From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
No fewer than 12 state chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are enmeshed in leadership crisis as chieftains battle for control of the party structures in their states ahead of the 2023 general elections.
States affected by intra-party squabbles include Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateue, Adamawa, Kano, Cross River, Ebonyi and Edo. Apart from Edo and Cross River, the PDP is the opposition party in the other affected states.
Daily Sun learnt that in Lagos, Adamawa, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Osun and Plateau have instituted various legal actions against the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. In Ekiti, the PDP is torn between former governor, Ayo Fayose and his deputy, Senator Biodun Olujimi, while in Lagos, party chieftains led by Deji Doherty are at daggers drawn with Chief Olabode George for the control of the party structure.
The same scenario, it was learnt, is playing out in Kano where former governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, is on a warpath with Aminu Wali over control of the party machinery, just as in Cross River, Governor Ben Ayade, is locked in a bitter tussle with some members of the National Assembly over who controls the party structure.
In Ebonyi, the recent defection of Governor Dave Umahi to the All Progressives Congress ( APC) and subsequent dissolution of the PDP structure has led to a legal tussle while in Edo, crisis is brewing over an alleged insistence of Governor Godwin Obaseki for a dissolution of the party structure to accommodate his loyalists.
The South West chapter of the PDP is, however, polarised between Governor Seyi Makinde and Ayo Fayose.
The NWC recently inaugurated a Reconciliation and Strategy Committee headed by Bukola Saraki to address the crisis in the party.
A former member of the PDP National Executive Committee(NEC) from the South West in an interview with Daily Sun blamed the NWC for the festering crises in state chapters.
The former NEC member, who pleaded anonymity accused the NWC of taking sides with different factions in the leadership tussle in the states.
“There is confusion. For instance, there is no state that is free from crisis in the South West, except Oyo and Ondo. Party leaders are part of the problem. The National Working Committee (NWC) which is supposed to supervise this thing and make sure the right thing is done are taking sides with different factions in different states. The NWC takes side with one faction against another for whatever reason. If the NWC was an impartial arbiter in these, it would have done the proper thing. But the NWC has always been on one side or the other, so the problem continues.”
Leader of one of the factions in Adamawa State, Umar Ardo, also accused the immediate past national caretaker committee of foisting “an illegitimate exco” on the state even as he alleged that the current NWC has done nothing to address their complains.
“We are still in court trying to resolve the issue. For Adamawa, I would not entirely blame the current NWC because they met the problem. If they are to be blamed at all it is for their inability to resolve the problem. Of course, the NWC is joined in the suit. We sued the PDP and the PDP is represented by the NWC.”
Stalwarts are apprehensive that the crises, if not quickly resolved, would affect the party adversely in the 2023 general election, especially in the South West where four of the six states are embroiled in a leadership tussles.
Former minister of transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope told Daily Sun that there there was no cause for alarm, noting that the PDP would resolve all crises before the next general elections.
He said the intra-party squabbles “throw up a challenge of coming together to face the election against the APC. I am not afraid of that. We are going to resolve all these crises. And we will be set and prepared to face the APC.”
However, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said it was not correct for anyone to accuse the NWC of creating crisis in state chapters. He said the party through the Saraki-led reconciliation committee was working assiduously to resolve all the issues.
“All the issues emanated from the states. Where will you go to and say it is the NWC that went there to formulate crisis? It is not correct. Any state where you have issues in the party, you cannot hold the NWC responsible,” he stated.
For Ebonyi State, the opposition spokesman added: “As far as the party is concerned we have set up a caretaker committee in Ebonyi. Any party that goes to court, we will meet it in court.”