PDP peace pact crumbles, Obasanjo, Secondus in closed-door meeting
There were strong indications on Thursday that power blocs in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party had sidestepped some of the agreements reached at the party’s expanded National Executive Committee meeting held on Tuesday, August 10.
It was gathered that though it was agreed at the meeting that the party’s national convention should hold in October, the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee was advancing reasons why the date was no longer feasible.
But sources in the party said the rival power bloc led by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, dismissed Secondus’ excuse, saying it was a ploy to sit tight.
It was gathered that based on the fresh crisis in the party, it might hold another NEC meeting next month.
Recall that crisis hit the PDP two weeks ago following alleged moves by a group within the party to remove Secondus on the grounds that he was plotting to install his loyalists as members of the National Convention Committee to ensure his re-emergence as the national chairman.
The PUNCH had on August 11 reported that the PDP, at its expanded NEC meeting held the previous day, reached a middle-of-the-road agreement to satisfy the warring groups.
According to the report, the party rejected moves by the Wike group to remove Secondus.
To pacify the Wike group, the party moved the national convention, which was initially scheduled for December, back to October.
A source in the party, stated on Thursday, “This is the premise upon which the peace pact was built. Members of Wike’s group sheathed their swords, because the convention was shifted to October, but from all indications, Secondus is not ready for any convention in October.”
It was gathered that the NWC had been unable to reach a consensus on the schedule of activities to be presented to NEC ahead of the setting up of the zoning and national convention planning committee.
This, our correspondents gathered, was largely responsible for the rescheduling of the NWC meeting to next Tuesday.
Based on a truce brokered by governors and other party leaders after last week’s expanded NEC meeting, the Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said among other things, “All processes leading to an early national convention in October be immediately activated by relevant party organs, especially the National Executive Committee.
“The meeting requested the NEC to immediately constitute a zoning committee for party offices and another committee for national elective offices.”
A party leader, who confided in The PUNCH, explained that not much progress was made in the direction of convening a NEC meeting to set up the zoning and convention committees.
Meanwhile, the national chairman of the party, Secondus, on Thursday, held a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.
The meeting, which lasted for more than one hour and ended at 2.06pm, was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
A source at the meeting told one of our correspondents that the national chairman took his time to narrate his ordeal and troubles in running the party to the former President.
The source added that Secondus was able to convince Obasanjo to intervene to settle the crisis.
The source said the former President maintained his stance that he was not interested in partisan politics, but his doors were open for advice.
It was also gathered that the meeting between Obasanjo and Secondus was a fallout of an earlier meeting held in Minna, Niger State.
“He (Secondus) narrated his ordeals to Obasanjo and urged him to intervene and save the party from collapse. Although the former President said he had left partisan politics, he stated that he would always offer his advice,” the source stated.
While addressing journalists after the meeting, the PDP Chairman said he came to see Obasanjo as an elder statesman in order for him to advise the present government.
He said, “I am here with members of my team as well as the PDP executive in Ogun State to tap from the wealth of Baba’s knowledge as a statesman.
“It has been very difficult lately because Baba is a global personality, resolving issues across the world. In fact, the last place I learnt Baba visited was Afghanistan; despite the situation in that country, he went there and came back alive.
“So, my team and I are very grateful and we give glory to God. We have discussed Nigeria. Nigeria first before any other thing. Yes, we belong to a political party, but if we don’t have a country, where do we practice democracy?
“We need to have a peaceful country where democracy can strive and at this point, we need Chief Obasanjo to come in with solutions.
“We are aware of insecurity, the poor economy, banditry, kidnapping all over the country; and we can’t continue to watch without reaching out to the elders so that they can come to gather and advise the present government. That is the duty of a statesman.”
Obasanjo, on his part, maintained that though the situation of Nigeria was very bad, it was not irredeemable.
“Every right-thinking individual knows that the Nigerian situation is very bad, but it is not irredeemable,” he stated.
Obasanjo stated that Secondus did not visit him because of partisan politics, but because he was concerned about the situation of the nation.
He said, “You have not visited me because of partisan politics, but you have visited me as a person, who is concerned about where Nigeria is and where Nigeria may be descending into if the right action is not taken.
“And I couldn’t agree with you more; every right-thinking Nigerian and every lover of Nigeria will agree that Nigeria is not what it should be today, unless there is something else wrong with them.
“The situation is bad, very bad, but the situation is not irredeemable. That is where the hope lies. The situation is very bad, but it is not hopelessly irredeemable.”