The splinter group in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje, is now weighing its options following the October 2 letter by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which rejected recognition for its leaders.
INEC, in the letter signed by its acting Secretary, U. F. Usuman, to the National Secretary of the New PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, had declined to recognise Baraje as the PDP national chairman.
Instead, it re-affirmed its recognition of the leadership of the party under its National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The content of the letter was made public last Thursday, the day a Lagos High Court struck out a suit filed by the New PDP, seeking to stop Tukur and some party officials from parading themselves as PDP executives, for want of jurisdiction.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, also yesterday turned the heat on the splinter group as he ordered the sealing of Adamawa Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, where the New PDP has been using as its national secretariat.
The police had earlier sealed off a building at Oyi Crescent, Maitama it had initially acquired as its secretariat, prompting it to relocate its office to the Adamawa Governor’s Lodge .
The plot to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015, which is the root cause of the crisis in the PDP, has also taken a legal turn as two members of the PDP have filed a suit at the Federal High Court, sitting in Kaduna, seeking a judicial declaration that he is not eligible to contest in the next presidential election.
Investigations at the weekend revealed that while the party members were not surprised by the decision of the commission, they were surprised by the timing, especially when some bigwigs of the New PDP, which has in its fold seven governors and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, among others, were in Saudi Arabia for hajj.
One of the New PDP members told sources that the decision might force them to eventually move to the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM).
One of the governors also said as soon as those on pilgrimage returned to Nigeria, they would meet with a view to determining what next step to take in the titanic political battle between the New PDP and the mainstream party.
It was learnt that the decision by the New PDP to write INEC in the first place was deliberate as it was part of options contained in its Plan A and now that the recognition did not come, the faction would consider options available to it under its Plan B, which include opening discussion with the PDM.
The discussion with the PDM, he added, would be a prelude to discussions with the All Progressive Congress (APC).
According to the source, all the permutations are about 2015, adding that since the PDM has no intention of fielding a candidate in the 2015 presidential election, the new party that consists mainly of political associates of the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, stands a viable option for the splinter PDP.
He said: “We have seen the outcome of Plan A; then what is available now is the Plan B. By our Plan B, it is to open discussion of fusing with political like minds and the option available now is the PDM. The PDM is the godfather of the PDP.
“There is no option than this now because with what is happening in the PDP, the doors are gradually being closed against us in the New PDP (nPDP). Take for instance, the Tukur-led NWC of the PDP has constituted the Disciplinary and Finance Committees and none of our members were considered and we say that there is reconciliation going on.
“So, none of our members are considered in the prime committees and you say that we are reconciling, what kind of reconciliation is this? Why the rush in setting the two committees and by next week, the committees would be inaugurated. Some people are using the reconciliation with the president as a delay tactics while Tukur in PDP is busy consolidating and the earlier we take a decision on this, the better for us. In every move, Tukur and his team are busy tightening the rope against us.”
Against the backdrop of the report that the INEC’s decision and the court judgment constitute a setback for the New PDP, the governor source dismissed the belief, saying the faction did not regard them as such.
He confirmed the statement by the party source that they knew that INEC might not recognise Baraje as the PDP chair and they had mapped out their other strategies to deal with the situation.
He however explained that what they did not envisage was that the decision would come at a time when other members of the group would not be around.
According to him, they will review the development after Sallah and the mainstream PDP would be shocked by the steps they would take.
He added that what the court ruling and the INEC’s decision had done was to further hasten their moves and seal the fate of the ruling party.
He said PDP could only remain what it used to be if Jonathan did not run, adding that should he decide not to run, the crisis will be resolved within a short time and PDP will become stronger again.
He added that neither INEC nor the court could save PDP from the self-inflicted crisis it is enmeshed in as only the party and the president can save the PDP.
Anything short of that, he added, the PDP would be history by the next elections.
The governor urged their supporters not to despair, assuring them that they always have their strategies properly thought out.
As if the INEC decision and the court case were not enough setbacks for the splinter group, the FCT minister compounded its trouble as he ordered that the Adamawa Governor’s Lodge, being used as the New PDP national secretariat, be sealed off.
Mohammed hinged his decision on the fact that it amounted to the abuse of the Abuja master plan for the building, which is supposed to be used as a residential building, to be used for a political purpose.
Mohammed, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mohammed Sule Hazat, said: “All the governors’ lodges in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are enshrined in the Abuja Master Plan to be for residential purposes but not for political party secretariat as Adamawa State Governor’s Lodge is currently being used.
“The governor’s lodge as it is today is being used as a political party office thereby negating the spirit of urban planning and causing nuisance and disturbance to the residents dwelling in that area of the city as well as inflicting undue pressure on the infrastructure and services therein, contrary to the principles of the Abuja Master Plan.”
When sources visited the governor’s lodge, five armed policemen where sighted at the in front of the building to enforce the closure order.
However, the New PDP spokesman, Mr. Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, in a text message to sources, disputed the claim that the faction’s secretariat had been sealed off.
“I have sent our Youth Leader, Timi Frank, to visit the Adamawa Governor’s Lodge and he spoke with me from the lodge that the place is not sealed off as erroneously insinuated in some quarters,” he said.
Meanwhile, another legal battle to stop Jonathan from running in 2015 has been initiated by two PDP members who have asked the Federal High Court, sitting in Kaduna, to determine his eligibility for the 2015 presidential election.
Besides the president, his party, the PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are respondents in the suit.
The plaintiffs, Alhaji Shuaibu Lilli and Richard Tersoo Mnenga, in the suit, averred that they are bonafide members of the PDP and have locus standi to institute the case.
In the originating summons and other court documents exclusively obtained by sources, counsel to the plaintiffs, Tony Yunana Agaga Esq. of Peace Chambers, the plaintiffs are seeking “the court interpretation of the provisions of section 130, 131, 135 137 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146 and 147 and other relevant provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended”.
Lilli and Mnenga in the suit, which was filed on October 7, averred that the interpretation of the sections of the constitution is of great national importance against the background of the uncertainty of the tenure of office of Jonathan, who assumed office on May 6, 2010 following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
According to the plaintiffs, the court should also declare that the president is not qualified to contest the 2015 presidential election because such an attempt will violate the provisions of Section 137 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
In addition to these demands, the two plaintiffs are seeking an order of injunction restraining the president from presenting himself for nomination by the PDP and for the party from presenting him as its candidate in the 2015 presidential election.
They also want the court to restrain INEC from accepting the nomination of Jonathan by the PDP as its presidential candidate in the 2015 presidential election.
announced a couple of days ago by the Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan.
Reports received from the local government areas indicated early arrival of relevant voting materials at the polling centres.
The only exception to the timely supply of voting materials was recorded in parts of Ughelli South, but sources learnt the delay was caused by the involvement of one of the vehicles conveying the materials in an accident.
Unlike it was commonplace in national elections in the past, there were also no reports of shortage of election materials at the polling centres.
The weather was also clement, as there were no rains but sunshine in the entire Delta Central zone during the period till the voting was concluded.
In most of the areas visited by sources between 9am and 11am yesterday in Uvwie, Udu, Okpe and Ughelli South local government areas, accreditation of registered voters went on without hitches.
Members of the National Youth Corps Service (NYSC), who served as INEC temporary staff, were generally responsible for the accreditation of voters.
Emerhor was accredited for voting at Evwreni, his native community in Ughelli North Local Government Area about 10:24 at Mariere Primary School.
Emerhor’s countenance, however, changed into a melancholic picture after he received a telephone call while speaking with reporters about 10:30am.
He subsequently dismissed the journalists, claiming that he just received information that rigging was going on in a secret place somewhere in Aladja area in Udu Local Government Area, allegedly, with the connivance of security operatives.
Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama (SAN), who spoke with reporters at his country home in Ughelli South, said he was impressed by the peaceful conduct of the election.
He also said he was confident that his party, PDP, would win the election with conviction.
The smell of victory threw the PDP camp of Aguariavwodo into a celebration mood following reports that the party was leading in at least five of the eight local government areas of the Delta Central senatorial zone.
Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)