…Six PDP national officers resign, APC wooing them
…Secondus must go — PDP youth leader
…PDP Govs sue for peace, schedule emergency meeting
…APC crises worsen in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Osun, Ondo
…Rivers faction secures order against congresses
…Chieftain explains court order stopping Bayelsa congresses
…A-Ibom APC suspends 17 LG caretaker chairmen, 2 others; Chieftains pass no confidence vote on National Caretaker Secretary, Akpanudoedehe
…Osun APC group accuses faction of buying up forms
By Clifford Ndujihe, Samuel Oyadongha, Omeiza Ajayi, Dirisu Yakubu, Chioma Onuegbu, Harris Emanuel & Davies Iheamnachor
These are not the best of times for the ruling All progressives Congress, APC, and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on the road to the 2023 general polls.
Both parties are shackled by election-threatening squabbles that may undo them at the general elections, 18 months away.
While the crises arising from the ward congresses of the All Progressives Congress, APC, festered across many states, yesterday, fresh trouble hit the PDP as six national officers threw in the towel. They cited “bad treatment” exhibited by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus since the election that brought the current leadership of the party into office in 2017 as reasons for their action.
There have been moves and counter-moves to get Secondus, who has scores to settle with his governor and Rivers State helmsman, Governor Nyesom Wike, to quit as PDP chairman in recent times. Indeed, there have been calls across various layers of leadership of the PDP for Secondus’ resignation over alleged sundry offences, including financial indiscipline and poor leadership.
The six national officers, who quit the PDP are Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary; Ahmed Bello, Deputy National Legal Adviser; Umoru Hadizat, Deputy National Women Leader; Divine Amina Arong, Deputy National Auditor; Hassan Yakubu, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; and Irona Alphonsus, Deputy National Financial Secretary.
Prince Secondus’ last-minute parley with them, yesterday, to stop the resignations did not yield dividends.
Already, the APC, which is contending with crises of its own, has started wooing the former PDP national officers to swell its ranks. The APC has welcomed many defectors from the PDP of late.
However, the crises generated by the ward congresses of the APC in Rivers, Bayelsa, Osun and Akwa Ibom states have continued to fester.
In a fresh legal tussle in the Rivers State chapter of APC, the faction believed to be loyal to Senator Magnus Abe, secured a court injunction stopping the congresses of the party in the state.
In Bayelsa, a chieftain of the party, Mr. Sunday Frank-Oputu, explained why the state High Court stopped the conduct of last Saturday’s ward congress in the wake of the suit by some aggrieved party members in the state.
In Akwa Ibom, the State Caretaker Working Committee, SWC, wielded the big stick by suspending 17 local government caretaker chairmen and two other members over alleged anti-party activities.
Also, chieftains of the APC in Akwa Ibom State passed a vote of no confidence on the National Caretaker Secretary of the party, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe.
Meanwhile, in Osun State, a group within the APC, Progressive Minded People, PMP, accused the “Ilerioluwa faction” of the party of buying up the over 18, 000 forms dispatched to the state for last weekend’s ward congresses of the party.
Why six PDP national officers quit
Chairman of the PDP Deputy National Officers Forum, Diran Odeyemi, who has been in London, United Kingdom in the past six days, said he aligns himself completely with the decision of his colleagues to throw in the towel.
One of the national officers who tendered his resignation berated the Secondus-led NWC for allegedly treating deputy national officers “as if we are nobodies.”
Asked to clarify his comment, the officer who was barely able to contain his anger, said: “My brother, since our election in 2017, we (deputy national officers) have only met with our chairman, Prince Uche Secondus thrice. It is not as if he called us; on those three occasions, we sought audience with him.
“The most annoying part is that during Christmas and Sallah festivities, the NWC would visit our governors. They would collect money and other items but I can tell you that they don’t share anything with the deputies. To him, we are just a necessary evil to be tolerated but never to be catered for. We all have our constituencies and our followers but from the way we are being treated, it appears they see us as nothing but appendages forced on them by the party’s constitution.
“We have waited for things to change but they are getting worse and so, we woke up to say, ‘why are we here; why not quit if they don’t have any use for us?’
Continuing, the party officer decried the leadership style of Secondus, saying “you can imagine if as elected officers, we have only met with the chairman on three occasions. We can’t even get a slot for our people to serve in ad-hoc committees set up by the party from time to time, except we beg for it. This is not how a party intent on taking over power, especially at the centre, should be run,” he added.
Secondus meets aggrieved officers but…
In an apparent attempt to resolve the impasse, Secondus hurriedly convened a meeting with the aggrieved officers in Abuja. The party officials who did not hesitate to bare their minds before the chairman, reminded him that not once in the past four years did he deem it fit to take any of them along when meeting with governors elected on the platform of the party, not to talk of sharing largesse with them.
One of the officials, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said they were taken aback when Secondus, in his address at the meeting, told them that it was their constitutional right to resign if they so wished. “We insisted that our chairman, Diran Odeyemi must have his say. Though currently out of the country, we told the chairman to stop addressing us as if we are school boys,” he said.
The embattled national chairman eventually asked the aggrieved party officers to return for another round of talks tomorrow.
Secondus is incompetent — National Youth leader
Joining the conversation, PDP National Youth Leader of the party, Hon. Sunday Ude-Okoye, who until recently was a staunch supporter of the national chairman, described Secondus as an incompetent chairman, incapable of managing the affairs of the party.
Addressing journalists, the former member of the Enugu State House of Assembly, said: “Mr. Uche Secondus, the national chairman of the party is incompetent, incapable of managing the affairs of this party. He lacks managerial capacity to manage the PDP. He made sure that many departments of the party did not function as effectively as they ought to. Mr. Chairman has nothing to offer to the party. He comes here to deceive us.
“There is a sharp division in our NWC right now. Many NWC members are more aggrieved than me. Today (Tuesday), I asked him in our NWC meeting to resign his position as the chairman of this party because he cannot lead this party to victory.
“I am also asking the leaders, the governors, the founding fathers, the youths and the women to rise up to rescue our party from the hand of a leader like Secondus because he is not willing to take us to anywhere. I am here to make it very clear to all Nigerians that if Secondus does not resign from the party, I am going to leave the party for him. The governors, if they don’t wade into this matter right now, I assure Nigerians that within the next three, four days, my letter will be made public,” he added.
Asked if they would consider the option of impeachment in the event of Secondus’ failure to quit, Ude-Okoye answered in the affirmative, saying “we are in the process.”
We’ll resolve issues — Ologbondiyan
However, spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, has said the party is doing everything possible to resolve the conflict internally. In a parley with newsmen, Mr. Ologbondiyan said: “The National Working Committee of our great party at its meeting today received the notice of the resignation from deputies who are elected members of the National Executive Committee, NEC.
“The meeting of the National Working Committee and the deputies immediately took place to dialogue on the issues that were raised. The party will look into the grievances raised by members of NEC as well as members of the National Working Committee.
‘The internal conflict resolution mechanism of our party has also been immediately activated to put these issues behind us. We call on all the leaders, stakeholder and members of our great party to remain calm as we collectively resolve these issues,” he said.
PDP govs sue for peace, schedule emergency meeting
Meanwhile, governors elected on the platform of the PDP, yesterday, called on leaders, members and stakeholders of the party to remain calm.
Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, in a statement, urged aggrieved members to give peace a chance in the interest of the party.
His words: “We plead with all aggrieved persons and those with the interest of the PDP at heart to keep their gun powder dry, as efforts are being made, in consultation with members of the PDP Board of Trustees and other stakeholders, to resolve all contending issues.
“To this end, the PDP Governors’ Forum has scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the affairs of the party and the way forward.
“The PDP as the only remaining hope of the nation for good governance must show an example to Nigerians and also take advantage of the current disarray in the APC and its rudderless government.”
APC woos 7 PDP national officers
Few hours after tendering their resignations as PDP national officers, the ruling APC has established contact with the affected officers with a view of getting them to defect, Vanguard can authoritatively report.
One of the national officers who resigned told Vanguard that the meeting which Secondus hurriedly convened yesterday did not yield much, saying, “the ruling party is already talking to us and I won’t blame anyone who chooses to leave. The chairman is not doing enough and we are really amazed at the manner he spoke at the meeting. It is a shame!”
APC’s trouble in Rivers
In Rivers State, it was gathered that while the APC was concluding plans to hold its ward congress, aggrieved members of the party on Friday evening, July 30, 2021, secured an interlocutory injunction stopping the process.
Stephen Wonah, Uzor-chi Amadi, Chidi Wegbuom, Banwo Ndubuisi, Endwell Omenke, Eme-nike Edward Adile and Worlu Wali as claimants in a suit number PHC/1857/CS/2021 against the APC, and the Chairman of the State Caretaker Committee of the party, Mr. Isaac Ogbogbula.
The suit which was sealed and served on August 2, 2021, is set to be heard on August 5, 2021. The trial judge, Justice Ben Whyte, ordered the APC and the Caretaker Chairman of Rivers APC, Isaac Ogbogbula to maintain status quo.
He gave the APC and Mr Ogbogbula 24 hours to respond to the motion for Interlocutory Injunction upon receipt.
The court also gave claimants 24 hours from the date of the receipt of the defendants response to react to their counter affidavit.
The court also ordered that the respondents be served by substituted means, at the new APC Secretariat in GRA.
Ben-Whyte, however, urged all parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for Interlocutory Injunction.
It was learned that seven applicants were aggrieved members of the party, who paid money to the party’s dedicated account and got their bank tellers as evidence of payment but were not issued forms.
Chieftain explains court stopping Bayelsa APC ward congresses
In Bayelsa, Frank-Oputu said though the court has fixed August 9,2021, for hearing in the substantive suit, the aggrieved party members who instituted the court action were denied opportunity to procure forms to contest and participate in an enlarged meeting needed by party stakeholders to decide mode of election for the congress.
Oputu, an indigene of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, who is loyal to the Ebierien Fala Itubor faction of the party, on the aborted ward congress in the state, described the action of the aggrieved party members at approaching the court as legal and commendable.
He said: “I am happy and also disappointed at the same time. We are in a political space, to the best of my knowledge, if we must practice democracy as it is, we need to follow the lead and principles of every process.
“The processes to the congress were very clear. States were expected to go back home with their leaders to hold an enlarged stakeholders meeting to decide on which mode of congress to be applied. It is either to go for normal open direct congress that is being done or we adopt consensus.”
He noted that in Bayelsa APC, Chief Timipre Sylva refused to call for any stakeholders’ meeting and instead they decided the mode of the congress in his house.
“The plan was to come with a prepared list of ward executives and go back to Abuja that the Bayelsa APC executives were elected in a peaceful manner. But some members of the party insisted that such charade will no longer be allowed.
“They are members of the party that bought forms to contest for the ward executive positions. Hence, they approached the court to stop the faulty process. I want to thank these persons specially for doing the needful.”
Frank-Oputu noted that though he had wanted to approach the court to stop the congress but stopped when he discovered that the aggrieved contestants for ward executive position had approached the court.
“I think there is need for an enlarged stake holders meeting in which everybody in APC must attend and decide which mode of congress to take. Everybody must participate in the process to determine the mode of congress.
“We are all members of the APC in Bayelsa and we have about three contending groups in the party. And all these groups have bought forms to contest for various positions at the ward, local government and state executives.
“The question is, won’t all these persons be allowed to contest? They must be very clear on it, until all the persons who bought forms to participate in congresses are all called together and we agree in harmony, that yes’ the congress is by consensus, if not, you are infringing on those peoples’ right. For me, it is very clear and we will not take chances this time around that the right thing must be done,” he said.
Akwa Ibom APC suspends 17 LG caretaker chairmen, 2 others over anti-party activities
The affected Chairmen are Pst. Edidiong Idio (Etim Ekpo), Mr Ifiok Udoh (Nsit Atai), Bassey Udo (Uruan), Ubong Ekpo (Ikot Abasi), Elder Ubong Inyang (Ikono), Augustus Amos (Esit Eket), Mr Akaninyene Ukpanah (Ukanafun), Nkereuwem Edet (Nsit Ibom) and Elder Daniel Ekanem (Ikot Ekpene).
Others include, Elder Anthony Toby (Oruk Anam), Elder Friday Wilson (Ika), Emmanuel Samuel Akpan (Ibeno), Samuel Mbosoh (Onna), Effiong Toby (Oron), Emmanuel Udoh (Mkpat Enin), Akparawa Daniel Umoh (Ibiono Ibom) and Joseph Sam (Ibesikpo AsAsutan.]
There were two lawyers, who assisted the 17 LG Caretaker Chairmen to embarrass the party, Mfon Udeme from Ibiono Ibom LGA and Imo Akpan from Ikono LGA.
State Working Committee, SWC, and State Executive Council meeting, Dr Ita Udosen announced the suspension, accusing them of anti party activities as they took part in a press engagement, where a vote of no confidence was passed against the SWC.
Relying on the constitution of the party, he said, “The State Working Committee deliberated extensively over the case of 17 LG Caretaker Chairmen, who were sponsored to embarrass the party with such a false communique and mandated me by article 21 sub 1-6 and 9 as Chairman to announce their indefinite suspension with immediate effect and ask them to hand over the vehicle and other properties of the party in their possession to their deputies.
“The party has also decided to suspend them forthwith from the APC pending the decision of the disciplinary committee headed by Eket Senatorial district chairman, Sir Inyang Abia,” warning that the party won’t hesitate to go after their sponsors.
On the conduct of the ward congress, Udosen said: “Gone are the days one big man will sit in his parlour and write names of ward officers, APC has been returned to the grassroots.
“At the stakeholders meeting held on Friday, we agreed that because of the monthly statewide sanitation, which restricted movements, that we ought to obey the laws of Akwa Ibom State and this is what delayed early circulation of materials. So that protest you saw at the party secretariat by few misguided youths was purely over the delay in releasing materials and that was done immediately after the sanitation.
“But instead of going back to their wards, those youths stayed back probably at the instruction of their sponsors to cause drama and paint a picture that there was trouble in Akwa Ibom APC. That is untrue, APC in Akwa Ibom is a united family and I am the only authentic State Caretaker Chairman of this great party.”
Members pass no confidence vote on Akpanudoedehe
However, some APC stakeholders who stated their position at a news briefing in Uyo addressed by a member of the Board of Trustees of the APC, Group Capt Sam Ewang, retd, also declared the Dr Ita Udosen-led SWC of the party suspended for the role played during last Saturday ward congresses that was marred with protests in the state.
Ewang told newsmen that they have also declared as null and void the purported suspension of 17 caretaker committee chairmen of the party by Ita Udosen. He stressed that the SWC has no powers to suspend the chapter chairmen as the State Caretaker Chairman, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and other eminent stakeholders to rescue the party in the state from imminent disintegration.
He said it had become imperative to address desperate antics of Senator Akpanudoedehe and his loyalists to usurp the party structure and powers for his selfish interest.
He said: ‘’We call on President Buhari to in his capacity as leader of the party in Nigeria to call to order the Akwa Ibom APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Dr Udosen, who has shamelessly been operating as though he is a domestic staff of Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
‘’We unanimously reject in totality the deployment of Senator Akpanudoedehe’s man and apologist, Mallam Shehu Sheriff from Abuja to superintend over the conduct of ward congress in Akwa Ibom State.”
The State Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Udosen had earlier on Tuesday announced that the State Working Committee of the party had suspended the chapter chairmen for alleged insubordination.
Osun APC group accuses faction of buying up forms
Convener of the PMP, Sunday Oriolowo in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said they had watched with amazement, “the blatant lies, innuendos and half-truths of operatives of the Ilerioluwa faction of the APC loyal to Governor Gboyega Oyetola on what transpired in the week leading to the widely successful congress that held across the state, last Saturday.
According to him, officials of the National Secretariat of the APC had informed stakeholders that three officials of the party led by one Abdullahi had been dispatched to the state on July 25, 2021, to carry out necessary preparations for the coming congress.
He said: “Their terms of reference include the sale of forms to interested contestants among others.
“Consequently, majority of the party members in the state proceeded to the bank to pay for the forms as directed by the party guidelines. However, we were surprised when on July 28, 2021, the day the payment for the forms was supposed to close, we still hadn’t seen the officials who were sent to Osun for the assignment.
“Findings revealed that the national party officials who were sent to the state had actually arrived Osun, but were held incommunicado by officials loyal to the governor. Many members of the party were then forced to pick up their forms from our national headquarters in Abuja.
“Of course, it is true that the Chairman of the APC National Committee for Osun State Ward Congress, Gbenga Elegbeleye arrived the state less than 12 hours to the congress and held a meeting with selected individuals inside the governor’s house. However, we would like to know if he asked about the whereabouts of the officials sent ahead from Abuja to sell forms to majority of the party members.
“By the way, we have it on good authority that over 18,000 forms given to the party officials from Abuja were paid for in bulk on a single teller and collected from the officials by an official loyal to the governor as against our party’s Ward Congress Guidelines. This information is verifiable and evidence exists to back this up when the time comes.”
Osun Govt debunks allegations
However, the Osun State Government has debunked the allegations, saying no such thing happened.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ismail Omipidan disclosed this in response to the allegations.
He said: “The truth is, no such thing happened and you can cross check with your man here. The committee’s chairman also addressed the issue during the stakeholders’ meeting held on Friday evening shortly after their arrival.”
Vanguard News Nigeria