Nigeria’s ruling party seems to be in a perpetual crisis.
A section of Peoples Democratic Party’s state chairmen has vowed to boycott a Thursday late night meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.
The irate state chairmen issued the threat after they were walked out of a preparatory meeting with the party’s chairman, Bamaga Tukur, Thursday.
A source close to the chairmen told PREMIUM TIMES the men were shocked when the party’s National chairman, Mr. Tukur, announced he would only meet with party leaders from states controlled by opposition parties, at the Legacy House Maitama, Abuja, venue of the preparatory meeting.
“It was so shocking he just asked all those from PDP controlled states to excuse them and as I speak to you now, he is meeting with only thirteen chairmen who are from states that have no PDP governors,” our source said shortly after the irate chairmen were made to leave the meeting hall.
The meeting with the 13 state chairmen from states not controlled by the PDP was still on as at 9.00 p.m Thursday.
Following the walkout, the state chairmen vowed not to attend the meeting with Mr. Jonathan, scheduled for for later at the presidential villa.
“The president can as well also meet with the thirteen chairmen,” one of the chairmen was quoted as saying.
Our source added that Mr. Tukur also cancelled a scheduled meeting with PDP governors.
Mr. Tukur has been having a running battle with PDP governors and some members of the National Working Committee of the party, particularly the embattled National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who has been temporarily replaced by his deputy following a court order.
The series of meetings were called preparatory to the meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, which is expected to be stormy following the ongoing power play among party leaders.
Pundits predict the NEC may lead to the ouster of Mr. Tukur, a reason the president is trying to pacify internal opposition prior to the meeting.
It was reported that the president also plans to meet with the G 84, a collection of voting members of NEC on Thursday night after meeting with the state chairmen of the party.
The PDP NEC is the second highest decision making organ of the party after the National Convention. Although the party’s constitution says the meeting should be held quarterly, the last time it was held was in July, 2012.
Some of the issues the NEC is expected to discuss include the Adamawa crisis, constitution of a disciplinary committee, and approval of the amended constitution of the party.
The NEC may also decide the fate of Mr. Tukur as party chairman.
Last week, the PDP chairman suffered a similar boycott. His decision to introduce the executive committee of his favourite PDP faction in Adamawa state to the Director General of the State Security Service, SSS, Ita Ekpenyong, angered members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party leading to a boycott.
“He called the meeting only after writing the letter to the DG of the SSS and wanted the NWC to ratify the decision, but members stayed away and only three persons came, so the meeting could not hold,” our source said.
Efforts to reach the spokesperson of the party, Olisa Metuh, for clarifications were unsuccessful. He neither answered nor returned our calls. He also did not respond to a text message sent to his telephone.
The meetings, to be presided by Mr. Jonathan, will hold late into the night at the presidential villa into the early hours of the morning.
It is not impossible that the chairmen will be persuaded to rescind their decision.