PDP in Disarray over Who Leads the Party

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The opposition Peoples Democratic Party is embroiled in a fresh crisis over who becomes its national chairman.

A former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, however stormed the Wadata House headquarters of the PDP in Abuja on Tuesday and asked Secondus to vacate the seat.

Gulak said he wanted to take over the seat though sources said he was fronting for certain northern interest.

He was on the entourage of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Bala Mohammed, to Ado Ekiti about two weeks ago, where Mohammed had gone to ask for Governor Ayodele Fayose’s support to become the PDP national chairman.

The PDP, after 16 years in power, lost the 2015 general elections amid internal crisis, at the peak of which five of its governors defected to the then opposition All Progressives Congress, which eventually won the presidential election.

The latest crisis has its roots in the desire by the North to regain the chairmanship of the PDP, barely three months after Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu resigned from the position.

Mu’azu, from Bauchi State, resigned from the party’s chairmanship on the heels of its abysmal performance in the 2015 polls thus paving way for his deputy, Uche Secondus, from Rivers State, to assume office as acting national chairman since June.
ayose, however told the ex-FCT minister that it was the turn of the South-West to produce the chairman of the PDP at the national level.

The Ekiti governor said Mohammed should go to his ward and start rebuilding the party, saying there was no need for a substantive national chairman now and that Secondus should be allowed to finish Mu’azu’s tenure, which should end in March 2016.

The former FCT minister, also from the same Bauchi State like Mu’azu, had told Fayose that he merely wanted to complete the former national chairman’s tenure.

Gulak told journalists on Tuesday that he had informed members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that Secondus should leave office immediately.

He said he had submitted a letter to the NWC, informing the members that another person from the North-East should replace Mu’azu.

He said, “My visit was to bring in writing to the notice of the party my intention to replace the former National Chairman of the party, after his voluntary resignation”.

“As a member, and by virtue of the constitution, I know there’s a vacancy. So it needs to be filled and I’m here to fill it. We need vibrant, bold and courageous leadership in PDP.

“The resignation of the former chairman was done voluntarily. And maybe due to the disastrous outing of the party in the last elections, he decided to resign as a man who wants to take responsibility for his actions

“The position of the constitution is that when a principal officer of the party resigns, the replacement should come from the zone from which the former person had come.”

He berated the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, for suggesting that the South-West should produce the next national chairman of the party, saying that the governor must be ignorant of the party’s constitution.

He said, “Fayose should avail his mind to the provisions of the party’s constitution. This, if he had, he should have known that a replacement for the resigned chairman should come from the North-East. I didn’t say so, the party’s constitution did.

“If the National Secretary had resigned, then it would have been natural for the successor to come from the South-West.”

He denied being pushed by any interest group to raise the dust, saying that “I believe that I’m enough a force in this party to push myself.”

But, the party’s National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, while reacting to the Gulak’s “letter”, said Jonathan’s former special adviser on political matters was ignorant of the workings of the party.

Oladipo denied seeing Gulak at the party’s secretariat let alone receiving any letter from him.

He said, “Gulak should know that the current acting chairman is not leading a Caretaker Committee, and the constitution provides that he, being the Deputy National Chairman, should assume office in the event that the chairman is not there.

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