By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has launched  moves  to resolve the various crises rocking the party at different levels following the return of its  national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo  from  medical treatment abroad.

Dr Nwodo had to cut short his trip when the crises within the party at states and national levels almost crippled  the affairs of the party  with  accusing  fingers pointing at Nwodo for committing  various offences including taking decisions to dissolve some state excos without recourse to the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party.

The problem is worse at his home state Enugu state where he is believed to be at war with the governor and the Deputy senate president, Ike Enweremadu. A  source told Saturday Vanguard that the national chairman  has  met  with the NWC of the party in the bid to resolve the crises .

Dr Okwesileze Nwodo according to our source, on assuming the leadership of the party had it in mind to bring reforms within the party without anticipating that he would meet stiff opposition from governors and political godfathers who control the state excos and exercise influence at federal levels. These people seem afraid of fresh congresses.

“ He wanted a level playing field where every qualified politician at different stages would contest freely in the primaries but some of the state governors and other political stakeholders want automatic tickets for themselves and some of their favourite aspirants and because these leaders control the states excos, they want to use that to advantage.

Nwodo: Under fire

That was basically the beginning of the problem and the chairman  decided to stop them and they in return decided to fight back.”

This allegation was however refuted by the Enugu State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Chuks Ugwoke in an interview.

“I want you to believe me when I say that there is no crisis whatsoever in Enugu State PDP, and I mean it. There are no crises between the three arms, between the government and the party from the ward to the state and between the government and the national party. What you have is simply a case of a handful of people trying to use their privileged position to achieve some selfish goals.

Don’t also forget that the season of politics is here. Those who lose out in any contest are likely to resort to name-calling as well as divide-and-rule tactics. When the timetable was released initially by INEC, some people already stormed the media newsrooms, making spurious allegations. Once it was shifted, they withdrew into their shelves. As the days draw nearer, don’t be alarmed to see such people hurling sour grapes. That’s the meaning of politics to some of them, unfortunately though.

“For Governor Chime, the way forward is simple: let us discuss if there are grey areas or if some people feel aggrieved or apprehensive. He will continue to respect the sanctity of the people to choose their candidates and their leaders. He will continue to engender peaceful co-existence of our people even as he appreciates that all of us cannot belong to the same political party or even to the same political leaning within our one party.

The state chapter of our party did not mince words that it is for President Goodluck Jonathan. Of course, we know that the few leaders who back other presidential aspirants would do everything to cause crisis in the party with a view to diluting the wholesome support that Mr. President would enjoy from Enugu State delegates”.

“But in all, the government will not embark on any needless altercation in the media and will rather prefer that our varying political positions notwithstanding, all hands must be on deck to continue to give our people the good governance they have seen in the last three years.”

Automatic tickets
In his reaction to the allegation that state excos  want automatic tickets for some governors or their favourite aspirants, the state chairman of the party in Enugu state, Engr Vita Abba told Saturday Vanguard that there is no such thing as automatic tickets as the party is set to make a lot of money from sale of nomination forms.

“PDP is making huge money from sale of nomination forms and we intend to spend these money on the  conduct primaries at different levels and therefore would not afford a short -cut ”

An aide of the national chairman of the party Dr. Nwodo also confirmed that so much money was made from sale of nomination forms at various levels, both national and states. We are talking about over N6billion naira made from sale of nomination forms for the 2011 general elections. Thousands of aspirants to different offices paid for nomination forms across the country.

Presidential aspirants  paid N11m each . That involves  the cost of expression of interest form going  for N1m, while each and each  presidential aspirant contestant paying  N10m as nomination  fee. That totals N11million each.

Each presidential  aspirant of the PDP including  President Goodluck Jonathan; former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida; former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; Kwara State governor, Bukola Saraki; and a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau and Mrs Sarah Jubril paid this sum.

The governorship aspirants paid N500,000 for the expression of interest while their  nomination  forms cost N5m each.

Senatorial  aspirants paid  N200,000 for the expression of  interest and N2million for  the nomination  forms  while  aspirants  for the House of Representatives paid N100,000 for the expression of interest and  N1m for nomination forms.

“ PDP made more than N6billion from nomination forms and the national chairman does  not want to hear about automatic tickets but level playing field for all the aspirants at different levels. Now as some of these governors and other stakeholders  are not qualified for another term in office, they want to put their stooges so that even while outside the seat of power, they would be dictating the tunes of what is going on in the states.”


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