PDP risks bleak future as Wike camp fights on

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Last week, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, held its much anticipated 98th National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting in Abuja.

The meeting as expected was widely attended by prominent leaders of the party, including former Vice President and 2023 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and former Vice President, Namadi Sambo.

Also present in the NEC meeting were the state governors: Bala Mohammed (Bauchi State); Seyi Makinde (Oyo State), Ahmed Fintiri (Adamawa State), Ademola Adeleke (Osun State); Sim Fubara (Rivers State), Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, among others.

The NEC at the end of its meeting endorsed the Amb. Umar Damagum-led National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, giving him a fresh bill of health to continue acting in office till the next NEC.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who read the communiqué by NEC, said that the issue of the party leadership, which was the main bone of contention before the meeting, would be considered in August.

Debo said that the NEC tasked all organs, leaders, stakeholders and members of the PDP to close ranks and put aside their differences and work together to reposition and return the PDP to power.

“Our party emphasises the need for reconciliation and stability within the party at this time. Therefore, the issue of the National Chairman, Damagum, has been deferred to the next NEC meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for August 15th.

“NEC also approved the reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the party,” he said.

However, the development, DAILY POST gathered, signalled an indication that Wike would continue to maintain an upper hand in the leadership crisis plaguing the party, with Damagun remaining as the acting National Chairman. This is despite his estranged relationship with the PDP.

Prior to the NEC meeting, the issue of whether Damagum should maintain his position or be changed was the main point of discussion among PDP officials.

The discussion restored hostilities between the Atiku and the Wike camps.

Wike is currently serving as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory under the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, despite his claim of still being a member of the PDP.

Speaking to DAILY POST, a Public Affairs Analyst and Communication Scholar at Peaceland University, Enugu, Nduka Odo, said the PDP was floundering not because Wike was too strong nor because of the strength of his tactics or manoeuvring.

According to him, Wike and others who press the neck of the PDP leadership, romance with the opposition, and attend NEC meetings with braggadocio were doing so because people have lost interest in the party.

Odo warned that if the PDP doesn’t put its house and acts in order, and atone for how it treated its strongholds, it may no longer exist at the national level in next election cycles.

He said: “People are getting it all wrong. What is happening is different from what most people and even the press described.

“I don’t see it as Wike having a strong grip on the PDP. For you to appreciate the situation properly, I want you to take a look at the forces that got the party where it is today.

“The party became blind to the sensitivities of its stronghold. The South-East has been the strongest base of the PDP. That’s followed by the South-South. When individual interests overrode party and national interest, the party hit rock bottom.

“The party thought it wise to give its presidential ticket to Atiku, a northern Fulani Muslim, to replace Buhari, a northern Fulani Muslim in a country that has been run based on alternations.

“Now, the party is floundering, not because Wike is too strong. He seems to have a strong grip on PDP leadership, not because of the strength of his tactics or manoeuvring.

“Wike or anyone is able to press the neck of the PDP leadership, romance with the opposition, and attend NEC meetings with bragadacio because people have lost interest in the party.

“Future is no longer associated with the party at the national level. That’s what happens when individual interest overshadows party or national interest. Is it not recently that Emeka Ihedioha resigned from the party?

“There is a reduced interest in the party at national level. So, Wike or anyone can run the party anyhow and nothing will happen.

“If the PDP doesn’t put its house and acts in order, and atone for how it treated its strongholds, the party may no longer exist at the national level in two election cycles. APC is out to swallow carrier politicians. Labour Party is out to sweep up the younger generations disillusioned by the others”.

Meanwhile, the PDP in a press statement on Tuesday, after an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC), said it has reviewed the issue of the Caretaker Committee of River State.

According to the statement, NWC resolved to intensify action in the continuing consultation to resolving the issues amicably in conjunction with the PDP Governors’ Forum.

Hon. Debo Ologunagba, PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, who made this known, said the NWC noted the existence of an ex parte order issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, restraining it from further action with respect to the status of the Rivers State Caretaker Committee List as published.

He said the party organ also recognized the concerted intervention and efforts of various organs of the party, particularly the PDP Governors’ Forum to find a political solution to the crisis.

“However, while the Rivers State Caretaker Committee List as published stands in compliance with the Order of the Court, the NWC notes the concerted intervention and efforts of various Organs of the Party, particularly the PDP Governors’ Forum to finding a political solution to the issue of the River State Caretaker Committee,” he added.

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Osita Okechukwu has stated that “PDP’s blank communiqué with no mention of Wike’s masquerade signposts a sinking party.”

Okechukwu, who is the immediate past Director General of Voice of Nigeria, VON, told DAILY POST that the PDP instead of facing the realities in the party was busy heaping blame on hunger and insecurity in the land.

He said that “instead of careful introspection of its bleeding ailments and how to fix its troubled Wike’s Masquerade, imbibe the best tenets of internal democracy devoid of breach of the zoning convention, extant laws, planlessness and squandermania, the PDP arrogantly hauled unnecessary blame game on the APC.”

“My understanding is that PDP may not even recover in August after the ward, LGA, and State congresses and national convention, when they failed ab initio to embark on careful introspection to examine the root causes of Wike’s masquerade which led a party that boasted of 60 years uninterrupted reign to woeful failure in 2023 presidential election.

“Truly PDP needs soul searching to make amends, rather than sweeping its troubled faction under the carpet. The party must first clean the log in its eyes and learn that blame game is no solution provider, before playing an effective role as the main opposition party,” Okechukwu quipped.

He reminded the PDP that they not only agreed to remove fuel subsidy in the 2023 presidential election campaign, but were “the first to embrace neoliberalism, hence privatised both failed and lucrative State Owned Enterprises (SOE).”

He said the PDP cultivated the ground for Nigeria’s notorious World Poverty Capital status and palpable insecurity, by less than transparent sale of SOEs and squandermania of Oil Windfalls.

Okechukwu challenged the PDP “to name any SOE they privatised that succeeded as envisaged by neoliberals – all failed – NEPA, Ajaokuta Steel, Aluminum Smelter Company Akwa Ibom, NICON Insurance, Mambilla et al.

“PDP took sixteen years of planlessness and squandermania to sell our national assets, even legislators’ quarters, hence dislocated our socio-economic fabric, abandoned critical infrastructures and truncated our democracy.

“APC in the last nine years has been engaged in the Herculean task of reconstruction, rehabilitation and renewal under COVID-19 and poor oil revenue.”

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