The leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the minority leadership in the House of Representatives yesterday, split the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
The chairman of the PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin and the secretary, former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, clashed openly at a press conference on the submission of a committee report on the House Minority leadership feud to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Trouble started when the BoT rose from a five-hour meeting at the PDP National Secretariat, Abuja with the members sharply divided on the report on the crisis affecting the party’s lawmakers in the Lower House of the National Assembly.
While Wabara insisted at the media parley that the report had been submitted to the NWC after deliberation by the BoT, Jibrin argued that it had not been submitted because no position was taken on it.
The two leaders left the press conference angrily. Not minding the heavy rain pouring at the time, both leaders walked to their separate cars within the party’s premises and drove off.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that the PDP had suspended Hon Ndudi Elumelu and six other members of the Green Chamber on grounds of indiscipline. The party leadership accused them of disobeying a directive on the House minority positions.
While the PDP directed the members to vote for Kingsley Chinda and his team for the minority leadership seat, Elumelu and his team contested the minority seats and won.
Following the suspension, the PDP BoT set up a committee under the leadership of former Senate president, Iyorcha Ayu, to investigate the matter.
Other members of the committee are Senator David Mark, Senator Ibrahim Mantu and Senator Adolphus Wabara while Austin Opara served as secretary of the panel.
Indication that all was not well within party emerged two weeks ago when the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, accused the Ayu-led committee of being partial on the matter. He stated this against the backdrop of Opara’s withdrawal from the committee.
And signs that the crisis had deepen emerged yesterday when during the BoT meeting on the report, the NWC issued a statement on its position on the crisis.
The statement signed by the PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, read: “In the light of public enquiries and conflicting reports on the position of the leadership of our great party on issues related to the minority leadership of the House of Representatives, the National Working Committee (NWC) hereby clarifies that it has not yet received any report from the Board of Trustees (BoT) concerning the outcome of the five-member committee it set up to intervene on the contentious matter.
“Consequently, the NWC maintains that it has not taken any decision to review its subsisting stance on the minority leadership of the House of Representatives. The NWC therefore urges critical stakeholders, party members and the general public to completely disregard any report to the contrary.”
However, the division within the BoT manifested after a five-hour meeting where Jibrin and Wabara took opposing stance.
Jibrin, who had evaded a series of questions over the outcome of their meeting on the Ayu committee report, maintained that the issue was an internal matter and would be addressed in that way.
He said: “It is an internal issue and we will deal with it internally and by the time we are done, we will all laugh. We need to be united before anything. We should avoid all crisis and internal wrangling; when we come together, we can start to think of finding a way forward.
“The party is very determined to move ahead to ensure that the struggle continues. Therefore, we call on our members to remain calm, resolute and not to cause any trouble with anybody. We are going to continue with our party,” he stated.
In what seemed like a bid to clarify an issue over the committee in question, Wabara declared that “the BoT debated the report and we have handed it over to the NWC.”
But Jibrin countered:” I am the chairman of the BoT, we have not submitted the report. We are still studying it. We have not taken a position on the report.”
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