There is anxiety among members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the fight between the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu shifts to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party
This is even as the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), appears to be far from over.
A top PDP member told Saturday Sun in Abuja, that barring any last minute change, the NEC is likely to meet next week to appraise developments in the party as part of preparations for the 2023 general elections.
The proposed NEC meeting would be the first time the party organ would be meeting since the May 28/29 PDP national convention.
The PDP NEC, which consists of serving and former governors, principal officers of the National Assembly, members of the National Working Committee (NWC), members of the Board of Trustees (BoT), among others, is the second highest organ of the opposition party. It is the only party organ that can take decisions on the removal of the national chairman after the national convention.
Saturday Sun gathered that in the aftermath of unsuccessful attempts to resolve the crisis rocking the PDP, the NEC might become the battleground in the supremacy battle between the Rivers governor and Ayu.
Multiple sources said a number of party leaders are apprehensive that the NEC, if not properly managed, might further be polarised ahead of the 2023 general elections. The opposition party has been enmeshed in crisis since the emergence of the Delta State governor as PDP vice presidential candidate, with Wike and his supporters,insisting on the replacement of the national chairman as a condition for peace.
Nevertheless, Ayu has stated repeatedly that he would not resign, insisting that he was elected for a four year tenure. On the flipside, the composition of the Presidential Campaign Council has been stalled by the crisis.
Also, a meeting of the PDP NEC and national caucus, scheduled for the last month was called off by the party leadership, amidst fears that party leaders opposed to Ayu’s continued stay in office as chairman were likely to use the meeting of the party organ to move for his ouster.
According to news gathered ahead of the proposed NEC meeting, pro-and anti-Ayu PDP leaders are warming up for a showdown in their bids to push through their position at the meeting.
Regardless, a member of the PDP NEC, from one of the North Central states, told Saturday Sun that there was need for the opposition party to tread softly in the management of the crisis.
According to him, convening a NEC meeting without first of all pacifying aggrieved members might be counter productive for the opposition party.
“I read that the party is inviting us to a NEC meeting. But that should not be the starting point. The starting point wouldn’t have been a NEC meeting. If you have not been able to mend fences and you invite people for a NEC meeting, and it boomerangs. NEC is a very high and serious organ of the party.
“So, when you don’t appeal to the mind of the people and you invite them to a NEC meeting and it boomerangs, it sends a very dangerous signal to the public and even the followers.
“The starting point would have been that some organs and influential groups in the party ought to have been invited. Groups like Former Speakers Forum, Former Ministers Forum, former governors of the party. These are influential groups in the party,” he stated.
Similarly, a source close to one of the governors told Saturday Sun that the outcome of the NEC meeting, whenever it is held, would determine whether or not the PDP would go to the election with a united front.
Similarly, the ruling APC, headed by Abdullahi Adamu, may settle for a proposed NEC meeting later this month, where unresolved issues are expected to be thrashed out. Adamu, who was recently rumoured to be on his way out to pave the way for a Christian national chairman, sources say, had been disturbed that the NEC meeting might seal his fate, unless President Muhammadu Buhari intervenes.
One of the sources said frantic efforts were being made by Adamu and other leaders of the party to prevail on former presidential aspirants to endorse Tinubu’s candidacy. The source said Adamu is also lobbying different organs of the party, expected to be present during the proposed NEC meeting, to extend the absolute powers conferred on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, to take decisions.
Among the key issues expected to either be resolved or escalated during the NEC meeting include Adamu’s planned replacement, financial status of the party, reversal of NWC’s absolute powers, ratification of the membership of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation, and controversy over same-faith ticket, among others. The source said: “A meeting was supposed to have been held during the week by former presidential aspirants. The sole aim of that meeting was for them to endorse Tinubu.
“Unfortunately, the three most important aspirants didn’t even commit to the meeting and they didn’t attend either. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, didn’t commit. So, the meeting collapsed.
“That move was initiated by some people in Tinubu’s camp, but he refused to personally reach out to the former aspirants. They probably felt insulted and decided to ignore them.
“It is expected that NEC meeting will resolve these issues. The National Working Committee (NWC) of APC is trying to avoid this important meeting. But they can’t do that. It must hold.”
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