An emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been slated for today to address internal wrangling rocking the opposition party, including calls for the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
The resignation of seven national officers of the party on Tuesday following a sour relationship with Secondus, has ignited a fresh crisis.
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The party has been battling with a gale of defections of its top shots including three Governors; David Umahi (Ebonyi), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) who joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Also Wednesday, a BoT member of the party joined APC.
While tendering their resignation, Deputy National Financial Secretary, Gerald Irona; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Hassan Yakubu; Deputy National Legal Adviser, Ahmed Liman, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi and three others said they quit following the poor management of the party by Secondus.
Daily Trust reports that there have been relentless plots by some stakeholders to sack Secondus as part of efforts to grab the soul of the party ahead of 2023 politicking.
However, controversy is raging over the forces behind the fresh crisis rocking the PDP.
Previously, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike had been fingered as the chief promoter of Secondus removal.
However, some PDP leaders have alleged that the APC is responsible for the current crisis in the opposition party to distract the party from giving the ruling party serious opposition.
There were also speculations that APC leaders had commenced talks with the national officers of the PDP who resigned on Tuesday.
But the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, told Daily Trust in a telephone interview Wednesday that the party was not responsible for the crisis. He also dispelled claims that they were wooing the seven national officers into its fold.
A reliable source at the PDP national secretariat who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity said, “Some critical stakeholders in the PDP were behind the current crisis as a prelude to their agenda of removing Secondus as national chairman.”
A BoT member of the party told Daily Trust that a meeting of a “select committee’’ of the BoT, the highest advisory body of the party was held Wednesday, ahead of today’s meeting.
“We members of a select committee of the BoT have met as a prelude to tomorrow’s (today’s) meeting to review happenings in our party,” he told one of our correspondents.
Contacted, the Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin said their today’s meeting was convened to review issues affecting the party and map out strategies to restore it to the path of progress. Jibrin, said the gale of defection rocking the party would also be discussed.
“The BOT is holding a meeting tomorrow (today) to map out strategies on how the party will be on the right track and explore actions to take. The meeting will discuss the issue of the seven deputy secretaries that resigned.
“Nigerians should have complete confidence with the BOT with the view to taking decisions in the interest of the party and Nigerians. Crisis can occur at any time but looking at the crisis, our own is 100 per cent better than the crisis in the APC. We are going to overcome all our problems by this week,” he said.
On Secondus, he said, “It is very normal for people to call on leaders to resign if they see something wrong about the person’s leadership. We are going to discuss the matter and we will act accordingly”.
NWC members shun meeting with Secondus
Meanwhile, some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party Wednesday shunned a meeting summoned by Secondus, at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Daily Trust gathered from multiple sources at the PDP national secretariat yesterday that some members of the NWC who were present at the Wadata Plaza deliberately stayed away from the meeting.
It was learnt that only Secondus, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd); Financial Secretary, Abdullahi Maibasira and one other officer attended the meeting.
“PDP stakeholders are angry with Secondus. The agenda is to force him out of office before the expiration of his tenure in December, 2021.” he said.
We’ve activated conflict resolution mechanism – NWC
But at the end of the meeting, the NWC said that it has activated internal conflict resolution mechanism of the party to ensure amicable resolution of all issues affecting the party.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the party’s NWC rose from a crucial meeting where it reviewed the state of the party, with a view to creating an atmosphere that would engender stability within the party.
“The NWC assures that it has already activated the internal conflict resolution mechanism of the party to ensure amicable resolution of all issues. It assures all members of the party that it is taking urgent steps to ensure decisions that will strengthen our great party for the task ahead.
“This is particularly at this time Nigerians are looking up to the PDP for direction and solutions,” he said, urging all PDP members to remain calm.
‘Plot to hijack PDP’
Meanwhile, Secondus has raised alarm over the alleged plot to hijack the party.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Ike Abonyi, the embattled national chairman said the structure of the party is about to be hijacked by an unnamed chieftain of the party.
“The media office of the National Chairman is privy to intelligence that the strong party chieftain bent on hijacking the party structure for destruction is still on the loose with the main agenda of denting the image of Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman.
“Reports reaching this office show clearly that this character is deploying all devious means to try and diminish the person and character of the national chairman with a view to having his way of ultimately hijacking the structure for his disproportionately large ambition.
“We, therefore, wish to alert the general public particularly media houses and party stakeholders to look out for strange deployment of luring gifts from this destructive ‘Father Christmas’ all aimed at having a grip on the soul of our party by having a caretaker Committee.
“What continues to shock many party observers is the real reason behind the desperation of this man to get at the national chairman and the quantum of public funds being expended to achieve this illicit goal a few months to the National Convention.
“Few months to National Convention anybody who means well for this party and who is a true democrat should respect the constitution of the party and approach issues dispassionately.
“Prince Secondus through the media office however wishes to assure all critical stakeholders of our great party that every reasonable step is being taken to ensure that the image and status of the party are not injured by all these needless noise and scheming by desperadoes.”
Emordi joins APC
Also Wednesday, a member of the BoT of the PDP, Senator Joy Emordi, defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Director General, Press and Media to Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Mamman Mohammed, said Governor Mai Mala Buni received Emordi on Wednesday at a brief ceremony in Abuja. She described the APC leadership as ‘sincerely and genuinely committed to a united Nigeria that has plans for the future generation’.
Governor Buni said the coming of Sen. Emordi and other prominent politicians from the South East into the APC will promote national unity.
PDP govs meet Monday
Governors elected on the platform of the PDP have resolved to meet on Monday, to deliberate on fresh crisis that erupted in the party on Tuesday.
The Director-General of the PDP Governors’ Forum, C.I.D. Maduabum, confirmed to Daily Trust in a telephone chat Wednesday that the meeting would hold on Monday.
By Ismail Mudashir, Saawua Terzungwe & Hamisu K. Matazu