By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Tony Edike
LAGOS—THE crisis engulfing the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, may have pitched President Goodluck Jonathan in a quandary between heeding his rule of law mantra and protecting the interests of some governors.
Vanguard learnt, yesterday, that governors of eight PDP states affected by the resolution of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to dissolve the PDP state executives in their States are intensifying pressure on the President to buckle on the issue.
Nwodo who is himself being vilified over his unilateral role in dissolving the State executive in his native Enugu State was under more pressure at home, yesterday, as all 17 elected local government council chairmen alongside the majority of their councillors unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on him.
The local government chairmen under the aegis of the state chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, also resolved to recall Nwodo as National Chairman of the party.
The eight states affected by INEC directive that congresses should be repeated are Oyo, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Anambra and Plateau.
Govs not satisfied with President’s indifference
Governors of the affected States, according to sources, were not satisfied with the seeming indifference of President Jonathan to the issue.
The President, Vanguard learnt, had in meetings with representatives of the governors and selected members of the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, opposed to Nwodo, told them to sheath their swords and allow the rule of law to hold sway.
Vanguard further gathered that the President had claimed that he could not disannul the resolution of INEC which declared the congresses in the affected eight states as flawed.
With opponents of the governors in some of the States waiting in the wings to take the advantage, some of the governors have been particularly edgy on the issue pressing the President to be more assertive as they expressed fears that Nwodo may be hiding under the directive to perpetuate his own agenda, especially in Enugu.
Meanwhile, all 17 local government council chairmen and 270 councillors in Enugu State, yesterday, called for the removal of Nwodo from office.
The elected local government officials who also staged a peaceful protest against the dissolution of the state PDP executive declared that the decision to recall Nwodo from office as PDP National Chairman was in line with the party’s constitution especially as it relates to sanctions against erring members.
However, a faction of the PDP in the party in the state has faulted the attacks by supporters of Governor Chime on Dr. Nwodo over the dissolution of the party’s executive, saying the decision on Enugu was not taken by Nwodo alone.
Chairman of the PDP faction opposed to Governor Chime, Barr. Reuben Ochi, said that rather than attacking Nwodo, the governor and his supporters should be blamed for scuttling peace initiatives by the national chairman to re_unite the factions into one formidable party.
The factional chairman said the crisis in the party was not a personal problem between the governor and Dr. Nwodo, stressing that the call for a fresh congress wouldn’t have cropped up if the governor had adhered to an agreement reached at a peace meeting convened in Abuja at the instance of the national chairman of the party.
PDP crisis in Enugu not a personal matter
He said: “We want to put the record straight; the PDP crisis in Enugu State is not a personal matter between Governor Chime and National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; the congress crisis in the state started since 2008, so it pre-dates Nwodo’s emergence as national chairman.
“There was a congress on October 28, 2008 which was held in accordance with the PDP guidelines and constitution. Before that congress, venues and guidelines for the congress were published in newspapers and names of members of the congress committee were also published. Nobody complained about the venue or membership of the committee.
The committee arrived Enugu on February 28, 2008, proceeded to the Mc Devos Hotel, which was the venue of the congress.
“When Nwodo became chairman of the party he inherited some of these congress problems from various states. What he did was to call senior stakeholders of the party all over the country to fashion out an internal mechanism to solve these problems.
“In the case of Enugu State he invited all of us to NICON Hilton Hotel Abuja; almost all known politicians from the state were present including former Governor, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Senator Ken Nnamani, Chief Dubem Onyia, Hyde Onuaguluchi, Governor Sullivan Chime, among other notable politicians.
“The national chairman pleaded with us to give him the maximum support to enable him succeed as the national chairman; that we should try and bury our differences. A committee was set up to go back to Enugu State to resolve the matter; people were nominated from the three senatorial zones.
We were very happy and we agreed to meet again in Enugu on August 13, but on the day of the meeting the governor went and invited everybody from his camp to the meeting contrary to the agreement at Abuja. It was Senator Ken Nnamani who told the governor that that was not what was agreed; that we were there to solve the problem as directed by the national chairman; the governor started abusing him there; and that was how the governor stopped that meeting from holding.”
Ochi noted that the dissolution became necessary after the factions refused to agree and because of the letter from INEC to the party that there was an inconclusive congress in Enugu State and therefore they will not accept any candidate from such states with parallel executive or in conclusive congress.