Plateau PDP Leadership Crisis Worsens, as Parallel Caretaker Committees Emerge

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

In spite of an alleged reconciliation among the factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, parallel caretaker committees have emerged with claims to the party’s leadership. Chairman of one of the caretaker committees, Nandom Exodus Pyennap, addressed the press yesterday in Jos. Pyennap alleged that Mr. Yakubu Chocho, who also chairs another caretaker committee, should stop parading himself as the state chairman because his tenure had expired.

Pyannap was, however, prevented by the police from addressing the press at the state PDP secretariat, where the press briefing was initially scheduled to hold.

Chocho had been the caretaker committee chairman before the outbreak of COVID-19, which put every political, social and economic activity on hold. He said his tenure would have ended, but for the coronavirus outbreak.

But Pyennap told the media, “The public has been misinformed by a group of individuals with some persons at the national level who have taken advantage of the ravaging COVID-19 health crisis to mutually enrich themselves while perpetrating unconstitutional acts of tenure elongation.

“In a serious matter such as has to do with the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC), as claimed by these characters, the communicator should ordinarily be the National Chairman or National Secretary.”

He cited Jigawa, Kano, and Ekiti chapters of PDP, which he said were led by caretaker committees whose letters were signed by the same National Organising Secretary that signed that of Plateau. Pyennap wondered why the contents of the letters were different, and why that of Plateau State should be 28-member caretaker committee whereas others had a seven-man caretaker committee each.

The constitution of the party, according to him, is very clear that it must be a seven-man caretaker committee comprising the chairman, secretary, and five members.

Pyennap said the party was divided in the state and needed the sincere intervention of the NWC. He said the way the Chocho-led caretaker committee conducted the ward and local government congresses pointed to the fact that there were serious issues in the party.

Pyannap said to avoid litigation he was advocating that PDP members should come together to address the issues. He said his group had written a letter of complaint to the national secretariat of PDP stating their grouses and seeking the formation of a seven-man caretaker committee for the party in the state.

He said, “They are 28 in number. Apart from being 28 in number, all of them are looking for elective positions again. Apart from that, they have caused a lot of problems during the ward congresses and the purported local government congress. For national justice to prevail, let the national secretariat take a frantic step, they should constitute a seven-man committee without us, without them and put people that can come and do what is right.

“We wish to call on Choho caretaker committee to, in the interest of the party, quietly seek the face of God and apologise to the party faithful their conduct in the past days and pack their baggage and go home to continue with their electioneering while we wait for COVID-19 to be over and normal businesses resume in Plateau State and Nigeria.”

But reacting, Chocho said his group had the backing of the national secretariat of the party, having received a letter from the leadership of the party appointing them into the caretaker committee. He added that they will not conduct the state congress, but will allow the electoral committee that will be constituted by the national secretariat to conduct the election.

He urged the Pyannap committee to toe the path of peace and direct their grievances to the national secretariat for redress.