INEC declaration: Fresh crisis hits PDP
The declaration on Thursday by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which recognised the Peoples Democratic Party faction led by Dr. Bamanga Tukur, has sparked a fresh crisis between the party and the splinter group, the New PDP.
The INEC declaration is contained in its reply to the New PDP, which had requested that the electoral body recognised the Abubakar Baraje-led faction.
But INEC said it only recognised the Tukur-led PDP.
In its reply to the Baraje faction, the commission stated, “You will recall that the commission monitored the national convention and special national convention of the PDP held on March 24, 2012 and August 31, 2013 respectively, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, after notices to the commission.
“An NWC was elected at the two conventions with Tukur as the national chairman. The commission will not withdraw recognition from the leadership of the PDP elected at elections duly monitored by the commission. Please be guided.”
SUNDAY PUNCH investigation in Abuja on Friday revealed that the development had paved the way for renewed hostilities between the factions.
Reacting to the INEC declaration and the Lagos High Court ruling, which threw out the splinter party suit, the Tukur-led PDP has likened the failure of the Baraje-led New PDP to get INEC’s recognition and the court’s judgment to “a failed coup d’état”.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Abubakar Jalo, conveyed his faction’s position during an exclusive interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, in Abuja, on Friday.
He stated that what the Baraje-led faction sought to do through “the back door” was in bad taste.
He accused them of claiming to be seeking peace by sitting down with the Bamanga Tukur-led authentic PDP in the day time, but going to the INEC and the court by night to undermine the process.
Jalo said, “If you go to the opposition and form a faction you can succeed, it is normal because the opposition has no government.
“But where there is a sitting President, for someone from the same political party to say he is going to form a faction, if that faction is recognised by INEC, it means that it is a coup d’état against the President; because the President came from that party.
“It is a known fact that factionalisation can only succeed in a party, which is outside power but where a party (which has a sitting President in its fold) is in power and you recognise any other faction of the party; it means the President is no longer in control.”
He stated that as far as his party was concerned, President Goodluck Jonathan was still the President and Dr. Bamanga Tukur remained the duly elected national chairman.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze, said it would be a misconception for people to think that the court process had ended.
He said,”We are going to file the matter in Abuja. The ruling did not discredit our case; it did not say our case did not have merit. As advised by His Lordship, we shall re-file the suit in Abuja, because we are convinced about the merit of our case,” he said.
On the calls by the Tukur-led PDP for members of the Baraje-led faction to return to the fold, Eze said it was Tukur and those following his leadership that needed to return.
He said, “An illegally constituted National Working Committee cannot dictate to genuine members of the party to return or not to return to the party.
“We are not outside the party, they are the ones outside the party, and they should be looking for how to return to the fold.
“On the INEC issue, we are making an official statement on it on Sunday.”
Another member of the New PDP, Senator Danladi Sankara, told our correspondent that the issues at stake were very simple.
He said, “We have made our stand on most of these issues public, we have not met to change our position and I doubt it if we will back down because we are seeking to improve the fortunes of our party.”
Meanwhile, the chain of setbacks suffered by New PDP lengthened on Saturday as the Federal Capital Territory Administration sealed off the Adamawa State Governor’s Lodge in the Maitama District of the Federal Capital City for abuse of the Abuja master plan.
The lodge was sealed off after its conversion to a secretariat for the new PDP. The secretariat earlier used by the splinter group was shut down by the police last month.
Justifying the development, the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, Sule Mohammed, noted that the building was for residential purposes and not for political party secretariat. He argued that the Adamawa State Government contravened the Abuja master plan by turning the lodge to a party secretariat.
“All the governor’s 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 on 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,” the statement stated.
The FCT Administration said it would not rest on its oars until the FCT was rid of all illegal structures and illegal change of Land Use.
The administration observed that any change of Land Use is usually accompanied by over-stretching of facilities planned for certain number of people, apart from causing high volume of traffic with its attendant problems.
It also said that all actions by a person or group of persons that inflicted pains on the residents whether directly or indirectly would not be condoned.
But in its reaction, the New PDP said the sealing off of the Adamawa State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja was a sign that democracy was dead in the country.
It argued that if the lodge of a serving state governor could be sealed off without any court order, then there was nothing those in government would not do to satisfy those that put them in office.
The National Publicity Secretary of the faction, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, who stated this in a telephone interview with one of correspondents, appealed to President Gooodluck Jonathan to caution the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed.
Eze said, “We can all see that democracy is dead in the country. Why would anyone think of sealing off the residence of a serving governor because of politics?
“The country is in trouble and we must all rise and condemn the action. The Lodge of a serving governor is like an embassy.
“We are not sure that the President is aware of this, and we must ask him to act fast before those who have no character give his government a bad name.