CRISIS rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the planned national convention fixed for May 21 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, can lead to the staging of parallel conventions, sources close to the party have said.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the party was still sharply divided over the plan to retain Senator Ali Modu- Sheriff as national chairman contrary to the gentleman’s agreement that produced him as national chairman.
Despite the plan to play the disagreements under the table, it emerged last week that some northern leaders of the party, led by Professor Jerry Gana are still opposed to the choice of Modu-Sheriff as national chairman.
Some leaders in the South, especially some influential members from the South-West have also expressed opposition to the choice of Modu-Sheriff, who is being strongly backed by Governors Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State.
Besides the trio, it was gathered that the ranks of the governors still remained divided as at weekend, with some of them remaining silent so as not to wash the dirty linens in the open.
“The worst that would happen is that the party would witness parallel conventions,” said a source in the know who restated that some leaders of the party were unmindful of the image crisis the party would face if it reneged on the agreement that brought Modu-Sheriff into office.
It was gathered that while the party’s governors pushing for Modu-Sheriff could head for Rivers State on May 21, others opposed to the choice to hold a parallel event in Abuja.
Sources in the party insisted that the idea of Modu-Sheriff insisting on contesting the position of party chairmanship had not gone well with even some PDP leaders in the North, including the former Niger State governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu; a former minister, Professor Gana, among others.
One of the sources said it was wrong for Modu-Sheriff to plan to renege on the gentleman agreement he reached with the party earlier to step aside by May 21.
Those opposed to Modu-Sheriff said it was also wrong for the North to hold the position of national chairman and presidential candidate at the same time, while marginalising other zones in the South.
Those opposed to him said Modu-Sheriff being chairman could not be relied upon to deliver the goods against his in-law, President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
A source said: “Have you ever seen him criticising Buhari ever since he became chairman of our party, PDP?
“Then, when he was in APP, he worked for us in PDP. Also, he worked against his party, ANPP for Yar’Adua’s victory and Yar’Adua belonged to PDP. How are we sure that he will work against the PDP? That is what is making party leaders even the North not to trust him.”
Another source, who also corroborated the above, lamented the cracks among the leaders of the party in the South-West, but added that things appeared to be coming to shape following the outcome of the two separate zonal meetings held in Akure, the Ondo State capital and Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State, last week.
The source said the fact that the two governors from the South-West, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, as well as Chief Bode George attended the meeting in Akure meant that things were being cemented in the zone.
He added that it was becoming crystal clear that Senator Buruji Kashamu, who led the factional parley in Ijebu-Igbo, was fast losing supporters and loyalists as those that were initially sympathetic towards him had started retracing their steps.
Source: Nigerian Tribune