The main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership crisis was aggravated by the antagonistic positions of the competing forces on zoning of party offices and the 2023 presidential ticket, it was learnt.
The party’s governors are meeting today in Abuja to deliberate on the lingering disagreement to chart a path towards a solution.
Yesterday, prominent party chieftains, including members of the National Working Committee (NWC) resolved to back Elder Yemi Akinwonmi as acting chairman in accordance with party constitution.
Party youths under the aegis of the PDP Youths Movement, led by Salaudeen Lukman, warned that the party might not bounce back to power in 2023, should the crisis persist.
According to a source, anti-Uche Secondus forces want the suspended national chairman to vacate office to prevent him from taking charge of the preparations for the convention, particularly the composition of the Convention Planning Committee.
According to The Nation newspaper, it is believed that the composition of the Convention Committee will solidify Secondus’ influence and hold on the processes that will lead to the emergence of new National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC), the source added.
Confirming today’s PDP governors’ meeting, Director-General, PDP Governors’ Forum, C.I.D Maduabum, said in a statement that the emergency meeting was summoned by its Chairman and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, in consultation with his colleagues.
Read Also: You were a student when zoning agreement was reached, Ohanaeze slams Gov Bello
He said the meeting slated for 5pm would discuss recent developments in the party.
The forum enjoined PDP members and stakeholders to exercise patience as efforts were on to ensure the stability of the party in the days ahead.
Many members of the NWC yesterday resolved to back Akinwonmi as acting chairman.
The decision has put paid to claims by the Deputy National Chairman (North), Suleiman Nazif who on Tuesday, declared himself Acting Chairman.
A source said NWC members were unanimous in their decision to recognise Akinwonmi as Acting Chairman.
Akinwonmi, who resumed office on Wednesday, had a meeting with some members of the NWC in the chairman’s office located on the second floor of the national secretariat.
The meeting, which lasted for about one hour, ended at about 5.35pm. Some of the NWC members who attended the meeting included the National Secretary, Senator Umar Tsauri, the Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu; National Youth Leader, Sunday Udeh-Okoye; National Treasurer, Adewale Aribisala; and the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
According to the source, the NWC members will take a common position that would be presented at the NEC meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
The source however, declined comments on whether or not Nazif, who did not attend the meeting, was privy to the decision to recognise Akinwonmi as Acting Chairman.
Calls to Nazif’s mobile telephone number did not connect. A text message sent to him seeking his comments had not been responded to at the time of filing this report.
Another group, “PDP Action 2023”, urged former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to work with other stakeholders in finding lasting solutions to the leadership crisis.
In a statement by its chairman, Rufus Omeire, the group called on Atiku to drop his purported interest in the 2023 contest and lead the efforts to rebuild and reposition the party for future elections.
Party youth leader Lukman, in a statement, warned that the crisis may consume the party ahead of the 2023 poll.
He attributed the crisis to the antics of external forces sponsored by the ruling party to destabilise PDP.
Lukman said: “A similar style was adopted, prior to the 2015 general election, towards the tail end of Alh Bananga Tukur regime as National Chairman. An externally-sponsored crisis threw the party into internal crisis, which degenerated to the extent it later paved way for a mole into Wadata Plaza who further destabilised PDP to enable the APC win the 2015 general elections.”
He added: “We were terrified by the news of a court order secured by purported PDP members from Rivers State, who are obviously serving the interest of the ruling APC against the outgoing national chairman of our dear party Uche Secondus.”