+Rebel governors in disarray, rattled by court sanction
The battle for the soul and structure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) entered a decisive stage on Friday, October 18, 2013 when an Abuja High Court declared the Kawu Baraje – led new PDP illegal.
The court presided over Justice Elvis Chukwu also ordered the new PDP to desist from parading itself as a parallel faction of the ruling party. It recognized the Bamanga Tukur led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party as the authentic leadership of the PDP.
Tukur and other exco members of the PDP who were elected at the August 31, 2013 special convention had instituted the case to restrain Baraje, the factional National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the factional National Vice Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja from parading themselves as national excos members of the party. They also joined their promoter and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the suit that has rattled the leadership of the PDP faction.
The ruling comes days after a Lagos High Court dismissed a suit filed by the new PDP against the Tukur-led NWC. But Justice Adefope Okojie, the presiding judge dismissed the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it since it originated outside its territorial jurisdiction.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had also on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 turned down the request by the Baraje group to recognize it as the authentic leadership of the party. INEC in a letter to Prince Oyinlola said it would not withdraw its recognition of the NWC led by Tukur because it monitored the convention that produced it.
The new PDP maintained its losing streak on Friday, October 18, as Justice Chukwu of Abuja High Court outlawed their faction.
And celebrating their sweet victory, the National Publicity Secretary of the authentic PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, that same Friday, warned the rebel governors, the sponsors of the new PDP and their camp to stop using the name of the party in any form and to also stop using its flag.
The party which was reacting to the judgment of the federal high court, which upheld itself under Tukur, rolled out the warning in a statement in Abuja.
Metuh said in the statement: “We wish therefore to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of this organ of our party are impostors and must be treated as criminals by all and sundry. Henceforth, the leadership of the PDP will no longer tolerate or condone any meeting, utterances press statements and/or activists whatsoever under the name, flag and colour of the party by any unauthorized person or group(s) under any guise.
As law abiding party, the PDP remained calm in the face of unwarranted attacks in the last few months. The national working committee has therefore directed that the name, colour, flag and provisions of the constitution of our National Executive Committee (NEC) under Dr. Bamanga Tukur.”
Metuh said those parading themselves as leaders of a faction of the PDP would be treated as criminals. Meanwhile, the governors in the group, who have been referred to as rebels have been unsettled by the long arm of the law working against them. Governors Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Babangida (Niger), Abdulafatai Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and the Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso have been reportedly locked in a secret meeting to review the situation.
ENCOMIUM Weekly also learnt that turning the table against the new PDP is the culmination of a well-coordinated onslaught to flush them out of existence by the Presidency and PDP party stalwarts.
Firing from all cylinders, the forces against the Baraje group and the rebel governors have effectively deployed law enforcement agencies, political leaders, eminent Nigerians and the judiciary to route them out.
When the new PDP pulled out of the party on Saturday, August 31, 2013 Special National Convention, political pundits had hoped they would surmount all odds against them and force the Tukur-led NWC to do their bidding. But it has not been so.
The new PDP’s plan to establish a parallel or national secretarial in Abuja has since been frustrated by the police. Similar efforts in some states of the federation have also been stalled by forces from above. It was the same scenario when the Minister of the FCT sealed the Adamawa lodge, where the Baraje group was meeting.
The worst happened to the new PDP when an Abuja High Court declared it illegal over the weekend. Before now, efforts to reconcile them with the authentic leadership of the party have failed many times. The bone of contention has been their call to sack Bamanga Tukur, dissolve the current national excos, and stop incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015. And these are difficult compromises the Jonathan group cannot make.
But if you think the new PDP has checked out of the fight to regain control of the party, you may well be dreaming. Reason being that the splinter group, before we went to press, issued a statement through their spokesperson, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze describing their series of defeat as just temporary. He assured they would challenge the court orders in higher court.
– UCHE OLEHI