PDP crisis deepens as seven national officers resign

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…We have engaged aggrieved members – Ologbondiyan

…Saraki-led committee gives Makinde month-end ultimatum to reconcile party chapter

By Our correspondents

The crisis rocking main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reached its peak, as seven national officers resigned from their roles in the party.

The party chieftains, in different letters, addressed to its National Secretary on Tuesday, said that their decision to forfeit their positions in the party is hinged on the backdrop of being sidelined and unfairly treated by the National Chairman, Uche Secondus.

Some of the executive members include; the National Deputy Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Hassan Yakubu; and the Deputy National Woman Leader, Hadizat Umoru.

The latest event has further worsened the leadership crisis rocking the party after an erstwhile spokesperson of the party’s presidential campaign, Kasim Afegbua, accused the chairman and the leadership of series of offences.

Afegbua had called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in April, to probe the party’s leadership.

He visited the offices of the anti-corruption agencies to submit his petition and asked them to look into the financial transactions of Mr Secondus, in the spirit of transparency, accountability, and book-keeping, in line with the existing anti-corruption laws.

He also alleged that much of the financial transactions of the PDP under its present leadership have been shrouded in mystery and accused the leadership of a deliberate attempt to short-change the party in the build-up to 2023 general elections.

In a petition, he asked the anti-graft agencies to scrutinise close to N10 billion that was allegedly accrued to the party’s purse from 2017 till date, especially those that were as a result of sales of nomination forms for presidential, governorship, House of Assembly, and senatorial elections.

Afegbua alleged that the national chairman avoided the use of the party’s bank accounts and used one Morufu Nigeria Limited as a conduit pipe for financial mismanagement in the sales of forms in 2019.

He, therefore, stressed the need for the party’s leadership to lead by example by ensuring transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said during media briefing that the NWC of the party dialogue amongst key stakeholders to put out the fire had since commenced.

According to him, “The meeting of the National Working Committee and the deputies immediately took place to dialogue on the issues that were raised.”

He further revealed that the party was working assiduously to mend fences between all the perceived aggrieved members and members of the National Working Committee.

He emphasised that, “The internal conflict resolution mechanism of our party has also been immediately activated to put these issues behind us. We call on all the leaders, stakeholder and members of our great party to remain calm as we collectively resolve these issues.”

In another twist, the National Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Hon. Udo Okoye has  berated the statement attributed to the youth leader against the National Chairman of the party.

The media office of the National Chairman had described as unfortunate the statement from the Party’s National Youth leader, calling on the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus to resign from his position.

The media office said it wonders why it took the National Youth leader three and half years before realizing that the National Chairman is incompetent or that he is enriching himself.

“The agenda of Hon. Udo Okoye and his sponsors are to take this party back to Egypt but they have failed because the party is focused and unwilling to look back as they match towards regaining power.

“The party structure is intact and anybody who allows him or herself to fall to the inducement for an interim administration in the party will be disappointed because the stakeholders are not ready to go backward any longer,” it said.

The media office of the National Chairman advised media houses to look out for “anti-democratic operatives who think they can use money to destroy this party and play into the hand of the inept ruling party, the APC.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that following their resignation, political gladiators within the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have been reaching out to the resigned PDP leaders to join the ruling party.

It is therefore speculated that the politicians may in the coming days declare their interest to join the ruling party.

Reports have emerged that following the meeting of the Senator Bukola Saraki-led Reconciliation Committee, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who is the South West leader of the Party, has been given an ultimatum to run an all-inclusive government and make the aggrieved members happy.

Saraki, who is the immediate past  Senate President, on Tuesday, led a delegation to Oyo State to reconcile aggrieved members of the party to regain their trust in the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration.

Speaking to journalists in the aftermath of the meeting, an arrowhead among the aggrieved members of the Party in Oyo State, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeyan, noted that Governor Makinde must work to appeal to the demands of the aggrieved members for true reconciliation to be feasible.

He disclosed that the committee pegged the ultimatum to the end of August to ensure the reconciliation of contending interests in the State chapter of the Party.

Following a separate meeting with him and the governor at the state capital, Ologbondiyan while briefing journalists said: “I did not follow them to Government House. The Saraki-led committee and I met at Carlton Gate Hotel here in Ibadan, and they gave the governor till ending of this month to meet up with our demands.

“So, the governor needs to do the needful before we can work with him. They asked him to make aggrieved members happy; that he should run an all-inclusive government.

“The reconciliation committee has not done anything other than giving him the ultimatum of month-end to do the needful, and after that they will now come to discuss the way forward.

“I agree with the Saraki-led reconciliation committee in their resolution today. They are the party leaders and we have to respect them. They have tried.

“I can only talk about the issue when the reconciliation committee comes together again at the end of this month. So I don’t have anything to say for now,” he said.