Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has rejected a resolution of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum which asked Uche Secondus to step aside for the PDP National Secretary, Adewale Oladipo, to take over as acting national chairman of the party.
Mr. Dickson has instead thrown his weight behind Mr. Secondus.
The Bayelsa governor said Mr. Secondus should be allowed to stay on as acting national chairman pending the election of a substantive chairman.
Mr. Dickson’s position, which is contained in a press statement on Saturday, signaled a split among the PDP governors on the choice of who presides over the affairs of the party as its acting national chairman.
For the latest crisis affecting the party at the national level, the PDP Governors’ Forum in their first public statement on Wednesday was united against attempt by a former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, to forcefully assumed office as acting national chairman of the party.
The governors described Mr. Gulak’s attempt to seize power as “regrettable and condemnable”.
The forum in another public statement the next day, Thursday, reportedly asked Mr. Secondus to step aside for the PDP National Secretary, Mr. Oladipo, to take over as acting chair of the troubled opposition party.
The Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, had said on behalf of his colleagues, “We take cognisance of the judgment by the court in Abuja, which ordered the acting chairman to vacate office for any other person from the Northeast.
“Our party’s constitution has enough provisions for that and the necessary process has been put in motion.”
But Governor Dickson of Bayelsa said in the press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, that the forum did not at any time nominate someone to take over from Mr. Secondus as acting national chairman.
Mr. Dickson, who has just been re-elected for a second term on the platform of the PDP said going by the party’s constitution, Mr. Secondus, being the deputy national chairman of the PDP, remains the acting chairman of the party.
The governor said, “There can’t be a vacuum and as servants of the law, we must be seen at all times to be people who are duty bound to uphold the law and to do the right things at all times in the eyes of the law.”
Mr. Dickson’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, later told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview that the governor was present at the PDP Governors’ Forum’s meeting where a decision was taken to condemn Mr. Gulak’s action, but that he (Dickson) didn’t attend another of the forum’s meeting where a decision may have been taken on Mr. Secondus.
“In the first meeting he (Dickson) attended there was no such decision among the governors that Mr. Secondus should resign,” Mr. Iworiso-Markson said.
The chief press secretary said there has been a tradition within the PDP for the deputy national chairman of the party to become acting chairman whenever a substantive chairman resigned or was removed.
He said Governor Dickson has the right to express his opinion among his colleagues.