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Wike, Damagum’s Fate Hang In The Balance As PDP Holds NEC

Posted by Amarachi on Tue 02nd Apr, 2024 -

This assembly is poised to be a turning point, potentially reshaping the party’s future amid ongoing internal conflicts and political jockeying.

Nyesom Wike

Nyesom Wike

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will on April 18, 2024, hold a crucial National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

This assembly is poised to be a turning point, potentially reshaping the party’s future amid ongoing internal conflicts and political jockeying.

Since the contentious presidential primary in May 2022, won by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the PDP has been ensnared in strife, notably with the former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and his faction, the G5 governors.

These internal disputes have been exacerbated since the primary, undermining attempts to unify the party.

The NEC meeting is anticipated to tackle several pressing issues that have hindered the party’s unity and effectiveness.

High on the agenda is the resolution of persistent internal discord, consideration of disciplinary measures for members engaged in anti-party activities, and deliberations on the leadership dynamics within the party.

Speculation is rife that the NEC will address grievances, including the actions of certain members, like the FCT Minister, who openly declared non-support for Atiku in the elections, which has sparked calls for accountability.

Moreover, the suspension of National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and the tenure of acting Chairman Ambassador Umar Damagum are expected to be key topics of discussion.

With the party at a crossroads, Segun Showunmi, a notable PDP figure, has labelled the forthcoming NEC meeting as a “make or mar” event, crucial for determining the PDP’s direction and longevity.

Speaking with Daily Trust, Showunmi said, “This NEC is a make or mar meeting for the PDP because a lot of issues require the attention of the party members, and the members of the party and the Nigerian public have some minimum expectations as to how they expect the party to progress going forward. Whatever the NEC comes out with will have a far-reaching implication on the party, not only on the next election but also on the future and survival of the party.”

He said the state of the party, the constitution of the NWC, and the activities of members during the last election are issues that the NEC will look at, and the outcome will make or mar the party.

He added, “I believe that deep thinking and sober reflection should help them to know what is expedient; once they come out of the NEC, people will be holding their breath to see the outcome of the meeting, and I hope that they take it with the seriousness that it deserves.”

Despite the eagerness of many party members and Nigerians to see the outcome of the NEC meeting, the delay in convening the meeting was reportedly due to various reasons, including legal challenges stemming from the 2023 presidential election and the need to await the results of key governorship elections.

A source in the party told the platform that most of the PDP governors agreed that the party needs a total overhaul and that holding NEC without putting their acts together on what to do on the Wike issue and the status of Damagum will not augur well.

They also agreed that there was a need to wait for the outcome of the governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo.

The stakeholders thought that members needed to concentrate on these governorship elections to see the outcome before deciding on the next course of action.

The outcome of the NEC meeting is, therefore, expected to shape the future of the PDP and its role as the main opposition party in Nigeria.

It remains to be seen whether the party can overcome its internal challenges and emerge stronger from this critical juncture.

Speaking on the significance of the NEC meeting, a former National Secretary of the party, Umar Ibrahim Tsauri, emphasized the importance of the agenda set by the NWC and the role of NEC members in approving or objecting to it.

He stated, “The agenda of the NEC is always prepared by the NWC… So, they are the ones that will steer us towards what will be discussed.”

Tsauri highlighted key issues such as the status of the National Chairman in an acting capacity and the replacement of the Woman Leader that are expected to be on the agenda.

In another instance, Ambassador Umar Damagum, the acting chairman of the party, reiterated the need for unity within the PDP and cautioned against causing further crises.

He remarked, “My duty is to stabilize this party and not to cause a crisis… If Wike believes he is above this party, we will be able to show him that he is not above this party.”

Also one of the issues that will shape the outcome of the NEC meeting is whether the current leadership of the party has done enough to remain in the saddle or if there will be a change of guard.

Even the governors of the party are said to be seeking an alternative for who leads the party going forward.

Even though names like former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam have been mentioned, nothing concrete has been put forward in that direction.

A source among the current leaders said, “There will be a review of the situation since Ayu left as chairman, and they will see how the new leadership has performed; that will determine the next line of action.”

Some party members are also insisting that the North Central be given the position of National Chairman to complete Ayu’s tenure.

Those who are in this school of thought said it was unfair to allow Damagum, who hails from the North East, to continue in office.

However, speaking recently on the way forward, Suswam said external forces are undermining the party, rendering it ineffective as a viable opposition.

He lamented that the party has, since the 2023 general election, failed to live up to the expectations of Nigerians as a viable opposition.

Suswam blamed the current PDP leadership for the party’s current state and said the party will not make progress unless there is a change of leadership.

He said, “The party is being undermined by external force, which has rendered it ineffective as a viable opposition. Unless there is a change of leadership, the party will not make progress.”

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