to be on the list. Two weeks ago, a group which styled itself “7Alive”, from Cross River State, accused the National Chairman of disrespecting Governor Ben Ayade.
The group, in a letter to the National Chairman, noted that “From May 1999 to May 2007 when Mr. Donald Duke, was governor, all through his tenure, the administrative running, the party structure, leadership, instructions and directives on what to do and how to manage the party had always centred around the governor.
“The same norms and traditions were transmitted to Senator Liyel Imoke as governor of Cross River State from May 2007 to May 2015….”
They group wondered why the same privilege was not extended to Governor Ayade by the NWC, adding, “It is no longer a secret that some members of the National Assembly, whose re-election to the Green and Red Chambers was facilitated by the governor, have now formed an opposition wing in Abuja, to conspire to seize the structures of the party in the state.”
Ayade’s candidate, Dr. Stephen Odey, who won the December 5, 2020 Cross River North senatorial re-run election, lost to a member of House of Representatives, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, in court, which said Odey was not properly nominated at the PDP primaries.
The governor believed it was a conspiracy with the party leadership. It is not known the grouse of Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, against the party, but the governor had accused the PDP of injustice when Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
New Telegraph also learnt that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who many believed put the present NWC in office, has more than once, accused the leadership of poor management of the party affairs.
Wike is demanding that the governors should be allowed to conduct the June primaries to select PDP candidate for the November Anambra governorship election. This, party source believe, is a vote of no confidence in the NWC to conduct credible party primaries.
The source revealed that Wike’s grouse against the NWC was the way they handled the minority leadership in House of Representatives.
According to the source, the governor was told to nominate minority leader of the House, only for Ndudi Elumelu to emerge against Wike’s candidate. Up till now, the leadership crisis has not been resolved, which Wike considered as weakness on the part of the NWC.
Last December, the party set up a six-man reconciliation and strategy committee headed by former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki. The committee is yet to intervene in any of the crises plaguing the party.
Although party source explained that it was because Saraki has not been around, this reporter gathered that some party leaders expressed reservation on Saraki heading the committee.
New Telegraph was told that the former Senate President betrayed the governors during the 2018 PDP presidential primaries in Port Harcourt.
According to the source, the governors wanted one of them, Governor Aminu Tambuwal as PDP presidential candidate and had enlisted Saraki’s support, only for him to also declare interest in the party’s ticket.
“The governors were not just angry with Saraki for declaring interest, but they discovered that he was working for Atiku (Abubakar). Right there in Port Harcourt, he was negotiating to become Atiku’s campaign DG, which was given to him eventually. “So, the governors see Saraki as part of the problem. He is not the right person to head the committee.
“Since the committee was appointed, have they intervened in any of the crises? Wike was the one who went to South-West to reconcile Makinde and Fayose. This was what people expected the Saraki committee to do.
“When (Seriake) Dickson was chairman of reconciliation committee, you could see him going round to reconcile members,” the source recalled. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, denied any knowledge of the planned sack of NWC.
When probed further, Ologbondiyan promised to call back, but has not at the time of filing this report.