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PDP Crisis Deepens As Governors, NEC Members Rally Round Secondus

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There seems no end in sight to the travails of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as a fresh crisis has erupted over chairmanship of the party.

The crisis, Vanguard learnt yesterday, may play in favour of embattled party chair, Uche Secondus, as he may secure a fresh four-year tenure with the backing of some governors, NEC and BoT members.
The PDP crisis also took another turn as Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday lampooned the PDP National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu, retd, accusing him of destroying the party in Abia for alleged selfish interest.
Vanguard also gathered yesterday that some members of the party in the South-West may have thrown their hats in the ring to contest the chairmanship election if the convention planning committee zones the position to the region.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the NWC will hold today where a decision on the constitution of the convention planning committee will be taken and forwarded to NEC for ratification.

The NEC earlier scheduled to hold this week is now likely to hold next week.Govs, NEC members may back Secondus for 2nd term

Secondus, who has endured months of internal wrangling within the party, had a difficult time a fortnight ago as seven national officers who were later joined by some members of the National Working Committee, NWC, threatened to quit the party, having seen calls for the chairman’s resignation met with stiff resistance.
Vanguard gathered that to ensure a peaceful resolution of the crisis, leaders of the party, after an expanded meeting at the party’s national secretariat, resolved to bring the convention forward to October; an arrangement that appeared to have pacified both parties.Recent developments, however, indicate that far from being an orphan left in the lurch, some governors in sync with prominent members of the National Executive Committee, NEC, want Secondus to continue and are working behind the scenes to drum support for him in the convention that is barely two months away.



A highly-placed source and Secondus loyalist, who spoke with Vanguard in confidence yesterday said the turn of events might be in connection with the popular belief that those who wanted the chairman to go were out to feather their nests.


The party leader, who is familiar with the workings of the party, said: “I am aware that some governors whose names we won’t disclose for now are solidly behind the chairman.


They know that he is being made a scapegoat and have resolved to support him.



“However, the chairman has not told anyone of his intention yet. They want him to say he is interested to enable them rally around him.


The governors are not working alone as leaders, drawn from the various organs of the party, are with him.


“I didn’t say all the governors and I didn’t say all the leaders. Some are with him and some are against him.



That is perfectly normal.”You know politics is a game of numbers and interest. Those who are against him today may change their minds and vice versa.



But if you are talking about support, I can tell you that some prominent members of the party, including a former governor, are already reaching out to ensure that Secondus keeps the party going.”On the merits of Secondus continuing in office, he said: “Before the defections of governors and some of our leaders, everyone was praising the chairman.


But it was not his fault that these people left. “Ask an average Nigerian; he or she will tell you that those governors who left have something to hide.


They didn’t leave the PDP because they had an issue with Secondus.”


Selfish politicians deceiving Secondus — NEC member


But a member of NEC of the PDP, who craved anonymity, said those advising the incumbent chairman to seek a return to office at the expiration of his tenure do not wish him well.



The NEC member said Secondus would do himself a world of good by not falling into the temptation of “believing the lies of people who think he is the best thing to have happened to the PDP since its formation in 1998.”


He said: “I can tell you that those clamouring for our chairman to continue want to push and abandon him.


They want to see him fail so that they will have the last laugh. Truth is that Secondus has not done badly. He has done very well but the forces against him are potent and he can’t survive them.



“It is because he did fairly well that leaders of the party across the board agreed to let him stay on, provided the convention holds earlier than December.



“But let me add that in the spirit of give and take, Secondus will play a big part in determining who succeeds him.



If, for instance, he recommends candidate XYZ, the party may consider such a choice, provided such a person comes from the zone the party agrees on and he is a loyal party member with the capacity to strengthen and unite the party ahead of 2023.”



Fayose, Oyinlola, others may contest


There are, however, strong indications that the South-West may be gearing up towards producing the chairman of the party, if the convention planning committee decides to zone the position to the region.


Vanguard was reliably informed that the NEC of the party may not give Secondus another shot at the chairmanship because “the power backing him has withdrawn support for the embattled chairman.



“The source, who spoke with Vanguard, said: “As you well know, the crisis is gearing towards the 2023 election and people are trying to position themselves.



The argument is the tenure of Secondus and his team will expire in December but the convention has been brought to October and it is most likely that Secondus may not re-contest.



“I don’t think so and if he decides to run, his major supporter, Governor Wike, has backed down.



“What the party is trying to do is look in the direction of the South-West. I know that some people in the South-West, such as former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, are likely contenders.”



Talks on zoning chairmanship position premature—Odeyemi



Meanwhile, ahead of the national elective convention, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Diran Odeyemi, has said it is premature to start talking about which zone to produce the next national chairman.



Odeyemi noted that the PDP is yet to constitute a committee that will plan a hitch-free convention for the party two months from now.



Speaking with  Vanguard, Odeyemi noted that though the South-West geo-political zone made a valid claim to the chairmanship in 2017, division within the ranks of its leaders scuttled the aspiration.



He said: “It is not true that the party is already deliberating on where to zone the chairmanship to. You will recall that only recently, our leaders, made up of governors, past and serving, National Assembly members, including members of the party’s Board of Trustees and National Executive Committee, NEC, resolved to set up a broad-based committee to plan a convention for the party.



“To the best of my knowledge, until that committee is formally inaugurated and starts the meeting, all talks about zoning the chairmanship here and there are speculative.



“However, if the party settles for the South-West, I believe our leaders have learnt their lessons. In 2017, we had many aspirants, about seven of them from that zone.



This weakened their aspiration and people were left wondering why we couldn’t put our house in order. “If they are picked this time, I am sure they will be guided by this history and do the right thing.”



Wike tackles Akobundu


In another twist, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State yesterday lambasted the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Col. Austin Akobundu, retd, accusing him of destroying the party in Abia because of his selfish interest.Wike, who took the retired soldier to the cleaners when he featured on an AIT programme, accused Akobundu of chasing the lawmaker representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency, Mr. Sam Onuigbo, out of the PDP.

Both Akobundu and Onuigbo are from Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State but different political wards.

Wike, who expressed bitterness over selfish tendencies and greed of some NWC members, accused Akobundu of chasing Onuigbo out of PDP over his (Akobundu’s) alleged governorship ambition.He said: “All you want is you, you, you. How will you deny a National Assembly member his ward executive because you are running for governorship and you feel he may not likely support you?“

I mean a NASS member was denied his ward. I say ward executive, not even local government executive, and that guy has now left the party because you want to run for governorship and you believe he may not likely support you. For Christ’s sake, what is ward executive?


How can ward executive deny you of your governorship ambition?“Now you have made us lose that member because of your selfish interest.



How can I, as a governor, have a senator and I will deny him the executive in his ward probably because I feel that that senator wants to run for governorship?



“What is wrong if a senator wants to run for governorship? Does having his ward executive confer governorship on him?”



PDP needs new NWC to win 2023 polls —Wike



In another forum, Governor Wike, yesterday, insisted that the present party’s  NWC cannot lead the party to victory in the 2023 general elections, hence the quest for its replacement.



Speaking on a national television in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the governor said: “If you go to the public and ask Nigerians if PDP is ready to take over power in 2023, if you take referendum, you will know that Nigerians are even waiting for PDP.



But the fear of Nigerians is whether PDP is ready to take over power. So, people are concerned about it. Obviously, it is ripe for PDP to take over, but you must be prepared to take over.



“And we said with what we have now, it will be difficult to take over power in 2023 if there are no amendments. Leadership was the problem.


The point is this, the current NWC, as it is today, cannot lead the party to victory. Nobody has said they have not done well, one way or the other, but we are talking about the challenges ahead.


“That is why we are pushing for the party to have other people to lead and give it a different strength altogether. If you know APC, you know that you need a robust, determined leadership of the party (PDP) to make sure you match them word by word, action by action.”
Stop advertising your ignorance, Ikwuano PDP caucus tells Wike


But in a swift reaction, the Ikwuano PDP caucus berated Wike, asking him to stop advertising his ignorance of the subject matter.

Chairman of the caucus, Rear Admiral Ralph Osondu, retd, said that Onuigbo was not chased out of the PDP by Akobundu but left the party on his own volition, probably on wrong advice.


The caucus, which denied any knowledge of Akobundu’s governorship ambition, advised Wike to “restrict himself to the political affairs of Rivers State and stop dabbling into issues he is not properly informed about in other states.”Osondu said: “Abia has a sitting governor who is the leader of the party in the state.



Nyesom Wike should stop interfering in the political affairs of Ikwuano LGA in particular and Abia State in general.”Caucus members at the press conference included the LGA Chairman, Chief Stephen Mpamugo; for-mer Commissioner for Housing, Theophilus Ugboaja; Chief Anthony Osuwa; Ngozi Orji; Elder Henry Nwoha, among others.
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