By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS—THE desperation of the major presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the party’s election ticket has widened the rift in the party leading to the creation of at least four major factions among the national officers of the party.
National Chairman of the party Dr. Okwesilese Nwodo who returned from a medical vacation abroad, weekend, to confront the rebellion against him among some of the national officers, was himself without respite in his troubles.
The Governor of Enugu State Chief Sullivan Chime, weekend, warned that the national chairman would be wasting his time if he desired to be a godfather or to play a one man show in the politics of the State. Nwodo is from Enugu State.
Vanguard learnt that the widening division among PDP’s national officers has led to mutual suspicion and backbiting among the officers sometimes leading to incoherence in the articulation of party policies and programmes.
Four of the five major presidential candidates, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Atiku Abubakar, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Governor Bukola Saraki have succeeded in building power blocks around four senior national officers of the party.
Party apparatchik inclined to a level playing ground for all aspirants are said to be drawing close to Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd.), the immediate past National Security Adviser.
Nwodo, who came on board as national chairman at the behest of President Jonathan according to Vanguard sources, has been beaten in the pecking order in the Presidential Villa, by a prominent officer from the South who is now described as Jonathan’s main man in the NWC.
IBB’s man passion
Gen Babangida’s man is universally known to be a senior officer from the Northwest who is also known to be passionate in supporting the crave by the North to win the presidency in 2011.
Saraki’s point man is another strategic officer at the national secretariat from the North known for his firm loyalty to the political machinery of the Saraki family.
Nwodo’s credibility in the Jonathan camp, according to informed sources, has been seriously damaged by insinuations to his past association with former Vice_President Atiku Abubakar. Nwodo was Atiku’s returning officer in the 2007 presidential election when the former number two man ran on the ticket of then Action Congress, AC.
Sources close to the national chairman said that Nwodo had been thought to have disgorged his pro-Atiku past, prior to his elevation as party chairman.
It was learnt that one of the selling points that warmed Dr. Nwodo into the President’s heart was his proposal for a fresh registration for all party members.
It was alleged that the idea was aimed at strengthening the hand of the President against the Governors. The registration exercise was, however, derailed following the strong protest of Governors.
Following the President’s cave-in to the idea of fresh party registration and other somersaults, Dr. Nwodo it was learnt increasingly felt distanced from the Presidency.
That distance it was learnt was what built up the insinuations that he had returned fully to Atiku’s inner cabinet. That point was conveyed by claims that Dr. Nwodo may have felt happy granting Atiku the waiver to contest the presidential primaries.
That increasing apathy, it was learnt, is attributable to the lack of dedicated support he is receiving from the President.
Nwodo who was the first National Secretary of the party, it is alleged, may have lost his earlier enthusiasm of building the robust party as envisaged by the original founders of the party.
Repeated phone calls and a text message to the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali were unanswered, yesterday.
Meanwhile Governor Chime, weekend, advanced his attack against Nwodo when he affirmed that no one no matter how highly placed no one would be allowed to be a godfather in the State chapter of the party.
Chime who is enmeshed in a serious rivalry with the national chairman arising from Nwodo’s alleged order for the dissolution of the state executive of the PDP spoke at a senatorial briefing by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate in Udi, Enugu State.
The governor said: “Since we came to power in 2007 we have ensured that PDP is one and a mass movement. Whoever comes into PDP and wants to be a godfather is wasting his time because the party is a movement of the people and not one-man show.”
“It is true we have not done primaries but we know our guiding principle which is whoever does well will be supported to continue. All those who have indicated interest in Enugu West senatorial seat will be invited for discussion.”
Governor Chime who commended the performance of Senator Ekweremadu in the Senate noted that he had no choice but to be physically present because Ekweremadu was doing well.
He said: “As his constituent I had no choice but to be here. I had no choice because he is doing well.”