PDP crisis: New national chairman Damagum preaches reconciliation

Barely 24 hours after a change in leadership, the Ambassador Umar Iliya Damagum-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday reversed the referral of the Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom to the party’s national disciplinary committee.

Similarly, the NWC also upturned the suspension of former Katsina state Governor Ibrahim Shema, former Ekiti state Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, Professor Dennis Ityavyar and Dr. Aslam Aliyu, both party chieftains from Benue and Zamfara states respectively.

Damagum stepped in on Wednesday following a Benue state High Court order which upheld Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s suspension by his ward in Benue state.

Prior to his suspension, Ayu had sanctioned  Fayose and others for alleged anti-party activities.

Time for reconciliation – Damagum

But the party under Damagum said it’s time for reconciliation and repositioning of the party.  

PDP National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba made the position known in a statement in Abuja at the end of its first NWC meeting after Ayu’s sack.

He said: “NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among Party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.”

“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.

“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State), Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State), Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State) and Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).

“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the Party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).

“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our Party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity, and harmony in our Party at this critical time,” the statement said.

The NWC stressed “the need for the PDP to remain focused as it continues to take every necessary action to recover the alleged stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians and Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.”

PDP without Ayu will be stronger – Wike

And speaking on the development, Rivers state Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said the party would be better and stronger without Ayu.

Under Ayu, Wike said, “the PDP became weak, lacking that kind of leadership that should make it a strong political force to reckon with because the embattled national chairman was busy with personal gains he could grab.”

Governor Wike said this Wednesday at the Rumuigbo Civic Centre, venue of the inauguration of Rumuigbo Internal Roads in Obio-Akpor local government area.

“I believe that we should have a strong leadership. I can’t support people whose interest is only to amass money.  I can’t support people where we did congresses and raised about N12.5billion and within two months, that money was gone. And somebody has stayed in office for one year, he is building university, I won’t support such.

“That is why I am in support that that bloody criminal must leave office if we want PDP to be strengthened. I owe no apology to anybody. I said it before, this is the final fight we will fight and we are going to win this fight.”

Commenting on the internal roads project, Governor Wike said in December 2022 when it was flagged-off, he promised it would be completed and inaugurated by him, saying it’s a promise fulfilled.

Governor Wike told them that he feels satisfied to have performed well in office and declared in good authority that he served Rivers people credibly without also disappointing or embarrassing his kinsmen.

He assured of inaugurating more projects until the midnight of 28th May 2023 without any project already ongoing abandoned.

Governor Wike also said he was not afraid of any visit from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) when he leaves office, “because there is nothing to hide and the numerous projects are evidences of how resources of the State have been used.”

Inaugurating the project, Bauchi state Governor Bala Mohammed commended Governor Wike for achieving more projects for Rivers people. 

He attributed this not entirely to too much money at the disposal of  Wike, but  his commitment to providing better living condition for Rivers people.

Governor Mohammed also acknowledged Wike’s political sagacity as demonstrated in PDP’s victory during  the governorship, the National Assemble and  State Assembly seats, and at the same time delivering votes that contributed to his preferred southern president.

Providing a description of the project, Commissioner for Works Dr George -Kelly Dakorinima Alabo said the roads were scattered in 17 streets of different sizes.

According to him, they measured 8.5 kilometres in length, and delivered within five months without disruption from the host community.

In his welcome address, Chairman of Obio-Akpor local government area, George Ariolu, noted the internal roads being inaugurated in Rumuigbo as evidence of the urban renewal programme of the Wike administration.

He thanked the governor for being a rare politician who has sustained delivery of projects that impacted the life of Rivers people positively.

About Abdulrahman Zakariyau, Abuja and Dennis Essang,Port Harcourt

View all posts by Abdulrahman Zakariyau, Abuja and Dennis Essang,Port Harcourt →