On the last day in May 2016, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held a failed national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. An August convention also in Port Harcourt which was supposed to right the wrongs of the previous one also failed. The party still doesn’t have a substantive National Executive Committee (NEC) and is plagued by infighting between two factions with conflicting court rulings to support their claims.
Between May and August, there were several moves by leaders and elders of the party to unite the warring camps. Many leaders of the party now say behind the scenes that the two people most responsible for the failure of the party to resolve the issues are Nyesom Wike and Ayo Fayose, the governors of Rivers and Ekiti.
“The game is over. Those two governors will not be allowed to hijack the party. We are not going to Port Harcourt for another convention again,” said Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former transportation minister and a member of the party’s Board of Trustees.
Wike and Fayose reportedly pushed other governors to jettison recommendations made by a peace committee led by Jerry Gana which was set up by the BOT.
That committee met with members of the different party factions and came up with recommendations which could have soothed the bruised egos within the party. The 18-member committee submitted its report on Aug 15, few days before the botched convention in Port Harcourt, but its recommendations were not accepted by the national convention committee chaired by Wike.
The peace committee recommended that the convention be held in Abuja and not Port Harcourt, a concession to the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction which was opposed to holding it in the Rivers capital.
It also recommended that both Sheriff and the leader of the National Caretaker Committee, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, be allowed to play a major role at the convention with Makarfi “declaring the convention open as convention chairman and Senator Sheriff to hand over to the new chairman after the elections.”
Also, the committee recommended that a convention planning committee be reconstituted to have nominations from both sides
“Agree on co-chairmen to preside over the convention Planning Committee; ensure a credible, transparent and superbly organised convention to produce highly qualified and suitable national officers through a process of free, fair and highly credible elections,” the report said.
To find a solution to the crisis on the party, the BOT has scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday to be presided over by the Chairman of the Board, Senator Walid Jibrin.
A member of the Board, Chief Bode George, who vied for the chairmanship of the party said the meeting would be crucial for the party’s survival.
“This week is going to be very crucial to the survival of our party. The BoT will meet and other organs of the party are also expected to meet as well. The founding fathers of the party will also meet.
“We are expected to also have an expanded national caucus meeting as well. We are going to be frank in our discussions and decisions.”