PDP leadership crisis deepens

Gulak, NWC defy  govs’ intervention

By Emeka Nze

The simmering crisis sweeping through the Peoples Democratic Party, seems far from abating as  various  stakeholders, including governors elected on the party’s platform have disagreed on the modus operandi to resolve issue surrounding the national chairmanship seat of the party.
Sequel to the sudden ‘hijacking’ of the party leadership on Wednesday by Ahmed Gulak, former Special Adviser to the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP Governors Forum resolved that the National Secretary, Professor Adewale Oladapo lead the party and asked its Acting National Chairman, Uche Secondus to step aside.
Secondus came on board, following the  resignation of Dr. Adamu Mu’azu, a former governor of Bauchi, May, last year, after the party lost the presidential election.

But Gulak considered Secondu’s stay in office as an aberration, and therefore headed for the court which  declared the acting chairman as an illegal occupant of the office.
With the judgement therefore, the former presidential aide moved against the leadership on Wednesday and declared himself the party’s national chairman , “in line with the court ruling.”
Sensing an imminent danger, the PDGF who spoke through their chairman, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state,  at the end of their meeting, directed Olawepo, to take over the party leadership pending the appointment of a substantive National Chairman  from the North-east.

However , the decision did not go down well with  both Gulak and the Secondus-led National Working Committee of the party.
Rejecting the governors position, the NWC  said there was no change in the party leadership pending the outcome of next week’s meetings by the statutory organs of the party, namely;  the NWC, National Caucus, BoT and NEC which would “deliberate on some developments including the replacement, from the North East of Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, who resigned as the National Chairman of the party.”

The party’s National Legal Adviser, Barr. Victor Kwon,  who made the NWC position known, said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party wishes to assure all members of the party nationwide that there has not been any change whatsoever in the leadership composition of the party at the national level.
“The replacement will be in strict adherence to the provisions of the constitution of our great party as specified in Section 47(6). Until then, the status quo remains, which means the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, remains as the Acting National Chairman.”

To this end, he said: “All relevant stakeholders of our party, including the PDP Governor’s Forum, National Caucus and the Board of Trustees (BoT) as well as our leadership structures at all levels are united behind the current National Working Committee in the efforts to rebuild, reposition and strengthen our party for the challenges ahead.”
Taking a similar position, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Gulak said the governors’ decision was ill-advised.

The statement said: “This is not only contrary to the Constitution of the PDP 2012 as amended, it is in flagrant contempt of the declarative judgment given by the FCT High Court on the 16th day of December, 2015 which clearly states “that under section 47 (6) of the 1st defendant’s (PDP) constitution, upon the resignation of the former National Chairman of the 1st defendant (PDP) from office, only, the plaintiff (Alhaji Barr. Ahmed Ali Gulak) or any other eligible members of the 1st defendant (PDP) from the North-East zone of Nigeria, where the said Chairman of the 1st defendant (PDP) originated is eligible to be appointed to act in that office pending elections into that office.”
Going further,  the former Jonathan aide  claimed that “the National Secretary is precluded by the constitution of our party from chairing the National Executive Committee (NEC), the National Working Committee (NWC) and the caucuses of the party,” noting that only the national chairman does.

“It is therefore clear that from the statement of the Chairman, PDP Governor’s Forum that the office of the National Chairman was vacant. And this has been cured by the pronouncement of the FCT High Court, Abuja.
“The National Chairman uses this opportunity to appeal to our teeming members nationwide to remain calm and rally round this new leadership so that peace may reign in our party and together we will reposition our party on the path of glory.
“The National Chairman of PDP has profound respect for the Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum and all its members,” he  added.

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