•  Adeniran, Adejoh distance selves from splinter group
  •  Dickson asks aggrieved members to be patient

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Barely 48 hours after a chairmanship candidate in the recently concluded national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, sued the party, another aggrieved group has set up a parallel office in Abuja, promising to also constitute its own national executive by January.

However, the PDP has dismissed the emergence of a splinter group, saying that it was completely “unperturbed by the comical acts” of some individuals who make outlandish claims in the media regarding the party.

The group, which called itself the “Fresh PDP”, is led by Mr. Emmanuel Obi-Nwosu, ironically, a member of the planning committee of the national convention of the party.

Although it is uncertain as to who is behind the group, it has threatened to go ahead and name a parallel national executive soon.

But in a statement issued Wednesday by its spokesman, Kola Olagbondiyan, the PDP said that it was happy with the efforts of the Governor Seriake Dickson-led Reconciliation Committee as well as the responses from all the respectable and responsible leaders of the party in that regard.

“We will, however, not be responsible or respond to any person or group of individuals who decide to allow themselves to be used by forces from another political party in a laughable and childish attempt to distract us,” PDP said.

According to the main opposition party, “The Uche Secondus-led national leadership will continue to focus on repositioning our great party to be the formidable opposition that will guarantee checks and balances in our polity and ultimately regain power in 2019.”

However, while addressing a press conference at its new office located in Asokoro, Abuja, Nwosu accused the former chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led Convention Planning Committee of imposing “predetermined persons” as leaders of the party.

While stating their grievances, Nwosu said the petition written by some of the aspirants with respect to the chairman and secretary of the Electoral Planning Committee, former Governor Gabriel Suswam and Dr. Sunday Onor respectively, who were clearly identified as lead campaigners to one of the chairmanship aspirants, was completely ignored by the NCC.

He said the concerned members of the PDP would soon name a parallel National Working Committee (NWC) to push its cause.

“The actions of the chairman of the Electoral Planning Committee, Gabriel Suswam, during the convention, showed clearly that they had concluded the election even before the date of the convention. What a tragedy for democracy,” Nwosu alleged.

The group described the production of a “unity list” used to purportedly elect the present NWC as despicable, pointing out that some names on the list “collected nomination forms after the official closing date, while some others were not even screened as required by the party’s electoral guidelines”.

“Consequent upon all the aforementioned acts of brazen impunity and electoral fraud, we the concerned candidates and stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), hereby roundly condemn the high-level political corruption perpetrated by some of our party leaders at Eagle Square.

“We reject in its entirety the selected National Working Committee (NWC) list and we call on INEC and all other relevant authorities to disregard the purported election of the NWC (members) because they were not elected in line with the provisions of our party constitution and in accordance with the electoral guidelines for the convention.
“As committed and dedicated candidates and party stakeholders we have decided to ensure that internal party democracy is sustained in the party and that the dreams of our founding fathers who laboured and sacrificed so much to build this party are not destroyed.

“To this effect, we have officially opened a national secretariat of the party here in Asokoro, Abuja, from where the authentic National Working Committee (NWC) of the party will be operating.

“We call on all members of our great party to cease forthwith any correspondence with the illegal NWC selected through the most undemocratic process ever witnessed in the history of our party,” the group said.

Meanwhile, some of the chairmanship candidates have distanced themselves from the rebellious group, saying that they had decided to throw their support behind the new leadership led by Secondus.

Former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, who spoke to journalists on the phone, said that he was disassociating himself from such a “recalcitrant group”, having given his word to the reconciliation committee not to make an issue out of the last convention.

Another aspirant for the post of national publicity secretary, Farouk Adejoh, also disassociated himself from the aggrieved group.

Dickson Asks for Patience

Also, the chairman of the party’s Reconciliation Committee and Governor of Bayelsa State, Dickson, has called on aggrieved candidates of the convention and other members to be patient, as the committee was doing everything possible to get all members back on board.

According to a press statement by the chief press secretary to the governor, Francis Ottah Agbo, Dickson made the call while fielding questions from reporters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

He assured aggrieved member that his committee would reach out to them immediately after the yuletide season and will address all legitimate concerns arising from the convention.

Dickson expressed optimism that the ongoing reconciliation efforts within the party would yield positive results.
According to the governor, the committee has tentatively fixed an interactive meeting with all the aggrieved candidates and other members for the second week of January to address their concerns and with a view to building a strong and united PDP.

He stated that the meeting which is expected to hold at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja, will also have in attendance the members of the new NWC, who will use the opportunity to interact with the aggrieved candidates and the reconciliation committee.