By Chinelo Obogo, Tony John, Port Harcourt, Sola Ojo, Kaduna and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Attempts to resolve the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appear not to be yielding the expected results as a peace meeting, yesterday, between its Board of Trustees (BoT), Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his loyalists ended inconclusive.
The meeting which held at Government House, Port Harcourt lasted for over four hours ending at about 4:35 pm.
Acting chairman of PDP BoT, Senator Adolphus Wabara, who spearheaded the parley, informed journalists afterwards that they had a frank discussion, but that no conclusion had been reached.
He however stated that some progress had been made by both parties.
The former senate president said“We have not concluded; making peace is difficult. But we have heard from his side. The family remains one. We shall achieve peace very soon. You know it is always easy to discuss. But to make peace takes some time. We are better informed; we have gotten some new information. Every coin has two sides. In concrete terms, it is work in progress”.
Also speaking after the meeting, Governor Wike said he was committed to achieving peace within the party.
Wike said he would not leave the party, and that he was hopeful the internal crisis would be resolved.
“The most important thing is to have peace. The house is united. I am hopeful we will resolve the issues, because I am alive. Only those who are alive are hopeful. We have said repeatedly that we will not leave the party. We believe the internal issues will be resolved,” he said.
Wike and his supporters had demanded the resignation of PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, after the emergence of former vice president, Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 poll. They argued that it would be unfair for the north to hold the two most important posts in the main op party, citing a statement Ayu made in October 2021 that he would vacate the chairmanship seat if the north produced the party’s presidential candidate and if the party wanted him to leave. It is believed that the group also has issues with the emergence of Delta State governor, Ifeayi Okowa as Atiku’s running mate.
Ayu has however insisted he would not resign till the end of his four-year tenure, a stance that has infuriated the Wike camp andcaused a prolong of the crisis.
On September 20, Wike and his group announced their withdrawal from Atiku Abubakar’s presidential campaign council. They were also absent from the inauguration of the PCC on September 28, 2022 as they insisted that northerners should not occupy the two top positions of the party.
At yesterday’s meeting the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) declared that with the co-operation of the Rivers State Governor and support from his allies, the party would win the 2023 presidential election.
Aside Senator Adolphus Wabara, the meeting had Dr. Ibrahim Idris, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), Dame Dr. Esther Uduehi and Hajiya Zainab Maina on the BoT delegation.
On the side of Governor Wike, were the Rivers State PDP chairman, Desmond Akawor, Rivers Elders Forum chairman, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, former deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche, Senator Adawari Pepple, Elder Emmanuel Anyanwu, Senator Olaka Nwogu, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja and Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Governor, Emeka Woke among several others.
Wabara, who described governor Wike as an inestimable asset to the PDP, pointed out that ahead of the 2023 general elections, the governor’s infrastructural development in Rivers State is already campaigning for the party.
Meanwhile, National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu, has said he is working hard to unite aggrieved members of the party.
His Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Communication, Yusuf Dingyadi in an interview with Daily Sun in Kaduna, Dingyadi said PDP remains as a strong national political under Ayu and that he was making efforts to address the crisis of individual differences to ensure everyone works collectively towards the success of the electoral processes and ensure the party’s victory in the 2023 elections.
Dingyadi said the ongoing impasse between the party and a few members would last for a while, saying the reconciliation committee was working at states’ level to get results.
He said “Nigerians need to know that PDP has a mechanism for reconciliation in place and the mechanism has been trying to reconcile those who are not happy since the conclusion of our primaries. We are trying to see that everyone is given fair hearing. As we speak, the local reconciliation committee is meeting with party members at the state level to discuss issues and find solutions to those issues.
“For example, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is one of the great assets to PDP, he is a leader, a governor and somebody who has helped to rescue PDP since time immemorial.
“Now, it is not the making of our national Chairman to see things happen this way. But some people who are not happy that PDP is making effort to unite and wrestle power from APC are the ones fanning the ember of disunity within the party. Since Ayu took over as chairman of the party to date, he has made tremendous progress in building the party in all 36 states, including the FCT Abuja,” he said.
Also, Members of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) National Working Committee ( NWC), were engaged in a marathon meeting, yesterday, over recent development in the party.
The meeting, which is coming on the heels of the return of over N100million “housing allowance” by five members of the NWC to the PDP coffers is the first since the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, returned from his foreign trip last week.
A source at the national secretariat confirmed to Daily Sun that refunded monies dominated the discourse, saying the “the meeting was stormy.”
The PDP crisis assumed a new twist last Thursday, after six members of the NWC returned over N100million paid into their accounts by the party leadership.
The affected party officials which included the Deputy National Chairman (South), Taofeek Alapaja; National Vice Chairman (South South), Dan Orbih; National Vice chairman, (South West), Olasoji Adagunodo , National Vice chairman (South East), Ali Odefa and the National Women leader, Stella Effah- Atoe returned the sum N36,000,000, N28,800,000, N28,800,000, N28,800,000 and N28,800,000 respectively.
The NWC members, who are loyalists of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, in the separate letters to the national chairman, had hinged their decision to refund the money, on a media report alleging that were induced to keep silent over alleged financial misappropriation at the national secretariat.
Daily Sun gathered that the PDP NWC meeting which commenced at about about 2pm and lasted for over five hours was convened to enable the party leadership appraise recent development in the party.
Prior to the meeting, some leaders had sought sanctions against the NWC members who made the refunds for allegedly dragging the party into public disrepute.
The party in a statement said it has constituted a panel to probe the source of media report alleging that members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were induced financially to be silent of alleged misappropriation, based on which some party officials returned their housing allowance.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in a statement, yesterday, said that was part of resolution reached at the meeting of the NWC on Tuesday.
“After a thorough scrutiny of the payment by the Party, the NWC in session established that the payment was not a bribe but Housing Allowance duly approved and paid to National Officers of the party in line with the Conditions of Service and Entitlement of the Staff and Principal Officers of the Party. The NWC also established that the payment passed through Due Process procedures of the Party in accordance with all extant financial regulations and payment approval processes of the party.”
After the marathon NWC meeting, some of the members converged in one of the offices for another round of meetings. The opposition party has been enmeshed in crisis in the aftermath of the emergence of Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa as the 2023 presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively.