Less than three weeks to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there were strong indications last night that the party was headed for a serious crisis that might factionalise and weaken the main opposition party in the country.
Predictably, in Ogun State, nine members of the state executive of Ogun State chapter of the party on Monday handed down an indefinite suspension order to its state chairman, Adebayo Dayo, and secretary, Semiu Sodipo for alleged gross misconduct. A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party and former Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that some elders and founding fathers of the PDP across the country recently met and rejected the processes leading to the national convention of the party slated for May 21, 2016.
Waziri, who was also the PDP governorship candidate in Yobe State in the last general election, said the party’s congresses held across the nation last weekend was a “false start” in the efforts and determination of the party’s elders and other stakeholders to re-position the PDP ahead of the 2019 general election.
He said the congresses were not conducted in line with the party’s guidelines and constitution.
Waziri added: “As one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party and long-time member of the Board of Trustees, I wish to express serious concern over the procedures leading to the national convention of our party; the last Saturday congress was a false start.
“In my state, Yobe, materials arrived there very late; the congresses were not conducted in line with the party’s guidelines, and being a veteran in the game, I know the congresses were skewed to achieve a particular purpose. And after due consultation with our supporters, I wish to reject the outcome of the congresses in Yobe State.’’
He said that from reports across the country, many leaders of the party had also expressed similar concern over the conduct of the congresses, adding that in the next few days, many critical stakeholders would also come out to condemn the procedures leading to the convention.
According to him, “We have withdrawn from the processes leading to the national convention of the PDP. But we will not be pushed out of the party; in the next few days, many elders and critical stakeholders of the party will take decisions in our efforts to reposition the party as a credible and vibrant opposition party.
“That will include ensuring there is inter-party democracy. In the next few days, many party members will come out to ensure that we behave in accordance with the party’s norms and values. Many meetings have been held across the nation on how we can strengthen the party that will lead us to victory in the future.’’
The former Minister of Police Affairs further stated that many leaders of the party were concerned that the Senator Ali Modu Sherrif-led executive was not laying a solid foundation for the party to face the challenges ahead, adding that as someone who had benefited immensely from the party, he had moral obligation to speak out when things were going wrong in the party. “If we are serious in returning PDP to the people, we must also allow the people to decide who lead them; the affairs of the party should be every members’ affairs,’’ he said.
Speaking on the zoning of the party’s positions, Waziri said the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) was short of inputs from the party’s BoT and other stakeholders.
Asked whether there is a script to destroy the main opposition party, the former minister said: “Nobody is interested in destroying the party; we have more than three years to the next general election; the strength of the party will be tested; we will see whether we can attract more members to our party. We want to lay a solid foundation for the party.’’
Meanwhile in Ogun State, nine members of the state executive of Ogun State chapter of the party on Monday handed down indefinite suspension order to its state chairman, Adebayo Dayo, and secretary, Semiu Sodipo for alleged gross misconduct. While speaking on behalf of the nine officers, PDP Organising Secretary, Dr Folasade Filani said the suspension was in accordance with section 21 (5) of the party’s constitution.
Filani accused Dayo and Sodipo of allegedly misappropriating N250 million which was money that was realised from the sale of state expression of interest forms and returns from the national expression of interest forms , indiscriminate imposition of candidates and exclusion of party officials from the ongoing PDP congresses.
In his reaction, Dayo, said the action of the nine officers was illegal and in clear breach of the party’s constitution. He described the aggrieved officers as those who had defected to either the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Social Democratic Party (SDP) ahead of the last general elections.
He said, “The constitution does not allow anybody to do that. So, their action is illegal. The constitution is very explicit.”
Filani, however, declared that the chairman and secretary would remain suspended pending the time their cases would be determined by the appropriate organ of the party.
According to her, we pass a vote of no confidence on the state chairman, Engr. Bayo Dayo and the State Secretary, Alhaji Semiu Sodipo and further suspend the duo respectively for an indefinite period from the party with immediate effect, having formed the quorum of over one-third as prescribed by section 21 (5) of the party’s constitution, pending the time their cases would be determined by the appropriate organ of the party.”
The nine members however, unanimously elected Chief Ibukunolu Ojosipe and Muritala Adegoke as interim chairman and secretary respectively.
Filani stated that the PDP national secretariat would be duly informed about the development, urging party members to cooperate with the new interim officers.
She claimed that from the financial facts available between 2013 and 2015, it was discovered that over N250million was misappropriated and spent by the duo without approval and due process.
She said, “The money includes sale of state expression of interest forms and returns from the national expression of interest forms. The records show that the money was spent without approval and due process and as such, changed hand unscrupulously.
“Aside from financial misappropriations, the indiscriminate manners to which party officers, staff and members are suspended and expelled without due process speaks volume.
“Imposition of unpopular candidates for 2015 elections was highly pathetic. Two candidates were campaigning on a single ticket. This was much more conspicuous at Ogun Central district regrettably where we have 52 percent of the total votes.”
Fresh Crisis Rocks PDP over Congresses
Reviewed by Link Naija