Barring any last minutes change in its plan, the new splinter group that broke out of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday will on Tuesday open a parallel secretariat in the Maitama District of Abuja.
Chairman of the faction, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday morning that invitations would be sent out to the media on Monday afternoon preparatory to the opening of the new secretariat on Tuesday.
“Our plan is to address the media and announce the names of other members of our National Working Committee at our own secretariat,” Mr. Baraje said on the telephone.
The factional chairman said the secretariat was ready and that it was now been equipped with “the needed paraphernalia of office”.
He however declined to provide the exact address of the new secretariat, saying that would be contained in the invitation to be sent out to journalists later today.
If the faction goes ahead with its plan to open the secretariat, that would be the second time in the party’s history that the PDP would split into two formidable groups, each operating from separate secretariats.
On June 9, 2006, a group led by the party’s founding Chairman, Solomon Lar, and a former Deputy National Chairman, Shuaib Oyedokun, had broken away to form a parallel faction after accusing the then Ahmadu Ali-led leadership of sidelining many leading founding members.
The group then proceeded to open a new secretariat: a one-storey building of four flats lavishly decorated with flags of the party located in the Jabi District of Abuja.
The development terribly rattled then President Olusegun Obasanjo who promptly deployed security agents to forcefully seal the parallel secretariat.
By the following day, the Nigerian Police had closed the parallel secretariat and stationed 20 of its men at the complex to prevent members of the Lar group from gaining entry.
The then Commissioner, Federal Capital Territory’s Police Command, Lawrence Alobi, explained at the time that his men were asked to seal the secretariat to forestall an outbreak of violence.
The development terribly irked the Lar group and sparked off a war of words between the two camps.
The Lar group asked the then Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, to withdraw his men from its secretariat, threatening that it would forcefully chase the Ali-led group away from the Wadata Plaza national secretariat of the party if the police failed to allow it to operate from the Mabushi secretariat.
History now appears to be trying to repeat itself with the PDP descending into another full blown crisis Saturday after former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, seven state governors and other leading party members walked out of the Abuja convention and then addressed a press conference to say they had taken over the party.
They now say they are ready to open a parallel secretariat in Maitama to rival the known PDP head office in the Wuse, Zone 5 District of Abuja.