Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has thrown his weight behind the embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus. He insisted he (Secondus) remains the party’s national chairman.
Speaking on Saturday in Yenagoa, Dickson condemned the decision by former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, to forcefully declare himself as chairman of the party.
According to the Governor, contrary to the reports in the media, the PDP has only one chairman, who is Uche Secondus.
Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, clarified the position of PDP Governors Forum, saying Secondus was still the Deputy National Chairman of the party; adding that in the absence of a substantive national chairman, he (Secondus) remains in acting capacity until a new chairman emerges.
The governor denied reports of any division in PDP Governors Forum or change in the current leadership of the party.
He said there are modalities for the emergence of chairman of the party as stated in its constitution and therefore there could not have been any reason to have three chairmen running the party at the same time.
He said, “There can’t be a vacuum and as servants of the law, we must be seen at all times to be people who are duty bound to uphold the law and to do the right things at all times in the eyes of the law.”
However, Gulak, on Saturday said he had informed the Independent National Electoral Commission that he was now in charge of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Gulak said he would not be worried if those in the national secretariat of the party refuse to open the Office of the national Chairman of the party for him to operate or not.
He stated that he had the capacity to operate from anywhere in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
According to him, Gulak must preside over the National Executive Commitee, Board of Trustee and the National Caucus meeting slated for this week.
Spokesperson for his faction in the PDP, Mr. Bernard Mikko, stated this in an interview with reporters in Abuja on Saturday.
Mikko said whatever decision taken by the various organs of the party would be “null and void and of no effect whatsoever,” except if Gulak was accepted in line with the court judgement.
He stated that the 14 days the party’s Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, was ordered to vacate the seat by a High Court had expired without the party consulting to fashion out a way of replacing him with another person from the region.
He added that party members and leaders in the North-East were in dilemma over the issue of replacement until Gulak made case.
Mikko said, “The PDP leaders have turned themselves into administrative officers. After the three months constitutionally allowed to act had expired, the party leadership failed to do the right thing.
“The window of 14 days has been closed for both the party and the North-east to nominate another person than Gulak.
“Any attempt to bring another person will be illegal. It is contempt of court for the North-east zonal chairman to go ahead and say he is holding a meeting to send a replacement from the region. We are trying to bring sanity to the party. We will hold them for contempt of court.
“Gulak has informed the Independent National Electoral Commission of all the developments.”
But INEC’s spokesperson, Mr. Nick Dazang, said he was not sure of Gulak’s claim. “I’m not sure of that. I would need time to find out,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Adamawa State chapter of the PDP has rejected Gulak as the national chairman of the party.
Gulak, who hails from the state, had on Wednesday stormed the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, where he declared himself as the national chairman of the former ruling party.
The former presidential aide, who arrived at the secretariat with his supporters, said he had taken over the leadership of the party from Secondus.
A day after Gulak pronounced himself as the substantive chairman, governors of the party also met in Abuja and asked Secondus to hand over to the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo.
Secondus however said he would not handover as demanded by the governors, saying that their (governors’) demand had no backing in the party’s constitution.
But the Adamawa chapter of the party said after the meeting of its National Working Committee, it decided to support Wilberforce Juta for the position.
A letter signed by the state chairman of the party, Mr. Joel Madaki, and addressed to Secondus said Juta was capable of using his experience to resuscitate the party.
The letter reads in part, “The State Working Committee of the PDP, Adamawa State Chapter, after due consultation with party stakeholders in the state and beyond, and having thoroughly deliberated intensively on the issue of the position of the National Chairman of the party has resolved as follows:
“That, it is in the best interest of the party in the state that the position of the national chairman of the PDP returns to Adamawa State.
“That, it is hereby resolved to support the candidature of Amb. Wilberforce Juta, a former Governor of the defunct Gongola State, one of the founding me,bears of the PDP, a member of G34, first National Vice Chairman( North-East) of the party and currently a member of its Board of Trustee for the called post of the national chairman of PDP.”
Madaki called on other interested members for the position of the national chairman in the state and zone, to drop their ambition for the “heightened interests of the party in Adamawa State.”
Before arriving at the candidature of Juta, Madaki said all the stakeholders in the state were consulted.
In his reaction, Gulak said he was not a party to the decision of his state chapter of the party.
Mikko, who spoke for him, said, “The party was given 14 days to bring another and it failed to do that? So, the window to do that has elapsed. Anything they do now will be challenged.
“Why did they have to wait for Gulak to activate the process. This is where they are in fault. Why did the governors of Taraba and Gombe not call a meeting of the North-east and nominate a candidate?
“They had seven months after the resignation of Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu to do this but they refused. The North-East shouldn’t think the entire party will be subjected to their whims and caprices.”