Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Despite setting up a presidential panel with the professed objective of resolving the crisis tearing the Adamawa State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party apart, President Goodluck Jonathan had also backed the recent controversial congresses in the state in negation of the panel, THISDAY has learnt. It was an apparent move to curtail the perceived overbearing influence of governors elected on the party’s platform.
It was learnt that the Presidency had discreetly ordered that the controversial ward and local government congresses in the Adamawa State PDP should hold in spite of the work of the presidential panel chaired by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State.
In a letter dated December 10, 2012 and titled, “Brief on Matters leading to the Dissolution of Adamawa State PDP Executive by the NWC on October 17, 2012,” addressed to all PDP governors, Nyako had called on the governors to resist the dissolution of the Adamawa PDP executive.
“I submit that if this unjust dissolution of the Adamawa State executive is left unchecked, every other state executive would soon find itself facing similar unjust treatment with repercussion for all. Let us collectively save our party.
“Our prayer in Adamawa is that the decision of the NWC to dissolve the state executive is yet to be ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party and, therefore, let the dissolution be rescinded in the spirit of justice and fairness,” Nyako had pleaded with his fellow PDP governors.
It was in view of this that Jonathan summoned a meeting of all PDP governors and members of the NWC on December 20, where it was agreed that the congresses in Adamawa State slated for December 27 should be stopped to enable the presidential committee investigate the issues.
Consequently, Lamido wrote a letter to the national chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, asking the party to suspend further action on the Adamawa State PDP situation, including the congresses.
The letter, dated December 21, read, “Your Excellency is aware of an ad-hoc committee that has been created for the resolution of the Adamawa crisis.
“The inaugural committee meeting was held today and members resolved that further acts and/or actions by any organ of the party with respect to Adamawa PDP be suspended.
“This is to enable the ad-hoc committee to conclude its work without any influence whatsoever.”
But PDP, in a reply by its deputy national secretary, Mr. Onwe Onwe, drew Lamido’s attention to the fact that the party had concluded arrangements for the congresses billed to hold December 27. PDP further stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission had been informed of the party’s plan to hold the congresses.
“The National Secretariat had via a letter by the National Chairman and National Secretary dated December 5, 2012 written to Independent National Electoral Commission notifying them of the dates and timetable of the congresses.
“The national secretariat of our great party, the PDP, had via a letter signed by the National Organising Secretary, dated December 6, 2012, written to the caretaker committee, approved timetable of the congresses in the state starting from December 27, 2012 to January 10, 2013.
“The caretaker committee had obtained PDP nomination forms from the national secretariat of the party and has been selling them to aspirants from ward level to local government level,” PDP replied the presidential committee chairman.
PDP concluded in the letter that to do anything contrary was to undermine the party’s reputation and esteem among its members in the state.
But as a further measure to stop the congresses, Nyako, as the chief security officer of the state, issued an order banning all political activities in the state, citing political anxiety as reason for his action.
THISDAY gathered that when Nyako discovered that the NWC was bent on conducting the congresses, he rushed to Abuja, where he pleaded with Vice President Namadi Sambo to appeal to the president to, as the leader of PDP, stop the congresses since there was a presidential committee looking into the issues, which was yet to submit its report.
The vice president was said to have accompanied Nyako to meet the president to try to persuade him to stop the congresses. But to their surprise, Jonathan was said to be noncommittal. He declined to stop the ward and local government congresses.
According to a source, “the president simply told the vice president and Nyako that the matter was a party affair and, therefore, should be allowed to go ahead as planned.”
It was further gathered that as part of efforts to ensure that the congresses held, a directive was given to the Adawama State Commissioner of Police and other security agencies in the state to make sure there was law and order during the exercise.
On why the president refused to intervene to stop the Adamawa State PDP congresses, the source said, “If the overbearing influence of the PDP governors is always allowed, nothing will move forward in the party.”
Internal dissension has engulfed the Adamawa State chapter of PDP since the past few years, with deep divisions between factions loyal to Nyako and Tukur. Things came to a head on October 17, when the NWC dissolved the state executive council of the party, headed by Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama, which was loyal to Nyako, and set up a caretaker committee led by Ambassador Umar Damagun to run the affairs of the party until the election of a new executive.