2023: Implications of PDP’s internal crisis ahead national convention
Some chieftains and stakeholders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have expressed concern that the internal wrangling besetting the party is capable of working against its determination to take back power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
They also warn against the party going to the National Convention a divided house.
The main opposition party has been embroiled in internal leadership crisis, resulting in court cases.
An Appeal Court would on Thursday hear and rule on motion for interim order of injunction brought by former national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, against the party and others.
The outcome of the ruling, observers say, could make or mar the party’s planned national convention.
Speaking with BusinessDay on the implications of the wrangling and future of the party, Taoffick Gani, PDP publicity secretary, Lagos State, notes: “Whatever way you see it, it portends danger if we don’t put our house in order. If we are not able to reconcile this and there is a Court judgment at the end of the day the ruling party would take advantage and continue. The leaders of the party have to sit down with Secondus and resolve these issues. Looking at the way it is going, it is the party members that would suffer; they should find a way to settle, that is the message from us.”
According to Gani, “If the national convention is held and the Court comes to abort it, it would affect the future of the party and ability to compete.”
Ebenezer Babatope, a former minister of transport and chieftain of the PDP, says: “There is nobody that loves the PDP that is happy with what is going on now ahead of the national convention; but if you look around the world there would always be disagreement in party politics. It is not in PDP alone, even the ruling party is having its issues.
“But the PDP has made up its mind to win the 2023 election for Nigerians, because the suffering in the land is too much for Nigerians to bear. Unity is always on the field, we are going to surmount the inner party crisis which is for power struggle, and come out bigger ahead 2023.”
Ayo Fadaka, a former zonal publicity secretary of the party in the South West, faults the leadership selection process of the party.
“As a party man, I am not comfortable with what is happening now. We are fighting against APC that is well oiled. I am not sure there is sincerity with the recruitment process that is going on now to recruit those that will lead the party in the next four years. The party that is in the opposition that is futuristic is now dragging itself into all manner of crises. There is fire on the mountain,” Fadaka says.
The former zonal publicity secretary also blames some unstable individuals who are always moving from one party to another as part of the problems.
“In this party, we all have rights and privileges. We should be careful how we run this party. Many of us are thinking about a country that is well run. As a party in opposition, at this point, I don’t think we should revel in pettiness. Today, there are many politicians that are very mobile. Only a few are interested to build a formidable party. If we as party men are serious about our intentions, we need to do everything possible to stabilise our great party,” he says further.
Sanni Umar, a former spokesperson, Presidential Campaign Council of the party, notes lack of respect for party constitution and the imposition of candidates in the guise of “consensus” are dangerous for the future of the PDP.
“One of the many problems our party has is about not following constitution. There is nowhere in our constitution that talks about consensus, but we are always talking about consensus. The storms are gathering. It will rain, but we must be prepared,” he says.
On the recent disqualification of three aspirants by the party’s screening committee on the excuse that the individuals took the party to court, Umar notes that such decisions were dangerous for the party.
“Nobody had disciplined them or set any committee on that allegation to find out what really happened; to have said they were found guilty and screened out is not the right thing to do. The screening committee should not be the accuser, the judge and executioner at the same time. There should have been a committee report upon which the screening committee would have relied on its decision,” Umar states.
According to the party chieftain, “The three persons that were screened out and accused of taking the party to court were merely challenging the sack of Secondus. They were saying that Secondus should be allowed to complete the convention. They did not do anything wrong. They wanted to whip the party into line to do what is right.
“The powers that are controlling the party now do not want Secondus to preside over the convention, but his tenure statutorily ends at the end of December this year, and the convention was supposed to come up that same month, but they decided to shift it forward, and it was targeting at something.”
Eddy Olafeso, one of the disqualified aspirants and the party’s former national vice chairman (South west), says he had no regret supporting Secondus. Olafeso, who was aspiring to become the PDP national publicity secretary, expresses concern over the future of the party.
Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP national publicity secretary, had said that nothing would stop the convention from holding.