Onslaught Against PDP ‘dissidents’ Splits NWC Members
How Wike, Others Escaped Suspension As the Iyorchia Ayu-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continues its offensive against those it called ‘dissidents group’ and anti-party elements, the 16-member National Working Committee (NWC) of the party have become polarised. It was learnt that at the meeting, which preceded the suspension slammed on two former governors including Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State last Thursday, some NWC members had argued that the post-election season should be an opportunity for the party to initiate internal reconciliation mechanism among its warring members. Those who took that position were said to have equally noted that as party leaders, they must avoid using their positions to settle personal scores. “But the party’s constitution gave the National Chairman the privilege to have his way at NWC meetings even on crucial issues. So, his decision to proceed with the suspension move prevailed,” a member of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) said. It was also learnt yesterday that the leader of the G-5 Governors, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, escaped being suspended because the NWC believed that he had not openly and officially campaigned against the PDP. “The thinking of the NWC”, according to a source, “is that the party must be careful not to jump into dangerous conclusions that are not supported by facts.” According to the source, “the generality of the NWC are of the view that the fact that Wike is locked in a political face-off with Ayu and even Atiku Abubakar does not immediately translate to a case of anti-party. We cannot prove that Wike worked against the PDP in the presidential election.” Meanwhile, the political war within the PDP may get worse, because of the determination of each camp to push out the other out of political relevance in the party. Despite the suspension, Wike has continued to insist that Ayu must be removed from office as national Chairman. Similarly, Ayu’s camp has resolved to neutralise the efforts of the opposition, hence the suspension, which is intended to result in full expulsion in few weeks time. Recall that the party suspended Fayose, Shema and a former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, last Thursday. Also suspended were Prof. Dennis Ityavyar from Benue State and Dr. Aslam Aliyu from Zamfara State. The PDP leadership also dragged Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom before its National Disciplinary Committee over alleged anti-party activities. The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, announced the decision in a statement. The statement added: “The NWC has, after a very extensive review of the affairs of our party in the country and pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) referred the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.” However, in a swift reaction, Ortom had accused the PDP leadership of acting in contempt of a subsisting court order by referring him to a disciplinary committee. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, said the court order barred the PDP from taking any disciplinary measures against him. “The case is pending in court and there is an order of injunction restraining any organ of the party from carrying out any disciplinary action against the governor. “This case is adjourned till April 18, 2023, and so it is baffling to see such a statement coming from the national leadership of the party. “I think the national leadership of our great party is losing its sense of direction. Instead of the leadership to sit back and think of ways to rebuild the party from the ruins of the defeat from the just concluded elections, they are going about chasing imaginary shadows,” he said. Ortom had stated that rather than singling him out for punishment, Ayu should be disciplined for anti-party activities. He added: “In any case, the first person the party should refer to the disciplinary committee should be the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. “The national chairman lost his polling unit, lost his ward, local government and even the state. “As if that is not enough, there are strong indications that the national chairman was involved in anti-party activities in Benue State by working for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), just to get at me, because of my principled stand against certain aspects of the decisions of the national leadership of the party.” On his part, Fayose described his suspension as a nullity and a joke taken too far, adding that the decision of the Ayu-led NWC lacked moral and constitutional backing. Fayose, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said the suspension was nothing but the last kick of a dead horse. The ex-governor stated that the actions and inactions orchestrated by those he called jesters would not stand, insisting that they were taken in flagrant disregard for the party’s constitution. Fayose stressed: “Ayu and his cohorts are only entertaining themselves with the purported suspension as their latest comedy skit. “In a matter of days, the inglorious tenure of Ayu as national chairman of PDP will become history and the party will enjoy a new lease of life.” FILES] Wike.Photo/facebook/GovernorNyesomEzenwoWikeCON Reacting to the development at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Thursday, Wike had said: “I want to state clearly and let members of the party and Nigerians hear it clearly – the NWC made up of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who they say is the chairman of the party; Sam Anyanwu, the National Secretary and other members of NWC cannot suspend Ayo Fayose, not to talk about referring governor Ortom to the national disciplinary committee. “Referring a governor to your so-called National Disciplinary Committee is the height of all insults and we will not take it. Therefore, be ready for whatever you see as far as this party is concerned.” Also recall that the PDP had on January 20 suspended former Enugu State Governor Chikaroke Nnamani and a chieftain of the party in Imo State, Chief Chris Ogbu. Also affected by the January 20 suspensions were Fayose’s son, Oluwajomiloju; Emiola Jennifer, Ajayi Samuel, Olalere Olayinka, Akerele Oluyinka, Ayeni Funso and Ajijola Oladimeji. In the case of Nnamani, the party, on February 10, took a step further to expel him. They went further on March 10 to write a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcing the party’s withdrawal from Enugu East senatorial election, where Nnamani was the candidate. Although the former Enugu governor went ahead to contest the election in defiance, he has ‘resigned’ from the party after suffering defeat to the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Kelvin Chukwu With the NWC members divided over the disciplinary actions so far taken against ‘dissident’ members, it remains to the seen how the party intends to rebuild going forward.