PDP speaks on emergence of splinter faction

From left: Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State; Gov. Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom; and Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State during the PDP National Convention in Abuja on Saturday (9/12/17). 06679/9/12/2017/Albert Otu/NAN

The Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday said it remained united, unfazed and focused, hours after some party members floated a new ‘faction’ within the party.

About five individuals were reported to have announced the birth of ‘Fresh PDP’ in Abuja Wednesday afternoon, marking the latest in a series of riveting disputes that trailed the party’s national convention penultimate Saturday.

Franklyn Edede, Hassan Adamu, Obi Nwosu, Olusola Akindele and Godwin Duru reportedly unveiled their ‘factional’ headquarters in Asokoro, in a move reminiscent of the 2013 ‘New PDP’ revolt that saw the party lose its prominent members to the All Progressives Congress.

Messrs. Edede and Duru contested for the positions of National Youth Leader and National Organising Secretary of the opposition party at the convention, respectively.

Following their loss, the duo teamed up with other disgruntled members of the party to demand an immediate cancellation of the results announced at the convention, including the emergence of Uche Secondus as the party’s national chairman.

“Today, the PDP Nigerians are yearning for is born,” Mr. Nwosu was quoted by NAN as saying about the founding of ‘Fresh PDP’. “The era of impunity and imposition of candidates on the party is gone.”

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Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP’s spokesperson, dismissed the individuals and their threat in a statement Wednesday evening.

“The PDP is completely unperturbed by the comical act of some individuals who make outlandish claims in the media regarding our party,” Mr. Ologbondiyan said.

In a follow-up phone conversation with PREMIUM TIMES, the spokesperson castigated the breakaway politicians as being a tool of an unnamed political party which purportedly aimed to destabilise the party after efforts to scuttle its national convention failed.

“We know the party that attempted to frustrate our national convention,” Mr. Ologbondiyan told PREMIUM TIMES when pressed to name the suspected party.

“The PDP is not divided, we have all our leaders at state and national levels at our ongoing retreat in Abuja,” he added. “One or two persons who have allowed themselves to be used by those opposed to the PDP cannot divide the PDP.”

When reminded that Mr. Edede has been a long-time member of the PDP in Kogi State, the spokesperson said the politician is perhaps the only one the party recognises.

“Other than Franklyn Edede, who amongst them can you say duly contested for any office at the last convention?”

While Mr. Ologbondiyan did not specifically mention the APC as the party behind the five-man breakaway entity, it was the ruling party that the PDP accused of plotting to disrupt its national convention earlier this month.

Mr. Edede and his comrades are not the only ones protesting the outcome PDP national convention.

Several party leaders from the southwest, including Olabode George, have strongly opposed the emergence of Mr. Secondus, amidst allegations that his victory was purchased by Governor Nyesom Wike through bribery of delegates.

Taoheed Adedoja, a party chieftain from Oyo State who contested for the chairmanship position, had filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the chairmanship of Mr. Secondus.

The polarisation of PDP in 2013 is widely considered amongst the major reasons why the party ultimately lost its 16-year grip on power in 2015.

After losing the 2015 convention, the party was plunged into another major crisis that left it virtually rudderless for more than a year. The crisis was finally settled by the Supreme Court in July, paving the way for the conduct of a national convention on December 9.

Dithering on the need to address today’s development could prove devastating to the PDP’s standing by 2019, said political analyst Shola Oyefeso.

“The PDP cannot afford to allow this threat of division to fester,” Mr. Oyefeso said, adding that the party is currently facing a serious crisis in the South-west where there are raging claims that the region was no longer recognised or welcomed within the party.

Mr. Ologbondiyan acknowledged the existence and severity of the crises to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday night but said a reconciliation committee that was raised after the convention had been making significant progress.

“We’re confident in the ability of the reconciliation committee headed by Governor Seriake Dickson,” the spokesperson said. “The committee’s activities still continue nationwide, but it has received good feedbacks from respectable leaders of our party.”

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