Fears over PDP’s split into North, South caucuses

AS the highest decision-making body of the Peoples Democratic Party, the National Executive Committee (NEC) meets on Thursday to review the state of the party, there are signs the party has split into North and South caucuses, with Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, leading the South. 

The crisis in the party after the emergence of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the presidential running mate has prevented the party from constituting its 2023 presidential campaign committee. 

At the NEC meeting, the party is also scheduled to examine the state of the nation, while addressing the calls in some quarters for its national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to step down to allow the realignment of the national leadership of the party along its constitutionally prescribed zoning principle. 

Following the announcement of Okowa as Atiku’s running mate, Wike and his group, which has several PDP governors as members, have since refused to work with the former vice president, demanding that Wike should first be placated over the perceived humiliation he suffered in the process. 

The two groups, last week, however, agreed to raise a committee with equal number of individuals nominated from both sides to resolve the differences between Atiku and Wike, with a view to making recommendations. 

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Though it is not a NEC committee, Nigerian Tribune gathered that it will be interested in examining the report as parts of the overall move to proffer the way forward. 

Top party source confided in the Nigerian Tribune that the besetting problem has gone beyond Wike as the southerners suspect there is a northern agenda being implemented in the party. 

They cited the key leadership positions of the party, including the presidential candidate, the national chairman and the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), all being occupied by the North and the reluctance to re-adjust the leadership structure. 

The party source said: “We have opened our eyes. What we didn’t know, we thought we were doing normal politics. Now, we’ve seen a sectional agenda. So, that agenda is not proper. A Fulani man, after another eight years of another Fulani man. How do we suddenly cut into this issue and have a sense of belonging? 

“We’ve now seen the Islamic agenda which we didn’t think about, we’ve now seen it openly. We are simply being led to recognise the reality on ground. We were very innocent; we didn’t think about these things. We, suddenly now, have been made aware of them. 


“So, in the light of them, we are now demanding certain guarantees going forward. As far as we are concerned, we’ve been trapped, we’ve been conned. We thought all these things Atiku was doing was the need to run. But no. There is an agenda to perpetuate a section of the country in power. Now that we have found out, all bets are off, we want to take time to recalibrate ourselves. 

“There is nothing like party anymore. Our brothers are now playing North versus South. We understand them and we accept the reality.” 

While noting that the southern members of the party are in support of the southern governors, the source warned: “Don’t make the mistake and see it as a Wike thing. That’s where you get it wrong. That’s the old Fulani game.” 

Nigerian Tribune also learnt that many southern party stakeholders have lost confidence in the ability of the NEC to resolve the issues in contention, as they believe that both the highest decision-making body and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party have taken sides with the northern caucus. 

They warned that unless the party restructures its leadership by removing Ayu as the national chairman, they may be forced to activate other option, which is to align with another presidential candidate. 

When contacted, the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, dismissed any suggestion of a North-South divide, describing the matter as mundane. 

He said the PDP, unlike the All Progressives Congress (APC), unifies the country and is intent on rescuing it from the maladministration it has suffered in the last seven years. 

The party spokesman assured that the PDP is having a conversation on how best to approach the rescue process, noting that in the course of that, there may be differences, which the party is confident will be fully resolved.


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