Battle for 2019 deepens crisis
There are moves to checkmate some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors pushing to install the party’s chairman at Saturday’s convention, sources said at the weekend.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike is leading the plan to put former Interim Chairman Uche Secondus on the much coveted seat.
But former military President Ibrahim Babangida, some PDP founding fathers, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) may have teamed up to block the governors whose ranks may have been broken.
Four governors, including two from the Southeast, may jettison the plan to make a former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the chairman, it was learnt at the weekend.
A party source said: “We are set for a make or break convention between the old brigades, led by Gen. Babangida and Jonathan, and the governors.”
With Gen. Babangida are founding fathers, like former Minister of Information Prof. Jerry Gana, ex-PDP national chairmen, including Sen. Ahmadu Ali, members of the BoT, ex-ministers, ex-governors and former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu.
The new brigade includes Wike, Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and state party chairmen “who want to put an end to godfatherism and hijack the structure of the party”.
The source, who pleaded not to be named, went on: “The hidden plan of the two groups is the battle for the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP. So far, it is apparent that the founding fathers and Jonathan are beholding to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, to whom they want to give the ticket
“The governors seem to have a focus on another candidate either an ex-governor or a defector into the party. The game is tough because whoever controls the structure of the party may produce the PDP flagbearer for the 2019 presidential poll.
“As it is now, the governors are in control of more delegates than the founding fathers who are scavenging for delegates. Even ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is not sure of the 50 per dent control of delegates from Bayelsa State.”
A former member of the NWC said: “Gen. Babangida, Jonathan and others are determined to tame the governors. They have succeeded in breaking their ranks because four of the PDP governors may back out of their colleagues plans to install Secondus as the next chairman.
“The governors have decided to abandon their colleagues following plea from Babangida and Jonathan.
“But the governors have the resources to make it a battle to the finish. The old brigades depend on goodwill whereas delegates need lifeline because the party had been out of power for two and a half years.”
“Babangida is crying out now because he has seen the handwriting on the wall that these governors are in charge. The founding fathers are banking on votes from the North to stop the governors from hijacking the party.
The source said: “The situation is dicey. The party may end up in a deeper crisis because the chairman that will emerge might cause a split. Once we are in a crisis, 2019 presidential poll will be an easy ride for APC.”
It was learnt that a former National Security Adviser Gen. Aliyu Gusau, has been the arrowhead of the outreach by PDP founding fathers to the governors to allow the chairman to come from Southwest. They are working for Prof. Tunde Adeniran.
“Gen. Gusau has been trying to restore the ideals of PDP as espoused by Gen. Babangida and other founding fathers. But the governors may fight the old brigades to a standstill.”