PDP In ‘Make Or Mar’ NEC Meeting This Week Over Division, Leadership Tussle

pdp Peoples Democratic Party

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders have a crucial meeting this week, which could either exacerbate or mend the crisis rocking the opposition camp.

Naijaonpoint understands that the PDP’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting is slated for Thursday, April 18, 2023, barring any unforeseen changes.

The meeting will be preceded by a caucus meeting on Tuesday, April 16, followed by a gathering of the members of the Board of Trustees, BoT, on Wednesday, April 17.

Insights from certain party leaders indicate that the agenda for the meeting will cover various contentious issues such as party discipline, preparations for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections later in the year, and maintaining party unity.

Additionally, there are reports that discussions will also touch on the sensitive topic of potential mergers with opposition parties and the role that the PDP should play in such scenarios.

Notably, a party leader revealed to Vanguard that while the year 2027 is not officially on the agenda, there may be subtle references or hints towards it during the discussions.

“I can tell you, there are talks in different quarters about how our party should approach 2027 and whether or not there should be a clean break from vestiges of the past or whether we can bring about harmony such that the wisdom of the old and the dynamism of our younger leaders would put us in good stead, going forward.

“I’m sure you’re also aware of the talks about a possible merger of opposition parties in the country,” the party chieftain, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the press.

Rift Between PDP Governors Along Regional Lines

Naijaonpoint reports that the PDP currently has 13 state governors, with eight hailing from the South and five from the North.

In the Southern region, the governors are as follows: Akwa Ibom, Governor Umo Eno; Bayelsa State, Governor Douye Diri; Delta State, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori; Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki; Enugu State, Governor Peter Mbah; Osun State, Governor Ademola Adeleke; Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde; and Rivers State, Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

On the other hand, the party’s governors from the Northern region include Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State, Governor Agbu Kefas of Taraba State, and Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State.

Insiders suggest that the potential division within the party could be attributed to power dynamics and the pursuit of political aspirations in the upcoming 2027 general election.

This includes positioning for roles such as the presidential contest, senate race, or even a ministerial appointment in a potential second term under President Bola Tinubu.

It is worth noting that three out of the 13 governors will not be eligible for re-election in 2027 – namely Fintiri, Mohammed, and Makinde.

The current tenure of the Edo State governor will conclude on Tuesday, November 12, this year, while Governor Adeleke of Osun will complete his first term on Friday, November 27, 2026.

Lastly, Governor Diri of Bayelsa is expected to finish his second term on Monday, February 14, 2028.

The Tinubu Factor

According to Vanguard, sources in the know asserted that certain governors, especially those from the South, are standing firm in their decision not to switch from PDP to APC.

However, the efforts made by President Tinubu to ensure that the South receives its fair share of infrastructure are being recognized and appreciated by some.

His call for political unity to enhance Nigeria’s greatness is also gaining the support of several of our governors.

“Yet, the issue of the 2027 presidential race is waxing divisive between some governors and party leaders from the North on the one hand and their southern counterparts,” one of the sources disclosed.

It was further stated that “former President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years which dealt a severe blow to the entitlement mentality of many politicians across the board, his style of governance which abhorred inclusivity even among northern elites and the fact that the last president of PDP extraction from the North was the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua whose tenure ended in May 2010, are factors that make some PDP leaders from the North insist on getting back the presidency in 2027.”

As one of the BoT members while responding to a question from journalists, said: “The meetings this week will determine how we proceed as a political party. If calmer heads prevail, we should emerge stronger. But if people are not careful, don’t be surprised if we end up with northern PDP governors and Southern PDP governors.”

Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Benue Northeast senatorial district in the national assembly, Senator Gabriel Suswam, has asserted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is under a unified leadership and has no other faction elsewhere.

Naijaonpoint reports that the former governor of Benue State asserted this in reaction to recent speculations suggesting that the major opposition party has split into two factions.

Reports claimed that the PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar, and his followers constitute one faction, while the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, and his supporters form the other faction.

Nonetheless, Suswam informed the press in Abuja over the weekend that Atiku remains the sole leader of the party.

“I don’t think there are camps in PDP. We have just one PDP and all we are saying is that let us have a strong leadership.

“Wike is the Minister of FCT and he is working with the president, I don’t think he has a camp. Atiku remains the leader of our party.

“By being the presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku is automatically the leader of the party who every member should look up to,” Suswam said during a press briefing.

Allow Me To Complete Ayu’s Tenure

Suswam, who is confident in his experience and leadership abilities to guide the party to new heights, has formally requested that the party appoint him as the national chairman.

The former Governor requested to take over the remaining tenure of Senator Iyorcha Ayu, who was removed from the position by a court order.

During a briefing in Abuja yesterday, Suswam emphasized his qualifications for the national chairmanship position of the PDP.

Having served the party in various capacities as a two-term governor of Benue, senator, and member of the House of Representatives, he believes he is well-suited for the role.

Given that the PDP has designated the chairmanship position to the North Central region, specifically Benue State, Suswam argues that it would be politically prudent to allow him, an experienced leader from the preferred zone, to step in and complete Ayu’s tenure.

Suswam firmly believes that allowing him to continue where Ayu left off will duly recognize the state and the zone for their significant contributions to the PDP’s stability.

He said: “We at the party level believe that the North Central should produce the next chairman as stipulated by the PDP constitution to complete its tenure.

‘The North central should not be shortchanged going by the precedent that has already been set by the party.

“I believe it is important to hear from me. It is just for me to let you know that I have consulted with people in the zone to complete Ayu’s tenure.

”It is not a national contest, something that should be done through consensus and understanding, based on the fact that the position was zoned to the North Central by the PDP.”

When questioned about whether he had discussed with Ayu, who was ousted from his position by a court ruling, the ex-governor confirmed that he had indeed spoken with Ayu and clarified that he had no intention of contesting his dismissal in court.

“Ayu is not in court, and I’ve spoken with him extensively, and he said he is no longer interested. He is not in court to challenge his ouster,” Suswam claimed.

He dismissed the notion that there were many camps in the PDP, arguing that all well-meaning PDP members recognised that Atiku Abubakar remained the party’s leader, having emerged as its presidential candidate.

He added: “I don’t think there are camps in PDP and we have one PDP. I don’t think Wike has a camp. Atiku was our presidential candidate and automatically the leader of the party.

“I don’t think G5 exists since they are no longer governors but ex-governors. It can now be referred to Ex-G5.”

Suswam stated that he intends to leverage his extensive political expertise in order to address the issues faced by the PDP and transform it into a formidable opposition party in Nigeria. His aim is to safeguard the nation from the ongoing economic and financial crises caused by the APC.

“We need a party to offer a better alternative to what we are facing in Nigeria today,” Suswam said.

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