The consensus arrangement adopted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the forthcoming National Convention may create more crises in the party. Sunday Telegraph gathered that some party leaders have described it as imposition in another way, which they alleged is being used to favour preferred candidates.
Party sources told Sunday Telegraph that almost the zones are having problems, and said it might lead to implosion, if not well handled. On the whole, 13 National Working Committee (NWC) positions, apart from deputy national offices, will be contested at the convention, which holds on October 30 and 31 in Abuja.
Following the adoption of the recommendation of the zoning committee headed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, by the National Executive Committee (NEC), the north is supposed to produce the National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman (1), National Organising Secretary, National Youth Leader, National Treasurer and National Legal Adviser.
On the other hand, Deputy National Chairman ((2), National Secretary, Deputy National Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, National Financial Secretary, National Woman Leader and National Auditor, go to the South. But it was gathered that the micro-zoning has been hijacked and used to settle some loyalists. According to the source: “The issue of national chairman is not settled. Northern Muslims are still protesting.
They accused Christians of hijacking the process.” Several meetings were held before the north finally settled for former President of the Senate Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, as a consensus candidate. North Central has so far produced five PDP National Chairman since the party was created.
Ayu’s emergence will make it six. Other zones in the regions are reportedly not happy with the development. The source disclosed that was why it was made clear that his emergence will not obstruct the north from contesting the presidency.
It is however in the South that the party will run into more problems. Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, was accused of unilaterally handpicking former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, for the National Deputy Chairmanship.
He was being challenged by party leaders in Osun who, after their meeting, put forward immediate former National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo. South West was microzoned Deputy National Chairman (2), Deputy National Secretary and National Publicity Secretary.
The two candidates are tearing the zone apart. It was not yet clear who may likely be chosen between Segun Sowonmi and Lere Olayinka for the position of National Publicity Secretary. The problem in the South East may likely see some party leaders in the zone leaving the party. The zone was given National Secretary and National Auditor.
The initial arrangement was for Anambra State to produce National Secretary while National Auditor goes to Imo State. A meeting by the zonal leaders held in Enugu last Thursday, reportedly ended in deadlock. But in a statement read by zonal Vice Chairman, Ali Odefa in Abakaliki on Friday, Senator Sam Anyanwu was announced as consensus candidate. Anyanwu was allegedly imposed on the zone by a South- South governor.
The Director General of PDP Governors’ Forum, Cyril Maduabum and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidioka, who were earlier being promoted as contenders, were schemed out. While some sources said the meeting ended in deadlock, other sources said a consensual decision was reached.
The bone of contention is sharing of National Working Committee positions zoned to South East, especially the national secretary and national auditor.
Whereas some sources said that former Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, was routing for Anambra to produce National Secretary in the person of Okey Muo-Aroh, while his former deputy, Gerald Irona, should be national auditor, others kicked against that and instead chose Sen Sam Daddy Anyanwu from Imo State to be National Secretary.
Sources within the caucus revealed that Ihedioha’s proposal was almost going to be endorsed until the meeting of Thursday when the table turned. There are speculations that the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, pulled some strings to get Sam Daddy endorsed as consensus candidate for national secretary.
Wike was said to be fighting to block Ihedioha, a known supporter of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. On the other hand, Sam Daddy is said to be a friend of Wike, and that he is practically living in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
To affirm, Sam Daddy’s endorsement, the National Vice Chairman, Southeast, Ali Odefa on Friday in Abakaliki issued a statement to the effect that the Thursday meeting in Enugu adopted Anyanwu as consensus candidate for position of national secretary.
But he was quickly countered on Saturday by Okey Muo Aroh who said that Southeast was yet to select a consensus candidate, saying that Odefa was on his own. He said: “The PDP in the Southeast by this honourable and uniting act has once again put its detractors who thought that the fortunes of the party will be destabilized by the ceding of the plum position to the zone.
“The PDP in the Southeast is now more than ever prepared and ready for the task ahead. “We are sincerely grateful to our leaders in the zone who despite their natural human differences have united and formed a common front in our avowed reclamation of the Southeast for our great party.
Aroh, described the statement credited to the party’s zonal chairman, Ali Odefa as personal opinion of those propagating their choice candidates. He said: “What he(Ali Odefa) said is a lie because there was no properly organized meeting of the party in the zone. “The PDP constitution created several organs through which the party meets and takes decisions. At the zonal level, you have Zonal Working Committee; you have the Zonal Executive Committee; you have the Zonal Caucus and you have what is called Expanded Zonal Caucus. “These are organs recognized by the PDP constitution through which the party at zonal levels can meet and take decisions. “What happened in Enugu is a meeting that is not recognized by the PDP constitution. Therefore, it cannot give any valid or binding decision on the party.”
As at the time of filling this report, there is no report yet from South-South for the two positions, National Woman Leader and National Financial Secretary, micro-zoned to it. PDP had fixed Monday, October 11 and Friday 15, for sale of nomination forms for the convention.
This was later extended to Sunday, October 17. But as at the close of work on Friday, none of aspirants, including the adopted consensus National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has obtained any form. Chairman of National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC) Governor Umaru Fintiri, had assured that the October date for the convention is sacrosanct. But there are strong feelings that the date may be shifted.
Adamawa, the home state of the governor, held its congress yesterday. Some people elected at the congress will be part of delegates to the national convention. The suspended PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, had wanted the convention to hold in November to enable the party complete some activities leading to the convention.