A Peoples Democratic Party faction, under the aegis of Concerned Candidates and Stakeholders of the PDP, said in Abuja on Tuesday it would inaugurate members of its National Working Committee on January 22.
The faction also claimed it had proscribed the PDP Governors Forum, which it described as oppressive and retrogressive.
Emmanuel Obi-Nwosu, who also claimed to be the director-general of the faction, spoke on behalf of the group at the conference, which held at the faction’s secretariat located in the Asokoro District of Abuja.
He said, “Finally, the inauguration of the authentic National Working Committee of our great party will take place on Monday, the 22nd day of January, 2018. This is to enable all members of the NWC, who travelled out for holidays, to return.
“Only organs of the party as duly recognised by the party’s constitution shall henceforth function as stipulated in the constitution.
“To this end, the hitherto oppressive and retrogressive anti-democratic PDP Governors Forum, which is completely alien to the party’s constitution, is hereby proscribed.”
He assured members of the faction that under his watch, all presidential and other elective office aspirants will be guaranteed a level playing field during the primaries.
“No more shall our party entertain any form of list, whether unity or divisive. The party constitution shall be followed to the letter in the conduct of all future party elections,” he said.
Obi-Nwosu, who denied that his group was working against the ongoing peace process within the party, insisted that the action of his group was one of the major means of resolving internal dispute.
He added, “What happened at Eagle Square does not require reconciliation but restitution. What we are doing is to ensure that what was done wrong is done right. What we need in PDP now is thorough internal party democracy.”
He, nevertheless, said his group would not go to court to seek redress, explaining that “the Board of Trustees of the party has been vested with powers to arbitrate in the matter.”
While refuting claims that the BoT has accused the faction of trying to destabilise the party, he said the BoT Chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, “called me personally and said he had gone for medical checks and when he returns we will have a meeting.”
He added, “What we are doing is part of internal mechanism to ensure that the PDP does not go down. We are asking for restitution.
“You reconcile two people when there is a misunderstanding. You don’t reconcile people when a man kills another person’s son. What you do is restitution. There has to be punishment. The only thing the BoT will do is to do the right thing.”
On why they were operating from another secretariat, he said that rather than take laws into their hands, they decided to open their own secretariat. He stressed that fractionalism was allowed in every democracy, which he said “is our fundamental right as contained in the Constitution. We have a right of freedom of association.”
He denied the allegation that some members of the faction were not registered members of the party, saying, “We are all card-carrying members of the PDP and most of us served in the recent national convention.
“Letters were written to us in recognition of our contribution to the party. You don’t appoint non-party members into the party.
“It is an exercise in futility to paint a bad picture of members of this party by saying that we are not party members. We can’t sell our party.”
On his part, a former deputy director-general of the Prof. Tunde Adeniran Campaign Organisation, Chief Akindele, said Adeniran, who aspired to become the national chairman of the PDP, was not behind the alleged plan to fractionalise the party.
Akindele claimed he never told Adeniran about the activities of the group.
He said, “To be fair to him (Adeniran), I personally did not consult him on this. We exchange New Year greetings, but we didn’t talk about what we are doing.
“There are many people who call us and say they support us but that they don’t want to be seen yet and we respect that.
“We are not looking for settlement, many have got what they wanted and they have gone back to wait for the next round of impunity.”
On why he was part of the agitation, Franklyne Edede, who ran for the office of National Youth Leader of the party, said, “Other aspirants may not have the gut to do what we are doing. For me, this is a fight to finish; until equity is restored, we will continue to fight. Nobody is sponsoring us.”
Efforts made to get the reaction of the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, on the issue failed as calls made to his mobile number did not connect.
However, a member of the NWC of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the party had decided to ignore the group.
The source said, “This set of people has no locus standi. Did Nwosu contest any election? What about Akindele?
“So, what exactly is their group’s intention other than to come and scatter the party they claim to belong? It is that bad and unfortunate.
“I however want to tell them that they have failed. If none is angry with the outcome of the convention and doesn’t want to talk to the reconciliation committee, the next place is the court. Nigerians know those behind the group. When the time comes, they would be unveiled.”
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, had warned the group against using PDP’s logo, slogan, flag or any insignia of the party as part of its activities.
While speaking on the activities of the group late last year, Ologbondiyan also said the party would meet with all contestants at the recent convention this month, where he said issues bothering them would be addressed.
He warmed that persons using the party’s identity to create a faction risk being arrested by security agents.