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Fresh Crisis Hits PDP Ahead of NEC Meeting



Just days before the scheduled April 18, 2024, National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a new crisis appears to be emerging within the party.

This is coming at a time when the NEC’s capacity to take decisive actions against members involved in anti-party activities is under question.

Just a few days ago, a coalition of PDP federal lawmakers called for the resignation of the party’s acting national chairman, Umar Iliya Damagun, over alleged anti-party activities.

The lawmakers were led by Hon Ikenga UgoChinyere, a member of the House of Representatives.


Among other things, they questioned the silence of the party leadership over the political situation in Rivers State, leading to the intervention by President Bola Tinubu.

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The lawmakers also claimed they were speaking on behalf of at least 60 lawmakers in the opposition lawmakers’ coalition in the National Assembly.


They said the local government leadership changes of the party were planned by Damagum, who they alleged have drafted members of the APC as caretaker committee members of the PDP in some states.

According to the lawmakers, PDP under Damagum has been crumbling, losing elections and facing court cases.

“Not only did Damagun hold tight to the seat for well over a year now, he has abdicated every responsibility of the office of the Chairman of PDP and is very comfortable serving APC interests,” the lawmakers stated.


“There had been agreement of a broad spectrum of the party leadership when it became clear that Damagum was not interested in conducting elections but to appoint Caretaker committees in at least 19 states where the tenures of the State and local government leaders were expiring to extend the tenures of these officials by three months.

“This decision which was made to cover every state was the wisdom that restrained Damagum from announcing a wholesale list of a majority of Caretaker Committees populated by APC agents masquerading as PDP members.

“However, despite that decision to retain everybody, Mr. Damagun went ahead and received a list of APC agents and announced them as members and leaders of the PDP Local Government Caretaker Committees wholly in Rivers State and partially in at least 10 other states. This is a direct attempt to kill the PDP and ensure it goes into extinction.


“To make issues clearer, we are speaking on behalf of at least 60 lawmakers in the opposition lawmakers’ coalition in the National Assembly. We all won our elections without any form of help or support from the party hierarchy. It has become clearer to us that this scenario was foisted so that as many of us as possible will fail the elections. Damagum never really wanted us to win.

“Voices have risen from the National Assembly to speak out and stop you. You have a chance to resign immediately, leave or be embarrassed out of the party. At least 60 of us in the PDP in the National Assembly will sever all relations with the Damagun leadership until he leaves office.

“At the scheduled National Executive Committee meeting, if Damagun by any manoeuvring however conjectured remains in office with the help of his APC friends at the end of the day, the party is now heading to the final slaughter shed,” the lawmakers said in a statement on Monday.


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A former governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam had alleged that the party was being controlled by external forces, rendering it ineffective as a viable alternative opposition.

Speaking on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Suswan lamented that the party has since after the 2023 general election failed to live up to expectations of Nigerians as a viable opposition.


The Senator blamed the current PDP leadership for the ineffective state of the largest opposition party in the country, saying unless there is an overhaul of its leadership, the party will “go nowhere” because the current leadership has lost focus.

He said: “I think there are subterranean forces inferring in the party and they are determining what is going on in the party. And the leadership is acquiescing to it.

“Subterranean suggests that people are trying to control the party from the outside. They are controlling the party from the outside and they are keeping the party in a comatose state.”


The development assumed a different twist on Tuesday when the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, distanced himself from lawmakers calling for the resignation of Damagum.

Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor federal constituency of Rivers, in a statement, cautioned members to “desist from unparliamentary practices”.

The statement was jointly signed by the minority leaders of the house of representatives.


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They include Ali Madaki of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) who is deputy minority leader; Ali Isah of PDP serving as minority whip; and George Ozodinobi of Labour Party (LP) who holds the position of deputy minority whip.

“Our attention has been drawn to a press release by the group and states unequivocally that the minority caucus and PDP caucus dissociate themselves from the said press statement.


“The said coalition of lawmakers led by Hon Ikenga Ugochinyere is unknown to the parliament and both caucuses condemn in totality the absurd move, uncouth and unparliamentary language of the group.

“That the general public should take note that such a coalition is unknown to parliament and their demands do not represent that of the minority parties.

“The said lawmakers should desist from further misinformation of the public and be more honourable in their conduct,” the group of lawmakers stated.