The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) national leadership is presently in crisis over 2023 presidential election interest, which, it was gathered, made seven deputy national officers resign their positions on Tuesday.
A reliable source told Daily Independent that the crisis engulfing the party now is as a result of those seeking to pick the presidential and vice presidential tickets of PDP in the 2023 election.
He noted that whatever is happening now in the party is a smokescreen.
Another credible source in the party told World Africa that the resignation of deputy national officers was bankrolled by an influential governor in the South-South and two of his colleagues, who have been at loggerheads with Secondus over the running of the affairs of the party.
The governors, who believe that Secondus lacked the capacity to lead the party to the 2023 general elections, have tried to convene a National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party but this met a brick wall.
Those loyal to Secondus had argued that instead of forcing him to resign now and cause crisis in the party, those against him should allow him serve out his term which will expire in December 2021 and elect another set of executives.
Speaking with World Africa, our source said the governors may have cajoled the NWC members with financial rewards to take the decision in order to give the impression that the party is falling apart under Secondus.
“Clearly, it is a coup plot against the national chairman but I doubt if it will succeed because governors who are backing Secondus are more than those against him. The more fingers are pointed in one direction, the more other members of the party will question if the party is owned by an individual who thinks he can install a national chairman and remove him as he wishes”.
“Governor Wike and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State have never hidden their displeasure at Secondus continued stay as PDP national chairman. While it is believed that Governor Wike’s anger has to do with ego as he feels Secondus whom he laboured to install as national chairman has now grown wings, Makinde wants control of the South-West PDP and the national chairman is unyielding”.
The seven deputy national officers, who resigned are Diran Odeyemi, deputy national publicity secretary; Ahmed Bello, deputy national legal adviser; Umoru Hadizat, deputy national women leader; Divine Amina Arong, deputy national auditor; Hassan Yakubu, deputy national organising secretary; and Irona Alphonsus, deputy national financial secretary.
The officers, who cited “bad treatment” exhibited by the party National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, since the election that brought the current leadership of the party to power in 2017, also alleged that there is a lack of financial transparency in the leadership.
Berating Secondus for his style of leadership, one of the national officers, who tendered his resignation lamented that they were been treated “as if we are nobodies.”
The angry officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Since our election in 2017, we (deputy national officers) have only met with our chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, thrice. It is not as if he called us; on those three occasions, we sought audience with him.
“The most annoying part is that during Christmas and Sallah festivities, the NWC would visit our governors. They would collect money and other items but I can tell you that they don’t share anything with the deputies. To him, we are just a necessary evil to be tolerated but never to be catered for. We all have our constituencies and our followers but from the way we are being treated, it appears they see us as nothing but appendages forced on them by the party’s constitution.”
Addressing newsmen shortly after their meeting that lasted for several hours, the National Youth Leader, Udeh Okoye, said that ten of the NWC members are already on their way out if Secondus fails to resign in four days.
He said that Secondus is incompetent of managing the affairs of this party, adding that he lacks managerial capacity to manage PDP.
Okoye lamented that many departments of the party are not functioning as effectively as they ought to function, insisting that Secondus has nothing to offer to the party but only to deceive them.
Okoye said: “Mr. Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the party, is incompetent of managing the affairs of this party, he lacks managerial capacity to manage PDP.
“He had made sure that many departments of the party did not function as effectively as they ought to function. Mr. Chairman has nothing to offer to the party only to come here and deceive us.
“There is a sharp division in our NWC right now, not only me, many more NWC members are more aggrieved than myself.
“Today, I have asked him (chairman) in our NWC meeting to resign his position as the chairman of this party because he cannot lead this party to victory.
“I am also asking the leaders, the governors, the founding fathers, the youths, the women to rise up to rescue our party from the hand of incompetent leader like Secondus because he is not willing to take us to anywhere. He is just there to make sure that he enriches himself.
“I am here to make it very clear to all Nigerians that if Secondus does not resign from the party, I am going to leave the party for him to eat the party and own the party. The governors, if they don’t wade into this matter right now, I assure Nigerians that within the next three, four days, my letter will be made public.”
Asked how many of them were asking Secondus to resign, Okoye said, “Seven deputies have already resigned their positions today because of Secondus, many more people are also going to resign in the NWC because of Secondus.
“Right now I can tell you that not less than eight to ten persons within the NWC members are very aggrieved with Secondus but I have taken my stand because I cannot sit here and one man who ought to respect his age and respect the oath of the party that he has sworn to protect, to defend, to work for the interest of the party will keep making sure that the party does not go anywhere.”
Asked if he had explored the impeachment clause in the constitution of the party instead of resigning his position, the National Youth Leader said, “We are in the process.”
It was, however, gathered that the National Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, the National Auditor, Mai Adamu Mustapha and the Deputy Chairman, North, Suleiman Nazif, have also threatened to resign if Secondus doesn’t resign in four days.
Confirming the resignation of the seven national officers, the spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, while briefing newsmen disclosed that the National Working Committee (NWC) received the notice of the resignation from deputies who are elected members of the National Executive Committee.
Ologbondiyan said: “The National Working Committee of our great party at its meeting today (Tuesday) received the notice of the resignation from deputies who were elected members of the National Executive Committee.
“The meeting of the National Working Committee and the deputies immediately took place to dialogue on the issues that were raised. The party will look into the grievances raised by members of NEC as well as members of the National Working Committee.
“The internal conflict resolution mechanism of our party has also been immediately activated to put these issues behind us. We call on all the leaders, stakeholders and members of our great party to remain calm as we collectively resolve these issues.”
Reacting to the briefing by the National Youth Leader, the National Chairman, Secondus, said it took Okoye three and a half years and four to five months to the convention to realise that he’s incompetent.
He said: “It is very unfortunate because he has operated as the youth leader of this party since December 2017 with Secondus as National Chairman and has worked with him but suddenly, few months to convention, after the game of this morning, in some party of Abuja, he suddenly discovered that Secondus is incompetent, he suddenly discovered that Secondus is enriching himself?”
Speaking on behalf of the National Chairman, the Media Adviser to Secondus, Ike Abonyi, said, “I want to assure members of the party that the structure of the party is intact and Prince Secondus is the National Chairman and anybody who resigns, the position will be filled the next day and this party will work to victory in 2023, there is no going back about it.
“All those who are looking for interim government few months to general election are taking us back to Egypt and nobody is ready to go back to Egypt. We have passed through this road before and we don’t want to go back there.”
PDP Govs Call For Calm, Ask Detractors To Leave Party Alone
Meanwhile, governors elected on the platform of the PDP have called for calm over the crisis rocking the party’s leadership.
The governors under the aegis of PDP Governors’ Forum, asked detractors to leave the party alone.
The governors, in a statement by their chairman and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said that they received with regrets and sadness the recent rumblings in the party.
They called on all members of the party and indeed all stakeholders to remain calm in the face of the developments.
“We plead with all aggrieved persons and those with the interest of the PDP at heart to keep their gun powder dry, as efforts are being made in consultation with members of the PDP Board of Trustees and other stakeholders to resolve all contending issues.
“To this end, the PDP Governors’ Forum has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the affairs of the party and the way forward.
“The PDP as the only remaining hope of the nation for good governance must show an example to Nigerians and also take advantage of the current disarray in the APC and its rudderless government,” the governors said.