By Henry Umoru
The lingering question amid the PDP national chairmanâ€™s truce bid in the troubled state chapters is, can he succeed?
ONE major inheritance of Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as the sixth national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from his predecessors, Ahmadu Ali and Prince Vincent Eze Ogbulafor, is the hangover of state congresses held before now whichÂ have remained unresolved in some PDP-controlled states.
To say the least, the party isÂ polarized in the states followingÂ irreconcilable differences among members.
There is internal wrangling, aimed at controlling the party structures in theÂ states. Even in some of the statesÂ where the issues were resolved through harmonization ofÂ the factions by the Ogbulafor-led national working committee, NWC,Â then, crisis appears to be rearing its head there.
In the last thirty- nine days as national chairman of the PDP, Nwodo has been preoccupied with how to stem the crisisÂ and he has been having peace meetings in the states, where the party is factionalised.
In Kano State, the fight is between the Unity Committee with Alhaji Usman Alhaji as the arrow head calling for the dissolution of Faruk Iya-led state executive committee of the PDPÂ against the backdrop that the structure isÂ controlled by the former governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Other members of the KanoÂ Unity Committee are minister/deputy chairman, National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman; Akilu Sani Indabawa; Aminu Baba Danbappa; Farouk Lawan; Mohammed Sani Abacha; Col. Habibu Shaibu (rtd); Mansur Ahmed Yankasai; Abba Dabo; Lili Gabari;Â senators;Â members of the Federal House of Representatives and state House of Assembly, among others.
In Plateau State, after series of failed attempts to resolve the problemsÂ in the state chapter, the then PDP national chairman, Ogbulafor, brought down the sledge hammer on the factions by dissolving them.
He replaced the Professor Dakum Shown-led state executive with a seven-member committee with Chief Abu King Shuluwa as chairman, whileÂ former governor of the state, Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun; Chief S. D. Lot; Barrister Halima Alfa were members. Other membersÂ on the committee were Professor Ganyir Lombin, Alhaji Alhassan Shuabu while Alhaji Adamu Zakari served as the secretary.
Since then, Plateau PDP never saw peace. TheÂ Shown-led Exco, which was loyal to Governor Jang, went to court to seek redress andÂ won. The problem in the state PDP lingers.
In Delta State, PDP has not seen peace asÂ there is aÂ strong opposition against the Peter Nwaoboshi- led executiveÂ even as former information minister and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, on Wednesday, led a delegation of Delta State elders, leaders and stakeholders to the national chairmanÂ and asked himÂ to, among other things,Â dissolve the state PDP exco and put in place a caretaker committee that will conductÂ fresh ward, local government and state congresses.
In Edo State, the fight isÂ between Chief Tony Anenih and the former governor ofÂ old Bendel State, Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia,Â on who controls the party structure. The crisis in the state PDP started after the congress which produced Chief Edward Sado during Governor Oserhiemen Osunborâ€™s tenureÂ and with the emergence of Chief Dan Orbih as a parallelÂ chairman of another exco and due to some irreconcilable differences, the matter was brought to the then PDP national chairman, Ogbulafor,Â who then called for the harmonization of the two camps.
The harmonisationÂ gave birth to an Anenih loyalist, theÂ late Chief Samson Ekhabafe,Â fromÂ Akoko Edo local government, as chairman. Angered by what happened, Sado and his group went to court, but later withdrew the case. Orbih from Anenihâ€™s camp was made the chairman, but the problemÂ lingers against the backdrop that Elder Sunny Uyigue from Ogbemudiaâ€™s camp says he is theÂ acting chairman.
But,Â last week, Orbih led some members of the party to the national secretariat to see the national chairman whoÂ promised that he would fix another meeting, lock the two groups in one room, no food, but there will be water and that there must be an end to the Edo PDP crisis.
Also in Oyo State, the party is inÂ factions between the stakeholders and leaders loyal to Governor Adebayo Alao -Akalaâ€™s group and that of the former governor, Senator Rasheed Ladoja. In the state, while Alhaji Yunus Akintunde is the chairman of the care taker committee set up by the then Ogbulafor- ledÂ PDPÂ NWC,Â Alao-Akala continues to relate with the Alhaji Dejo Afolabiâ€™s leadership in defiance to the Nwachukwuâ€™s EldersÂ Committeeâ€™s recommendation.
The PDP in Imo StateÂ also hasÂ a very serious challenge especially since the defection of Governor Ikedi Ohakim from the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, to the PDP. In the state,Â there are two groups, the Alliance, which hasÂ immediate pastÂ minister of commerce and industry and ex-governor of the state, Achike Udenwa, Senator Ararume, Rochas Okorocha, among others as well as the New FaceÂ with the governor as the leader and the PDPÂ chairman, Prince Marcellinous Nlemigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Arthur Nzeribe, Chief Elvis Agukwe, who is the director general of the group, among others, as members.
Adamawa State is not different. HereÂ you have a war between the major players. Since former Vice President Atiku Abubakarâ€™sÂ dumping of the Action Congress for the PDP, all hasÂ not well with the state chapter of theÂ party. While GovernorÂ Murtala Nyako has the Mijinyawa Kugama-led exco very loyal to him, there is an opposition faction with Meden Teneke as chairman.
Other opposition leaders to the governor are Bamanga Tukur, Adamu Hassan, Wakili Adamawa, Senator Iya Abubakar, Dahiru Bobbo, Major-General Anthony Haladu(rtd), Senator Jubril Aminu, SenatorsÂ Grace Folashade Bent, Silas Zwingina, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Pascal Bayyau, among others.
In states where there are no problems with the state congresses, there are pockets of differences between the political leaders. In Akwa Ibom, there may be no problem with the state congress, but unresolved differences between the governor, Godswill Akpabio, the former governor, Victor Attah, former minister of state, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, among others.
AnambraÂ State has not been able to address the issue which culminated in most of the PDP members becoming candidates in the last governorship election. There are still wounds to be healed. In Ogun, the struggle for who is in charge is between former President Olusegun Obasanjo, theÂ minister of commerce and industry, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye on one side, and the governor, Gbenga Daniel, the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, among others, on the other side.
Nwodo,Â in his acceptance speech, Thursday, June 17, 2010,Â at the conference hall of the PDP national secretariat, hadÂ promised that his immediate concern would beÂ rebuilding of the image of the party, noting that he would ensure that the party was open to all Nigerians interested in becomingÂ members. How far has theÂ PDP national chairman gone or this promise?
Armed with this promise, the national chairman has met with various state chaptersÂ like Kano, Imo, Edo, Adamawa, Oyo where he stressed the need for unity among members of the party and with theÂ enthusiasm to bring all the warring factions together, the country preparesÂ for the 2011 general elections.
The task before Nwodo is not quite easy especially as he isÂ still meeting with the groups. The peace moves has taken him to Adamawa, Oyo andÂ Imo States. It was gathered that the Oyo meeting was stormy. The state governorÂ was said not to be happy with the outcome; the meeting ended in aÂ deadlock. That of AdamawaÂ was said to beÂ confrontational.
As NwodoÂ in the next few weeks takes the trouble shooting efforts to the other states,Â we waitÂ to see how peace returns to the state chapters of the PDP.