The opposition Peoples Democratic Party may be headed for a fresh round of crisis as two factions lock horns in a battle for control of the soul of the party. The PDP continues its revival effort at an election convention in Abuja, during which a new leadership is expected to emerge, to steer the party into the 2019 elections. Already a widening crack has split the party into two strong rival factions.
On one hand are the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and some founding fathers of the party such as Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Professor Jerry Gana who are rooting for a candidate from the South West.
On the other hand is the group of PDP governors, led by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Ekiti State Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose pushing for Chief Uche Secondus who served as acting Chairman of the NWC of the party from 2015 to 2016.
One of the candidates from the South West, Chief Bode George withdrew from the chairmanship race. He did not however did that quietly; he sent scathing words to those he accused of hijacking the party.
The group of northern elders, which included former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau and former speaker, Benue State House of Assembly, Margaret Icheen, after a meeting of the PDP Northern Elders and Leaders Forum urged northern delegates to vote for only aspirants from the South-west zone.
George, was a foundation member and former national vice-chairman of the party. For weeks as he campaigned around the country, he had his eyes fixed on becoming the chairman.
But hours after he vowed not to quit the race at the party’s convention in Abuja on Saturday, he changed his mind, following some signals he noticed.
First was that the party appears to have jettisoned zoning, that would have made the South West region produce the chairman.
Secondly, he noticed that the party has been hijacked by mercenaries and money bags and that the party chairmanship has been sold to the highest bidder.
Thirdly, he felt offended by what he perceived to be Governor Nyesom Wike’s insult on George’s Yoruba race.
He demanded an apology from Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and generally pointed out that the party is once again careering to self-destruction.
To all the forces that have taken over the party, George has something unsparing for them: The Peoples Democratic Party has now mangled and distorted its soul and spirit. There is no morality here anymore. There is no sanity or any sense of enlightened civility.