From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not about to abate as the man in the eye of the storm and National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, yesterday, fought back as he accused an unnamed “Father Christmas” of desperation to hijack the party.
He spoke amidst an emergency meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) with aggrieved national officials. The officials, who are deputy national officers, had on Tuesday, served a 30-day resignation over alleged ill-treatment by the party leadership.
Daily Sun gathered that at yesterday’s meeting, the second within 24 hours, Secondus appealed to the deputy national officers to reconsider their decision to quit.
A source privy to the discussion at meeting said Secondus told the aggrieved party officials that there was need for all members of the PDP executive to finish strong, especially as their tenure was coming to an end. The source noted that at the end of the meeting, the party said they would consult and get back to the NWC.
Daily Sun equally gathered that in the aftermath of the notice of resignation by the seven national officials and call by the national youth leader, Sunday Udeh-Okoye, for the resignation of Secondus, PDP have been making frantic efforts to calm frayed nerves.
It was gathered that at a meeting attended by some members of the PDP NWC and Board of Trustees (BoT) on Tuesday night, in Abuja, all the officials, including those threatening to resign should return to their zones and consult with the stakeholders on the current situation in the party.
However, the NWC said it had activated internal conflict resolution mechanism to ensure amicable resolution of all issues affecting the party.
The party in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan said the party’s NWC rose from a crucial meeting where it reviewed the state of the party, with a view to creating an atmosphere that would engender stability within the party.
Ologbondiyan said against the backdrop, the NWC urged all PDP members to remain calm. He assured members that the PDP remained stable as the NWC was working to bring the party back to power in 2023.
Regardless, Secondus, in a statement by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, alleged that a strong chieftain bent on hijacking the opposition party is unrelenting in the quest to dent his image.
In the statement entitled “Who is after Secondus and Why is somebody in love of caretaker?” the PDP chairman said he was aware that the said party chieftain was out to hijack the party for his inordinate ambition.
“Answers to the above posers will help members of the public to decipher the recent disquiet in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and why few months to National Convention of the party, somebody is routing for a Caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the party.
“The media office of the National Chairman is privy to an intelligence that the strong party chieftain bent on hijacking the party structure for destruction is still on the lose with the main agenda of denting the image of Prince Uche Secondus the National Chairman.
“Reports reaching this office shows clearly that this character is deploying all devious means to try and diminish the person and character of the National Chairman with a view to having his way of ultimately hijacking the structure for his disproportionately large ambition…
“What continues to shock many party observers is the real reason behind the desperation of this man to get at the National Chairman and the quantum of public funds being expended to achieve this illicit goal few months to the National Convention.
“Few months to National Convention anybody who mean well for this party and who is a true democrat should respect the constitution of the party and approach issues dispassionately,” the PDP chairman stated.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, said his recent trip to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital had nothing to do with the plot to oust Secondus.
He was reacting to speculations that he was allegedly part of the plot to sack the party chairman.
The former vice president, who spoke through his media aide, Paul Ibe, told journalists in a telephone interview, that he is more interested in peace in the party.
“The trip he made to Port Harcourt, he made a similar one to Delta. And he has more in the offing. Why will he promote peace and stability in the party and be behind moves to sack Secondus? It’s ridiculous for anyone to talk about this.
“Atiku understands the Constitution of the PDP and what the party-stated about tenure for party leadership. So, he cannot be working against something that he understands and promotes.
“That is not how democrats behave. Those are anti-democratic behaviour and that is not who he is. Whoever is saying this should know it is beer parlour talk and unnecessary mischief.”
In a related development, former governor of Bayelsa, Senator Seriake Dickson admonished leaders of the PDP to convene an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to discuss way of stabilizing the party.
Dickson stated this when he met with Secondus at the PDP national secretariat.
“As we are all aware, some officers of our party, resigned yesterday and we should thank them for their services but If their resignation is aimed at causing crisis in the party then we should all condemn it and those behind it.”
Dickson also called on Secondus and the NWC to “utilise their powers under the constitution to discipline erring members involved in the nefarious plot to destroy the party.
“PDP is bigger than any individual and should no longer tolerate people with inordinate ambitions to destroy the party which belongs to all Nigerians.”
Inspite of that, a member of BoT, Senator Joy Emordi, yesterday formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Alhaji Mamman Mohammed, Director-General, Press and Media of APC, announced this in a statement issued in Abuja.
The statement said the Chairman, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe, Mai Mala Buni, received Emordi at a brief ceremony.
“Buni expressed delight with the decision taken by the board member to contribute to the unity of the country.
“There is need for us to join hands for the political stability and national unity of our dear country,” the statement said.
But an elder and chieftain of the party, Dr. Nnamdi Onochie, has pleaded with contending forces to bury the hatchet and close ranks to save the party.
Onochie, a long-standing member of the main opposition PDP said unity, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence were needed at this point in time to save the party from implosion and destruction.
He argued that it would be a costly mistake for the party’s chieftains to engage in bickering with one another with another general election drawing near.