There are indications the crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might extend into the tussle for the leadership positions in the incoming 10th National Assembly.
This is as there is mounting tension about the fact that some newly elected PDP House of Representatives members might go with the five aggrieved governors of the party popularly known as the G-5 governors, Naija News learnt.
The G5 governors, which include Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), had been at loggers-head with the PDP leadership since the party’s presidential flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar emerged after a contentious convention in May 2022.
The governors were insisting on the removal of the suspended PDP national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to ensure balance in the party’s hierarchy.
However, it was learnt on Tuesday that some newly elected PDP House of Representatives members might support the G5 in their choice of minority caucus leader and House leadership as Wike had already pledged to the Deputy Speaker of the House, Idiris Wase, on Monday that the Rivers PDP would support the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the national level.
Similarly, it was learnt that the other members of the G-5, who also have loyalists among the lawmakers-elect, might align with Wike in deciding the next leaders of the house.
Speaking to the development, a member of the House from Rivers State, Dagomie Abiante, told The Punch that Wike was expected to play a role in determining who would become the leader of the PDP caucus in the 10th Assembly.
According to him, Rivers was one of the few states with the most ranking members in the House, therefore it’s very possible Wike has influence.
The lawmaker submitted that “Does the party have a choice outside of Rivers and Wike? The PDP does not have a choice outside of Wike. It is not about people jumping around and making noise. Some of us are very calm and quiet. It is our nature.
“The truth has to be told: the party does not have any future away from Wike. In the entire North, how many are returning members of the party? If you are talking about experienced returning members, Rivers has them. Outside of Rivers, where else?”
Giving his take about the tendency that the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) might ignore loyalists on the G5 governors, in the nomination of leaders for the minority caucuses in the Senate and the House, Abiante pointed out that Ayu was no longer the national chairman of the PDP and could not decide the minority caucuses’ leaders.
The Rivers lawmaker advanced that “There is no PDP without Wike; maybe you are talking about a different party. But if you are talking about the PDP, it is Wike that calls the shot and the truth must be told. They abandoned the party and someone rebuilt the party. Even when they came back, because they were allowed into the house, they did not know where the keys and the rooms were.”
Abiante said the performance of the PDP in the 2023 general elections was “painful to everybody,” noting that instead of the leadership of the party to reconcile the warring factions after the polls, it continued with its hostile actions.
“This is where it has landed us and today, he (Ayu) is no longer the national chairman, If he is no longer the chairman, where is he going to do the nominations from?” he added.
However, another member of the PDP caucus who spoke based on anonymity had a contrary view on the issue.
He said it is members who would nominate leaders for a caucus and not the party.
The lawmaker noted that “If you check our rules book (House of Representatives Standing Orders), the rule is actually that the minority caucus shall nominate minority leaders from among themselves.”
He, therefore, insisted the party has no take in that decision, noting that it is a convention that the majority or minority parties nominate leaders for caucuses, which he described as “unofficial.”