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How congresses deepen PDP crises in states

The crisis rocking state chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been worsened by the congresses recently conducted to elect officials for the party in 26 states, Daily Trust  Saturday reports.

The governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Board of Trustees (BoT) had on February 27 tasked the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to adopt the principle of inclusiveness to ensure free, fair and credible state congresses.

The congresses were to elect new executives for the party in  Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and the FCT.

In some of the states, the congresses have been postponed due the rising cases of the coronavirus in the country. Reports from states revealed that in some of the states where the congresses were held, crises are trailing it.

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At the 89th emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last month, Governor of Sokoto State and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said credible polls would engender good leadership.

In the same tone, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin advised that the approved guidelines must be seriously adhere to in other not to fall into a dangerous situation that affected APC in Zamfara State.

But reports from some states revealed that the congresses were conducted without adherence to the guidelines approved for the exercise as alleged by some stalwarts of the party.

In Katsina, the state’s chapter of the PDP was enmeshed in crisis with many aspirants alleging irregularities in the exercise and called for its immediate cancellation.

The exercise in Katsina was conducted by a PDP National Officer, Chika Nwaozozu.

In a petition signed by 37 aggrieved aspirants, they described the exercise as “flagrant violation of the processes and procedures of the congress”.

According to them, the exercise was illegal and unconstitutional.

The aspirants through their spokesman, Dauda Kurfi called on the national headquarters of the party to cancel the congresses.

“There was no update of party registrations, no sales of nomination forms, and court order was not honoured by the party,” he said.

However, the State’s PDP Chairman, Salisu Majigiri said due processes and laid down rules and regulations were followed in the conducts of the congresses.

“The conduct of the ward and local governments’ congresses did not violate any provision of our guidelines, constitution of the party and the electoral laws.

“There was an appeal committee set up after the ward congress. The committee sat in Katsina State PDP headquarters. They have not received any complain against the conduct of the ward congress. We don’t have any law that we violated in respect of the ward and local governments’ congresses,” he said.

In Kano, the party’s national ward congress committee to the state led by Adamawa State governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is being accused of bias by a faction of the party in the state.

Although, the panel had said that in collaboration with the state party leadership, conducted a successful congresses at all the 484 wards in the 44 local governments of the state, but this claim is being challenged by a faction.

Shortly after the committee announced the completion of the ward congress, a copy of court order with suit No K/149/2020 which was said to have been issued by a High court in Kano presided by Justice Aisha Ibrahim Mahmoud was made available to newsmen. The said court order directed the PDP and five others to maintain status quo.

It was later gathered that a case of motion ex-parte was filed before the court by Musa Ashiru, Adamu Yusuf and Kabiru Ibrahim.

Governor Fintiri however, denied knowing anything about a court order, directing the party to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

Few days after, Forum of Local Government Party Chairmen of a faction of PDP in Kano state, accused the party’s congress committee mandated to conduct the election of bias.

Chairman of the Forum, Mahammina Bako, said at a press conference that the committee headed by Fintiri was not fair to all members of the party, alleging that the committee had only favoured Kwankwaso’s faction of the party during the congress.

The faction alleged that it was after accepting the list of candidates as presented by the Kwankwaso’s group, that the chairman of the committee invited heads of other groups for what he called a “courtesy call”.

Reacting, the PDP Organizing Secretary in Kano State, Sanusi Suraja Kwankwaso, said the “so-called forum” had no basis to reject the outcome of the congress, adding that the committee had done its work in line with laid down procedure.

Our correspondent reports that in Plateau State, the exercise witnessed series of hitches at the ward congress. It was alleged that election was not conducted in many of the wards due to imposition of candidates, the use of thugs to disrupt elections and bribery of electoral officials, among others.

In Moekat Ward of Shendam Local Government Area of the state for instance, it was learnt that when the electoral officers came from Jos to adopt consensus candidates, thugs came in and disrupted the process.

At Shendam Central Ward B, it was also alleged that electoral officers were diverted to another location against the venue where the poll was to be conducted by a group.

Speaking to our correspondent, a chieftain of the party in Kurumbou Ward of  Shendam, Adamu Muhammed Adamu, said the congress caused a big problem in the ward as the electoral officers were biased towards a particular camp.

There were reports of hitches in other parts of the state.

In Ogun State, the congresses deepened the protracted leadership crisis rocking the PDP following conduct of the ward and the LGAs congresses allegedly by a faction of the party in flagrant disregard to the NWC position not to go ahead.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that Senator Buruji Kashamu’s group and the other faction led by former House of Representatives member, Ladi Adebutu, had been enmeshed in fierce battle for the control of the party’s structure.

While the NWC recognized Adebutu’s faction, Kashamu’s group under Engr Bayo Dayo as Chairman had a court judgment which declared its executives as the authentic.

However, it was learnt that at a meeting held in Abuja at the instance of the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus to broker peace between the two factions, the NWC was said to have directed the Dayo – led excos whose tenure is expiring to wait for its directive before conduct of the congress.

But the outgoing executive has claimed to have conducted both ward and LGAs congresses. Our correspondent’s independent findings revealed that the two congresses which held in the interval of two weeks, were only conducted in one or two LGAs out of the 20 councils in the state.

In Nasarawa, the crisis trailing the congresses has led to the suspension of three chieftains of the party.

Former FCT Minister, Senator Solomon Ewuga, a former House of Representatives member/PDP deputy governorship candidate in the last election, Muhammed Onawo and former Minister of Justice, Musa Elayo have been suspended indefinitely by the party.

Publicity Secretary of the party, Muhammed Bwala in a statement said the party stalwarts engaged in “acts of gross misconduct”.

Our correspondent gathered that the suspended key members of the party have been having running battles with the state chairman of the party, Mr Francis Orogo who is seeking a second term in office.

It was also gathered that the PDP governorship candidate of the party in the 2019 election, David Umbugadu and Senator Sulieman Adokwe are strongly supporting the return of Orogo as party chairman.

In his reaction, Senator Ewuga said due process was not followed in his suspension.

“It is a breach of right to fair hearing and fundamental human right of an individual.  I’m just hearing it and nobody has served me with a letter to that effect,” he said.

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