PDP raises alarm over plot to scuttle convention
•Obi, Metuh, other Anambra stakeholders clash over NWC post •Power struggle rages in zonal, state chapters
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC) has raised the alarm over an attempt by some people to scuttle this weekend’s national convention of the party through a Kaduna High Court. The National Secretary of the committee and governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, in a statement Sunday night said the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meant well when it slated the convention for October 30-31.
Though he noted that members had approached a court of competent jurisdiction to air their grievances, he maintained that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP acted in good faith in fixing the convention for October 30 and 31.
He said it was not meant to witch-hunt anyone or to truncate anyone’s mandate. He asserted that it was not the intention of the party to witch-hunt anybody or to truncate their mandate.
Makinde advised members to remain focused and not be distracted by what he called an attempt to divide the party. The governor posited that the former ruling party was the only one to rescue Nigeria, noting that a united PDP was therefor a threat to the forces that sought to divide it.
The statement read: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC) is using this medium to alert members of our party and members of the public that we are aware of the actions of a few misguided PDP members who have approached the High Court in Kaduna in an attempt to prevent our great party, the PDP from holding its National Convention on October 30 and 31, 2021.
“Therefore, we call on all members and supporters of the PDP to ignore this distraction as we prepare to host a convention that will send a clear signal to Nigerians that the PDP is the only party that has the will and the might to rescue Nigeria from the catastrophe that we have been enduring for the past six years.
“We are aware that a clearly united PDP is a threat to the forces that seek to divide us. Therefore, we urge our teeming supporters nationwide to keep the faith as we are taking all necessary measures to ensure that we will not be distracted from our goal.
“We are determined to strengthen our party structure and put in the work needed to unify and restore our great nation back on the path to economic prosperity and greatness.
“We therefore urge all party faithful to continue to rally support as we prepare to host our National Convention on October 30 and 31, 2021.”
Reports last night indicated that leading members of PDP in Anambra State are now at loggerheads over the National Working Committee (NWC) post zoned to the state with former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi’s group being accused of imposing a candidate on the state chapter for national auditor. Opposed to Obi’s camp is the group led by former national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, which has vowed not to succumb to the whims and caprices of the PDP presidential running mate in the 2019 election.
Obi has the support of Senator Uche Ekwunife and the PDP vice chairman, SouthEast, Chief Ali Odefa, who are putting forward as the consensus candidate the name of Obi Okechukwu, which the opposition claimed is not known to the party. It was gathered that a stakeholders meeting where the issue was discussed, generated heated argument with Odefa insisting that Okechukwu had been selected as the candidate against the vehement opposition of the Metuh group. Apart from Okechukwu, two other aspirants in the race for the post in the October 30-31 national convention are Hon. Mrs. Chibuogwu Benson-Oraelosi, and Prince Samben Nwosu, a former state organizing/state publicity secretary.
One of the Anambra PDP stakeholders and former organising secretary in the state, Chief Amaechi Onowu, affirmed that there had been no consensus on the national auditor post in Anambra chapter.
He described the declaration by Odefa as a complete nullity adding that there is no way a person, who is a “stranger and unknown to PDP members”, put forward by persons from outside Anambra, can represent the state at the NWC.
He said: “Upon my embarrassing receipt of the Press Statement by Chief Odefa, I inquired to know how and when the consensus agreement was reached, only to discover that one of the PDP leaders from Anambra State connived with some leaders outside Anambra state to impose the so-called Mr. Obi Okechukwu on our great party members.
The said Mr. Obi Okechukwu has never been an executive or major stakeholder of the party at either the ward, LGA or state level, but just a personal associate of the leader.” Also speaking on the matter, a PDP chieftain in the state, Chief Obinna Okafor, stated that Anambra had resolved to bring a party person for the position. Okafor maintained that Okechukwu’s credential is best suited for external auditor and not for membership of the NWC, especially as he has no knowledge of party affairs.
Another prominent PDP member in Anambra Princess Ifeoma Anazodo, in her reaction, called on stakeholders in the state to project Mrs. Benson-Oraelosi, as a women and get her elected to show that it is not a question of “monkey de work, baboon dey chop.” Sources close to the meeting held in a Enugu revealed that following the disagreement between the two groups, Governor Ifeanyi Uguanyi has urged the party leaders in Anambra to meet again to come up with a consensus candidate for the position. In another development, as the final countdown to the national convention of the PDP begins, state chapters have stepped efforts to cement all cracks at all levels.
The initiative is against the backdrop of crisis in a number of state chapters following the disputes over the recent congresses at local government and state levels.
With few days to the October 30 and 31 convention, Mr. Sunday Eguabor and David Esenudo, the ward chairman and secretary respectively of the PDP in Isi North, Uhunomwode Local Government of Edo State are opposed to Governor Godwin Obaseki over his nomination of Mr Timothy Osadolor for the post of national deputy youth leader of the party. In a letter addressed to the National Chairman, PDP Screening Committee and signed by the ward chairman and secretary of PDP in the home ward of the nominee, they alleged that Osadolor’s name does not exist in the party’s register in the locality, a major criterion for holding a party position.
The issue may not be unconnected with the tussle for the control of the party between the old and new PDP, who defected with Obaseki from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP shortly before the last governorship election last year.
The PDP governors in the South-South had, during a party’s meeting, agreed to cede the position which was zoned to the South-South to Edo.
A party source claimed that Edo PDP chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi had agreed to concede the slot to the governor in his capacity as the leader of the party in the state to nominate a candidate for the vacant position.
The source added that the ward leaders were, however, at odds with the governor for unilaterally nominating and forwarding Osadolor who hails from Uhunomwode local government of the state to the national screening committee of the party for clearance for the position.
The nominee is presently occupying number 27 on the list of aspirants cleared by the party for the National convention. Eguabor and Esenudo insisted that the nominee was not a bonafide member of the party and as such his nomination should not be accepted by the main opposition party screening committee.
Reports from Akwa Ibom, however, indicated that disagreements over the zoning of the governorship slot in 2023, with some national lawmakers against Governor Udom Emmanuel. But the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Mr Emmanuel Enoidem, was quick to counter such position, arguing that “power rotation in the state has always been on the basis of senatorial district, rather than on federal constituency arrangement”.
Speaking to Nigerian Tribune on the phone, on Sunday, the state PDP publicity secretary, Comrade Borono Bassey, dismissed the feuds as “not holding water”, explaining that such issues would be settled on the round table before the convention. “Before the convention, all issues will be settled for the party in Akwa Ibom state to go to the convention and join other states to chart a common front towards ushering in a new era of PDP across states and the centre in 2023”, he assured.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Judiciary has denied the rumour presently making the rounds in the state that one of its judges restrained the national vice chairman, South-South, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Osi Orbih, a member of the House of Representatives, Dr Ogbeide Ihama and others from participating in the party’s national convention scheduled for October 30 and 31.
In a disclaimer dated October 23, 2021 with Our Ref. No. EDJ/PRO.2021/Vol.11/130 issued and signed by the Chief Registrar, Mr. H. O. Osawaru, he explained that there was no iota of truth in the media and online publications.
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