PDP; a house divided against itself

The end is not in sight to various crises rocking some chapters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the divisions in its Anambra and Ogun states’ chapters worsened yesterday.

In fact, the PDP disowned the position of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and its South East governors on the Anambra State PDP executives.

The party’s national secretariat declared null and void a decision of its South-East zone removing the executive led by Uchenna Emodi.

In Ogun State, an attempt to find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis rocking the PDP chapter suffered another setback as a peace meeting brokered by the national leadership ended in confusion in Abeokuta yesterday.

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and four other members in her team stormed out of the meeting, which Governor Gbenga Daniel was presiding over before any serious discussion could begin.

A statement issued in Abuja by the national publicity secretary of the party, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said the zonal chapter cannot upturn any decision taken by the PDP’s National Working Committee (NWC).

It noted that the NWC had earlier recognized Emodi as the chapter’s chairman until there was another congress.

The statement reads: “The attention of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has been drawn to reports in the media purporting that the Anambra State Executive Committee of the party led by Mr. Uchenna Emodi has been dissolved by the South East Zonal stakeholders of the party. The PDP wishes to state categorically that the said Forum which held its meeting in Enugu does not have the power to override the decision of the NWC to recognize the Uchenna Emodi led Executive Committee in Anambra State.

“Indeed, the decisions of the NWC as a matter of procedure cannot be reviewed or set aside by any of the zones. Besides, the Forum, though attended by respectable leaders of our party, does not enjoy recognition by the constitution and therefore cannot legislate upon, or upturn decisions duly taken by the NWC on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the party.”

“Consistent with our determination to entrench internal democracy and party discipline, we wish to make it clear that the Executive Committee led by Uchenna Emodi remains the only recognized EXCO and must continue to discharge its duties.”

Following the ruling of a High Court in Anambra state recognizing the Emodi-led executive, after a long drawn legal battle, the NWC took its decision on the issue a few months ago.

Reacting to the development, a PDP leaders in Anambra state, Dr. Harry Oranezi, lauded the NWC. He described the meeting in Enugu where some top PDP members, including Dr. Ekwueme, Governors Sullivan Chime and Ikedi Ohakim of Enugu and Imo states as well as other party stalwarts took the decision, as a social gathering.

He remarked: “What happened in Enugu was a social gathering, although no refreshment was served. We should have courage to play according to the rules of PDP.”

At the meeting in Enugu, it was reportedly resolved that the solution to the crisis in the state was to dissolve the executive led by Emodi.

In Ogun State, the bone of contention that led to the walkout was the number of representatives from both sides at the meeting.

Speaking to reporters on their action that received immediate condemnation from the state party leaders, Obasanjo-Bello said she and her team arrived for a genuine reconciliation but that their efforts were frustrated.

A former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye led Obasanjo-Iyabo and her colleagues to the talks. After the departure of Obasanjo-Bello and her colleagues, Martins-Kuye and Chief Dayo Abatan continued the meeting with the Governor and his team till the end.

The meeting, held behind closed doors at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, started at about 11.35 a.m.

Martins-Kuye led other representatives of the council including Chief Dayo Abatan, Chief Olalekan Ojo, Senator Tunde Osholake, erstwhile Senior Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Doyin Okupe , Obasanjo-Bello, Alhaji Waliu Taiwo and Mr. Dapo Adeyemi, the secretary of the Elders Council’s group.

The governor’s group comprised the State PDP Chairman, Joju Fadairo; party secretary, Chief Pegba Otemolu; Water Resources Commissioner Kola Onadipe; Daniel’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Yomi Majekodunmi and the party’s Director of Organisation, Mr. Deji Kalejaiye.

Chief Niyi Adegbenro, Senator Ayo Otegbola, Chief Kola Ogunjobi, Col. Emma Soda (rtd), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, Chief Bode Mustapha and Chief Derin Adebiyi,

Obasanjo-Bello spoke further: “The national leadership of the party which asked us to hold the meeting insisted that each side (Governor’s and Kuye’s sides) should have seven representatives each but the governor’s had 14 representatives.”

According to her, Osholake was raising an objection to this when Onadipe interrupted him in a manner her team found unacceptable, resulting in a hot exchange of words between the two camps.

She alleged that at that point, her team decided to leave the meeting, adding: “The securitymen locked the door against us but we forced our way out. I was here for a genuine reconciliation.”

The meeting however continued till the end with Senator Martins-Kuye and Chief Dayo Abatan representing Obasanjo-Bello’s side.

Asked about how the meeting went, Martins-Kuye simply said: “It ended on a positive note.”

He declined further comments.

Later at a press briefing, Fadairo admitted that there was a contention over representation.

He explained, however, that while they were trying to harmonize it, Osholake made some unpleasant remarks which Onadipe objected to and that resulted in an argument leading to the walkout.

He insisted that it was not true that Onadipe attempted to attack Obasanjo-Bello physically as she alleged.

Fadairo saw the action of Obasanjo-Bello as an “act of indiscipline which the party would not condone” but look into seriously and take appropriate action on.

Onadipe also told reporters that he thought the walkout was improper since it was at a meeting being presided over by the governor but denied that he attempted to attack her.

Several attempts at both state and the national levels to solve the crisis, which began in May last year, hit the rocks.

Source: Guardian