By Henry Umoru
The lingering question amid the PDP national chairman’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 which  have remained unresolved in some PDP-controlled states.
To say the least, the party is  polarized in the states following  irreconcilable differences among members.
There is internal wrangling, aimed at controlling the party structures in the  states. Even in some of the states  where the issues were resolved through harmonization of  the factions by the Ogbulafor-led national working committee, NWC,  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 crisis  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 PDP  against the backdrop that the structure is  controlled by the former governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

Other members of the Kano  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;  senators;  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 problems  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, while  former governor of the state, Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun; Chief S. D. Lot; Barrister Halima Alfa were members. Other members  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. The  Shown-led Exco, which was loyal to Governor Jang, went to court to seek redress and  won. The problem in the state PDP lingers.

In Delta State, PDP has not seen peace as  there is a  strong opposition against the Peter Nwaoboshi- led executive  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 chairman  and asked him  to, among other things,  dissolve the state PDP exco and put in place a caretaker committee that will conduct  fresh ward, local government and state congresses.

In Edo State, the fight is  between Chief Tony Anenih and the former governor of  old Bendel State, Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia,  on who controls the party structure. The crisis in the state PDP started after the congress which produced Chief Edward Sado during Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor’s tenure  and with the emergence of Chief Dan Orbih as a parallel  chairman of another exco and due to some irreconcilable differences, the matter was brought to the then PDP national chairman, Ogbulafor,  who then called for the harmonization of the two camps.

The harmonisation  gave birth to an Anenih loyalist, the  late Chief Samson Ekhabafe,  from  Akoko Edo local government, as chairman. Angered by what happened, Sado and his group went to court, but later withdrew the case. Orbih from Anenih’s camp was made the chairman, but the problem  lingers against the backdrop that Elder Sunny Uyigue from Ogbemudia’s camp says he is the  acting chairman.

But,  last week, Orbih led some members of the party to the national secretariat to see the national chairman who  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 in  factions between the stakeholders and leaders loyal to Governor Adebayo Alao -Akala’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- led  PDP  NWC,  Alao-Akala continues to relate with the Alhaji Dejo Afolabi’s leadership in defiance to the Nwachukwu’s Elders  Committee’s recommendation.

The PDP in Imo State  also has  a very serious challenge especially since the defection of Governor Ikedi Ohakim from the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, to the PDP. In the state,  there are two groups, the Alliance, which has  immediate past  minister of commerce and industry and ex-governor of the state, Achike Udenwa, Senator Ararume, Rochas Okorocha, among others as well as the New Face  with the governor as the leader and the PDP  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. Here  you have a war between the major players. Since former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s  dumping of the Action Congress for the PDP, all has  not well with the state chapter of the  party. While Governor  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, Senators  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.

Anambra  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, the  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’s Objective

Nwodo,  in his acceptance speech, Thursday, June 17, 2010,  at the conference hall of the PDP national secretariat, had  promised that his immediate concern would be  rebuilding of the image of the party, noting that he would ensure that the party was open to all Nigerians interested in becoming  members. How far has the  PDP national chairman gone or this promise?

Armed with this promise, the national chairman has met with various state chapters  like Kano, Imo, Edo, Adamawa, Oyo where he stressed the need for unity among members of the party and with the  enthusiasm to bring all the warring factions together, the country prepares  for the 2011 general elections.

The task before Nwodo is not quite easy especially as he is  still meeting with the groups. The peace moves has taken him to Adamawa, Oyo and  Imo States. It was gathered that the Oyo meeting was stormy. The state governor  was said not to be happy with the outcome; the meeting ended in a  deadlock. That of Adamawa  was said to be  confrontational.

As Nwodo  in the next few weeks takes the trouble shooting efforts to the other states,  we wait  to see how peace returns to the state chapters of the PDP.

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