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PDP foils plot to return Jonathan



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• Rebuilds for a new alliance

• As Fayose dumps Jonathan  


THE lingering crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), according to reliable sources, may not be unconnected with power tussle for 2019 presidential ticket of the party.

The National Daily gathered that a new political force in the PDP, led by governors elected on the party’s platform, recently discovered a plot by loyalists to former President Goodluck Jonathan to take over control of the party for a purported return of the presidential ticket to the former president in 2019. This, they noted, contradicts the existing zoning arrangements in the PDP.

The loyalists comprise largely political appointees in Jonathan’s administration. And the plot, going by several other PDP leaders’ statements, is contrary to the present agreement to field a northern presidential candidate n 2019.

ALSO SEE: Sheriff says his chairmanship won’t last

It was revealed that PDP leaders, in the resolve to forestall such plot, became united in the appointment of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the party’s national chairman. They want him to consolidate the new power bloc in the party under the aegis of the Renaissance Group.

It was noticeable that the opposition to Sheriff leadership of the party was greater from the appointees of the former president. For instance, Femi Fani-Kayode, former publicity director of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization; Dr. Doyin Okupe, senior special assistant to the former president, Ahmadu Ali, former director-general of the 2015 PDP PCO, among others, were highly vocal in challenging the emergence of Sheriff or the power shift in PDP.

Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, political adviser to former President Jonathan, had launched the first salvo on PDP leadership when he challenged the interim leadership of Uche Secondus as acting national chairman of the party in court.

Secondus had stepped into the office of PDP National Chairman after the resignation of Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu who led the PDP into the disastrous 2015 general elections the party lost to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Secondus was to fill the leadership vacuum pending when the party holds its national convention to elect substantive PDP leaders.

But Gulak was not patient for the PDP to effect change of leadership through a national convention. He succeeded in getting a court judgment that ordered Secondus to vacate office. While Secondus was on appeal, Gulak coercively imposed himself as PDP National Chairman. This heightened the suspicion of other PDP leaders.


The Renaissance Group, wielded by the PDP Governors Forum, was compelled to act with urgency in appointing another interim chairman, leading to the emergence of Sheriff, to complete the chairmanship tenure of the north east which elapses in March.

ALSO SEE: Jonathan’s set back in PDP

The PDP Governors Forum currently include Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Chairman; Governor Ayo Fayose, Ekiti State; Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, Gombe State; Governor Ishaka Darius, Taraba State; Governor OkezieIkpeazu, Abia State; Governor NyesomeWike, Rivers State; Governor IfeanyiOkowa, Delta State; Governor Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State, Governor Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa State; Governor David Umahi, Ebonyi State; and Governor IfeanyiUgwuanyi, Enugu State.

Other PDP leaders working with the Renaissance Group include Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Louis Ogor, and others.

In the new power calculus in the PDP, Governor Fayose was said to have dumped Jonathan, aligning himself with the new power bloc mobilizing support for a northern presidential candidate towards 2019.

Fayose had, in an interview weeks ago, remarked that the PDP made a mistake fielding Jonathan rather than a northern candidate in the 2015 presidential election. The Ekiti governor observed that if he were Jonathan he wouldn’t contest the election, which he acknowledged made the PDP lose power.

Apparently, the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) had earlier opposed the appointment of Sheriff but later turned the opposition to support for the new interim national chairman.

Senator Walid Jibrin, acting chairman of PDP BoT, had at a meeting in Abuja, said that the BoT was in the best position to know the right candidate for the national chairman of the party, contending that “Sheriff just isn’t that man”.

The BoT members, however, indicated they will consult other organs of the party on how to oust Sheriff from the chairmanship. They were reported to have urged former President Jonathan to reject Sheriff.

Professor Jerry Gana, Senator Stella Omu, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Alhaji Shuabu Oyedokun, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Senator Jonah Jang, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Senator Adolphus Wabara, Abdullahi Kure and Maina Waziri, among others, were said to be in attendance at that meeting.

A former governor of the old Gongola State, Ambassador Wilberforce Juta, leading the PDP Rescue Group, was also said to have joined in demanding the resignation of Sheriff.

Fayose had, at a press conference in Ekiti, chided those opposed to the appointment of Sheriff as national chairman, describing them as lightweights in the party.

“Most of the people clamouring for the resignation of Sheriff… none of them won 10 per cent in their states. What are they bringing to the table…what is their relevance?” Fayose said. “But as a leader, I still have to appeal to them; they should please allow the dust to settle and channel this energy against Ali Modu Sheriff’s chairmanship to rebuild the party,” he added.

ALSO SEE: I won’t resign as PDP Chairman – Sheriff ….Fayose rallies stakeholders


Perhaps, in the consultation with other organs of the party, the BoT members were convinced on the new agenda of the PDP, compelling them to rescind their decision.

The BoT, in a communique issued by Senator Ibrahim Mantu, stated it reviewed the commitment made on its behalf at the stakeholders meeting convened by Deputy Senate President, Senator lke Ekweremadu, which resolved that Sheriff, elected by NEC at its last meeting, be allowed a three-month tenure. Within that period, the statement added, congresses and national convention would hold to elect new leaders of the party at all levels.

The BoT, which is the conscience of the party, has the moral capital to reinvent the party due to its unity of purpose and internal cohesion, Mantu stated. “In this connection, in spite of the initial position taken by the BoT, its desire to ensure the unity, cohesion and future successes of the party has necessitated a review of its earlier position,” he declared.

The trustees are beginning to align with the new force whose spectrum extends to the youths. And Sheriff has admitted that the PDP leadership would determine when his tenure will end “at the appropriate time”.

But in the meantime, the social media workers of the former president may have been mobilized to renew campaign for the return of their principal.

Some of them are already posing questions like: “If Goodluck Jonathan wants to come back as a president, will you vote for him?” Virtually all the social media recruits have intensified their criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari, making comparisons of certain economic indices between the current and last administration.

Some others argue the possibility of the former president coming back in 2019, citing the Matheu Kerekou experience in Benin Republic where he was defeated by Nicéphore Soglo in 1991, and later came back to defeat Soglo in 1996.

The National Daily found out that the PDP leaders have insisted on a northern presidential candidate in 2019, and they are not going back on that decision.

They have also been working towards new alliances with some power blocs. According to a party source, the PDP will do everything possible to maintain its hegemony in the southeast and south-south; it will rebuild in the north, and then make do with its average support base in the southwest to bounce back to power in 2019.

ALSO SEE: PDP Chairmanship: Wike, Okowa plan return of Secondus

There is also an indication that the rebuilt PDP may form a coalition with a possible political party that may emerge from the southwest before 2019.

While the party intends to field a northern presidential candidate, some stakeholders argue that it requires a southern national chairman to market the candidate in the south.

Thus, Sheriff may not exactly be the national chairman who will lead the PDP into the 2019 general elections. However, the national chairman of the party has already been zoned to the south.

Meanwhile, former President Jonathan has not indicated any interest of returning to power in 2019; he has not even resumed active partisan politics since leaving office.