April 19, 2024

Wike triumphs as PDP NEC endorses Damagum-led NWC


By John Alechenu

ABUJA — The camp of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, in the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are in a joyous mood.

This was a sequel to the endorsement of the Amb. Umar Damagum-led National Working Committee, NWC, by the party’s second highest decision-making body- the National Executive Committee, NEC, at its 98th meeting in Abuja, yesterday.

The camp of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, had moved to have Damagum return to his position as Deputy National Chairman (North) to let the North-Central produce a substantive national chairman to complete the truncated tenure of the immediate past chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.

It was gathered that the Atiku camp has returned to the drawing board to re-strategise.

Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, while fielding questions from newsmen after the NEC meeting, expressed delight that contrary to expectations of the party’s enemies, the meeting was held in a peaceful atmosphere.

He said: “ You can see there was no dissension and rancour. It was planned that the party will have an implosion. PDP is more than that. This party is a united party that is guided by experience and constitutionality.

“There were a lot of permutations and mischievous thinking outside there. We looked at all the issues and we worked along our guidelines and constitution. There is no problem, dissension or problem among members.”

New chairman may emerge in September

On the issue of a new chairman from North-Central, the PDPGF Chairman said: “In the next two months, we will see a lot of activities. Leadership is a responsibility. We said in September we would have come out from our congresses.

“We will look at the issue of leadership and look at the issue of our constitution where it will be. And we will do it with no rancour.”

Chairmanship not life and death matter – Damagum

Also speaking shortly after the NEC meeting, Damagum told reporters that the position he occupied was not a matter of life and death matter for him.

“This is not a matter and life and death. I am still an elected member of this NEC. Even If I revert to deputy national chairman I’m still a member of NWC. The issue of surviving or not does not arise.”

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, who read the communique after the NEC meeting, said: “The NEC of our great party, at its 98th meeting today, April 18, 2024, thoroughly assessed the state of affairs of the nation and the party and resolved as follows:

“NEC commends all the organs of the party for their collective resilience, steadfastness and commitment towards the unity, stability and sustenance of our great party despite daunting challenges.

“NEC also commends members of the PDP, with particular reference to the youths and women for their courage in resisting the antics of the divisive and anti-people All Progressives Congress (APC), especially, its desperation to emasculate the opposition and foist a one-party State on our nation.

“NEC expresses concern over the ill-implemented policies of the insensitive APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.

“NEC expresses serious apprehensions over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.

“NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the well-being of Nigerians.

“NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a one-party state which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation as well as the development of democracy and good governance in the country.

“NEC, after due consideration demands that President Bola Tinubu should urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on our national life.

“NEC also demands that President Tinubu should immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias and vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.

“NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with a suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies. “

According to him, it was also agreed at the meeting that all organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and, indeed, all members of the PDP should close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the centre in the interest of the Nigerian people.

Other key decisions taken include the consideration and approval of the timetable for party congresses across the country.
It also approved the reconstitution of the Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the party.

The body also approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

BoT’s earlier concerns

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the BoT Chairman, Senator Adolphus Wabara, expressed concerns about the attitude of party leaders toward observing constitutional provisions and conventions with respect to party leadership positions.

He cited the controversy surrounding the position of the Ag. National Chairman as well as the National Secretary.

Wabara said: “We cannot ignore the fact that our party is facing internal strife, fueled by inactions, disagreements and misunderstandings that threaten to undermine the very foundation upon which the PDP stands.

“The recent events have brought to light the urgent need for reconciliation, unity, and collective action to steer our party back on course.

“As the custodians of our party’s values and principles, it is incumbent upon us to address the crises that have arisen from the recent challenges surrounding the leadership and actions of the National Working Committee.”

Also in his opening remarks at the beginning of the NEC meeting, Damagum gave an account of his stewardship since he assumed office about one year ago.

He said that the last general elections came with lots of unexpected challenges that robbed the PDP of victories.

“These challenges were both internal and external. However, the outcomes of the general elections were appropriately challenged by our well selected legal teams in all the Election Petition Tribunals down to the final court where the final verdicts were delivered.

“As a law-abiding party, we accepted the verdict of the final court but not without many reservations. However, we must give kudus to our legal team for their tenacity and professionalism while the case lasted and our party faithful who were always physically available during each sitting to give moral support to the party,” he said.

Presenting his report on off-cycle elections under his watch, Damagum said: “The outcome of the off-cycle elections in the three states of Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi have come and gone with our party retaining Bayelsa State.

“Preparation is also on in Edo and Ondo governorship elections. With the support of all concerned we are confident that soon we will congratulate ourselves.”

On the state of the nation, the PDP Acting National Chairman said: “It is no longer news that Nigerians are suffering under the hard and unfriendly APC-led government. The rate of unemployment, poverty, and insecurity is so high that most Nigerians go to bed without food in their stomachs.

“Our farmers can no longer go to their farms because of fears of being killed. Industries are closing down and moving to neighbouring countries as a result of unstable power supplies, and unfavourable government economic policies. Young Nigerians and professionals of various fields now sleep in various embassies so as to procure their papers and “Japa”.

Melaye, Ortom clash at PDP meeting over support for Tinubu

Meanwhile, Kogi State governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2023 election, Senator Dino Melaye, engaged in an altercation with the former governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, at the PDP North-Central Zone leadership meeting, on Wednesday.

In a post on his X handle, yesterday, Melaye stated that the confrontation stemmed from Ortom’s declaration of support for President Tinubu of the APC ahead of the 2027 election.

Melaye wrote: “Why will Ortom attend a PDP meeting after declaring support for Tinubu in 2027? Hence, my altercation with him at the PDP North-Central Zone leadership meeting.”

He also retweeted the video from the altercation posted by an X user, #iamhistory_, who stated that Melaye embarrassed Ortom at the meeting.

The caption read: “Senator Dino Melaye embarrassed former governor Ortom of Benue State today.
“Melaye said he was shocked that Governor Ortom could feel comfortable sitting in a PDP meeting, walking in majestically after his anti-party activities.

“Dino said he is shameless and should be disciplined. Both of them shouted at each other. Ortom was shocked and lost. In the end, he spoke without replying to Melaye.”