• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Battle for PDP’s soul as party holds crucial NEC meeting today

PDP

The political intrigues over who takes over as the next National Chairman of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seems to have eased with the reported withdrawal of the case files by outgoing national Chairman, Iyorcha Ayu, a decision that may pave way for the emergence of former Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam, as the next PDP national Chairman.

Under the prevailing arrangements, the party had zones it’s National Chairmanship position to the North Central.

Should the party decides to revert to status quo, the party may prevail on current acting National Chairman, Iliya Damagun to quite, which may pave way for the emergence of Suswam, the sole contender from the North Central.

NEC will resolve chairmanship issues- Governors

This is just as the Governors on Wednesday, said all issues around the position of the PDP national Chairman will be resolved on Thursday by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.

Ayu’s action is seen as a “master stroke” and a show of Party patriotism and commitment, as the withdrawal of all his pending Appeals at the Court of Appeal, eased tension created by the crises that followed his removal from office.

The notice of withdrawal of appeal tagged CA/MK/88/2024 SUIT NO: MHC/85/2023 dated April 15, made available to journalists, the Court of Appeal of Nigeria in Makurdi, Benue State capital, revealed that Ayu has withdrawn the appeal against the respondents filed on the 27th day of June 2023 via Notice of Appeal dated the 26th day of June 2023.

The lawsuit which was between Ayu (Appellant) and Terhide Utaan and the PDP as the respondent, read in part, “Take notice that the appellant herein intends and doth hereby wholly withdraw the appeal against the respondents filed on the 27th day of June 2023 vide Notice of Appeal dated the 26th day of June 2023.”

Reacting to the news, the G60 People Democratic Party lawmakers in the 10th National Assembly commended Iyorchia Ayu, for withdrawing a lawsuit, noting that the action that made the Acting Chairman, Umar Damagun refuse to step down until the withdrawal of all cases pave way for him to hand over to North Central.

According to the G60 PDP federal lawmakers led by Ikenga Ugochinyere, representing Ideato Constituency in the House of Representatives, Ayu’s action has removed the last bottleneck and excuse been given by Damagun to hang on to power and opened the express way without any excuse for Damagun to revert back to his position as Deputy Chairman.

Recall that the party had been engrossed in a battle of wits between groups loyal to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, over who controls the party structures.

BusinessDay checks show that while Ilya Damagun continues to enjoy the backing of the Wike group, the other group loyal to Atiku Abubakar is said to be sponsoring former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam
The lawmakers who have been clamouring for reform of the party including the resignation of the acting chairman, Umar Damagun, stated that with this withdrawal, PDP NEC will proceed with the election of North Central candidate as National Chairman, during their NEC meeting tomorrow.

They insisted that despite the plot of rogues in the party working for the All Progressive Congress, APC, the stepdown of Damagun is irreversible.

Damagum who has been acting as the National Chairman, had on Wednesday, led the members of the (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) to interact with the PDP National Ex-officio ahead of the National Executive Council Meeting, tomorrow.

Immediately after the meeting with the Ex-officio, they went into another meeting with the State Party Chairman’s from the 36 States, including FCT Abuja.

The meetings were held at the NEC Hall, PDP National Secretariat in Wadata Plaza, Wuse Zone 5, in Abuja.

As the meetings was going on, the PDP Governors, under the aegis of the PDP Governors Forum, also met under the leadership of Governor Bala Mohammed, of Bauchi State, at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Wednesday.

BusinessDay gathered that the Governors have resolved to take full control of the party, to avoid crises that may break the party.

A source close to the PDP Governors Forum told BusinessDay that the Governors are aware of plans to “break the party and split it”

“ The Governors are not unmindful of the intent of some people who want to hijack the party, break it and weaken its role as a strong opposition party and that is why, they ( the Governors) are leaving nothing to chance

“ They are the leaders of the party partly because we do not have a President and also because they are the major source of funding for the party”

A communique at the end of the meeting said the Governors deliberated on various issues of interest and concern to the Forum and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including review of recent developments in the Peoples Democratic Party and urged the National Working Committee of the Party to set in motion the machinery to conduct credible congresses in all the States where tenures of Party officers have expired.

The Governors declared that there are no factions in the PDP, adding that “everybody is working together”

“ We equally want to use this opportunity to reaffirm that in Rivers State, the Governors would work assiduously towards resolving all the issues in the State with a view to uniting all the Stakeholders.

Mohammed while speaking on the contentious issue of the Chairmanship of the party, stated that the NEC will resolve the issue on Thursday.

“We have been resolved all issues and we are looking forward to doing everything within the constitutional provision of the party. It is NEC that is preceding this meeting to discuss about change of leadership.

“We are talking about resolving all the issues and going forward, so that at the end of the day, the timeliness allowed in the constitution for Congresses and what have you, would have been done. But certainly the public are free to permutate, to discuss and off course NEC will decide on some of these issues.

“There is no any contending forces, who is NEC, NEC is the PDP Governors Forum and other stakeholders, so we are just a portion of NEC, we cannot talk on behalf of NEC until we get there.

He insisted that the NEC will take decisions on such issues and not the Governors.

“ I know the Governors normally takes leadership position, but we have an acting person in leadership capacity leading the party and NEC will decide weather it is time to fill the vacancy looking at the legal implications of doing that, knowing that they are so many lingering litigations in court and of course we don’t want to disparage ourselves, because we know that there are some mauraders hiding somewhere trying to factionalize our party and take one faction to go and do coalition.

“ We are not going to allow that as governors. We are very responsible and we are very credible and we make sure we are resolve all the issues and unify the party for maximum efficiency and success in the next election”
As at the time of filing this report, the party caucus meeting was still going on at the Bauchi State Governors lodge Asokoro, with Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike in attendance.