PDP NEC Meeting: Opposition swells against Damagum over NWC’s stance on merger

PDP NEC Meeting: Opposition swells against Damagum over NWC’s stance on merger

by Ololade Adebeshin
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PDP NEC Meeting: Opposition swells against Damagum over NWC’s stance on merger


By People’s Voice Nigeria | News


The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come under attack for the statement that the party was not in merger talks with any political party. Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was PDP two-time presidential candidate, had last year told leaders of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) who visited him, that there is a need for opposition parties to work together to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Atiku had told them that Nigeria’s democracy is fast becoming a one-party system, and warned that when Emmanuel Masha PORT HARCOURT I ndications are rife that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, may have lost the battle for the control of the state to his godson and current Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.


Political watchers in the state are convinced that Fubara is tightening the noose on Wike from all sides, especially with his new found boldness, which according to him shows that the Jungle has matured. The governor had removed most of Wike’s loyalists in the Rivers State Executive, including the Prof. Zaccheaus Adangor, the former Attorney General, who Fubara accused of sabotaging his government’s fight against the now court ousted Rivers State House of Assembly led by Hon. Martins Amaewhule. Also, Fubara has won the battle against local government chairmen, who were appointed by Wike and whose tenure would end soon but want to remain in office based on the extension granted them by the proWike lawmakers. Rivers: Wike loses grounds to Fubara there is a one-party system, democracy is endangered.


“We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and its consequences will affect the generations yet unborn,” he said. And a few weeks ago, the former Vice President played host to the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 polls, Mr. Peter Obi, thereby provoking rumour A declaration by a River State High Court a few weeks ago, nullifying the extension of the tenure of 23 council chairmen has put an end to their quest to stay additional six months. In the ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice, D.G. Kio declared that the Local Government Law No. 2 of 2024, which sought to extend the LG chairmen’s tenure by six months, conflicts with the 1999 Constitution and Section 9(1) of Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018. The court also declared the Local Government Law No.2 of 2024, which extended the tenure of local government chairmen by six months after the expiration of their tenure as invalid. The court held that the law was inconsistent with the 1999 constitution and Section 9 (1) of Rivers State Law No 5 of 2018 which fixed three years for local government chairmen and councilors. Justice, D.G. Kio, in his judgment, said the recent extension of local government chairmen’s tenure was invalid in suit number PHC/1320/ CS/2024, a case instituted by of possible merger between PDP and LP. But PDP, after its 587th NWC meeting in Abuja last Tuesday said the party is not “engaged in any merger, fusion or amalgamation talks with any other political party or interest group.” The National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba who issued the statement, claimed that the party “remains strong and formidable, capable of winning elections in a free, fair and transparent electoral process in our country.” He told PDP members, Enyiada Cookey-Gam & 6 Ors vs.


The Governor of Rivers State & Ors. The court stated that the lawful tenure for LG chairmen and councillors remained three years as stipulated by the 2018 law, saying any attempt to extend the tenure was unlawful, and violates the officials’ oath of office. It would be recalled that the 27 lawmakers elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the height of the crisis between Wike and Fubara over the control of the PDP machinery in the state. Another court in the state, had earlier this month barred the 25 lawmakers from parading themselves as lawmakers, having vacated their seats. The judge, Charles Wali, ordered them to stay away from the House and restrained them from taking any action in their capacity as the state’s lawmakers pending further hearing in the case fixed for 29 May. He gave the exparte order in a suit instituted by Victor Oko-Jumbo, a factional speaker of the assembly and democracy institutions and the international community to disregard any report suggesting any form of merger between the PDP and any other political party “as such is not in the contemplation of our great party.”


Party stakeholders however, described such statements as “reckless” and unbecoming of any opposition party. A source who pleaded anonymity said it was an indication the NWC is working for the party in power to weaken the PDP. “It is very disappointing,” the source stated, adding that the responsibility of Ambassador Umar Damagum-led NWC is to accommodate everybody. “Merger is a political process. If you say you are against it you can as well say you are not democratic. You cannot say you don’t want to expand; that is not what a political party stands for. “Political parties should have more inclusions,” he added.


The source disclosed that talks are going on between Atiku and Peter Obi and other people “for the possibility of working together and making sure that APC is dislodged in the next election. Who takes over is not the issue now. The primary thing is that there is a strong opposition formation formidable enough to dislodge APC in 2027.” He stated that who should be the candidate is not being discussed, because, according to him, “In political process you don’t start with that because if you start with that the talk will break up; even in global context, ambition will kill the agenda. “The current position of the NWC is not encouraging in that direction.” He added that there is a “constellation” of party stakeholders towards the August National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP. According to him, party leaders are in agreement to rescue PDP from “any factional agenda.”


The source assured that there would be change in the party leadership, because Damagum is only in acting capacity. There was a consensus at the last (NEC) meeting. The only reason it has to be August is because there was a requirement for North Central to put their house in order to produce a replacement for Senator (Iyorchia) Ayu. That one is not in contention any longer,” he stated. Senator Nicholas Tofowomo in his reaction said it is time to rebuild Nigeria from the current economic quagmire and merger is the way to go. “PDP should learn from APC which fused with CPC and CAN before the 2015 elections. Nigerians are very disturbed by the current economic quagmire, and this is the time for PDP to merge with other parties to rebuild the country,” he said. The Senator who represented Ondo South in the 9th Senate added that PDP NWC has spoken for themselves, but not for the leadership of the party and Nigerians at large who are yearning for a change. Tofowomo said: “It is not about apportioning blame, but all over the country, there is abject poverty and the people are looking at the PDP to rescue the situation.”

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