Some former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors yesterday held a secret meeting and resolved to quit the party if former Deputy National Chairman Uche Secondus (Southsouth) is imposed as national chairman.
They also insisted that the Southwest – not the Southsouth – should produce the national chairman.
The ex-governors suspected that some governors, who they did not name, were plotting to concede the chairmanship to the Southsouth because of their presidential ambition.
The National Convention of the PDP holds on December 9 but the intrigues over the choice of a chairman heightened yesterday in Abuja.
Eight ex-governors met behind closed doors on the “dangerous plot” by some governors.
An enlarged meeting of all the ex- PDP governors is expected to hold on November 13 to firm up their decisions.
At the meeting were Ikedi Ohakim (Imo); Segun Mimiko (Ondo); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Idris Wada (Kogi); Liyel Imoke (Cross River); Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano) and Boni Haruna (Adamawa).
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ex-governors met genuinely to avert any further crisis in PDP by taking steps to strengthen its unity. They were shocked that some governors have been pushing for a new national chairman from the Southsouth.
“The governors were said to be very strong on the candidature of a former Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus (Southsouth) as the favoured candidate. The governors were behind the imposition of a former National Chairman of the party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff.
“These ex-governors have made a strong case for the Southwest, which has never produced the national chairman of the party.
“They expressed concerns that if PDP alienates the Southwest at the convention, history might repeat itself in 2019 with the geopolitical zone not voting for the party.”
The source added: The ex-governors, are said to be of the opinion that the party’s interest should be above personal desires.
It was also learnt that the Prof. Jerry Gana group in the party is in favour of conceding the chairmanship to the Southwest. The group may also hold a parallel convention or go to another party if imposition is allowed in the PDP.
Another top source added: “Some governors are determined to hijack the national convention but we will resist it.
“If these money-bag governors have their way, everyone will find its level. It is so sad that some of our leaders are fanning the embers of discord in the party again.”
The ex-governors’ meeting coincided with a warning by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson yesterday.
He cautioned the PDP against imposition of candidates during its December 9 convention.
Where there are more than one contestant for a position, they should be given the opportunity to test their popularity at the convention, he said.
The governor said “manipulation, intimidation and blackmail” of candidates will not help the party.
Dickson, who gave the warning in a statement in Abuja through his Chief Press Secretary, Francis Ottah Agbo, said only an all-inclusive convention can help the PDP.
He said: “The next convention is critical to the survival of the party. My position is that the party should organize an all-inclusive, transparent, acceptable, and credible convention that would rebrand the PDP and show our platform as a truly democratic party.
“Therefore, I am against all forms of manipulations, intimidations, blackmail and imposition of candidates. For me, there should be no imposition at all.
“I will not be a party to the adoption of anybody for any office, unless it is by consensus of the zone in which the position has been zoned to.
“If there is more than one contestant for a position, they should be given the opportunity to test their popularity at the convention.
“A leader, no matter how highly placed, should not take the place of the Convention and the powers of the delegates to the convention.
“Therefore, on the position of Chairman and other offices, once there is more than a contestant, PDP leaders and members should be free to canvass for any candidate of their choice; nobody should quarrel with that…”
He said the PDP must understand that “Nigerians see the forthcoming National Convention as an opportunity that will usher in a rebranded and united PDP, which Nigerians will be happy to embrace in 2019.
“The December Convention is a precursor to the presidential primary. If the PDP gets its national convention right, it is likely to hold a successful presidential primary in 2018.”
Source: The Nation