JUST IN; Over 60 Federal Lawmakers threaten to defect from PDP


JUST IN; Over 60 Federal Lawmakers threaten to defect from PDP


There’s palpable tension in the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following a threat to withdraw from the party by about 60 federal lawmakers over alleged control of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The lawmakers’ threat came on the heels of the recent appointment of Caretaker Committees to run the PDP in Rivers and other States, by the Umar Damagum-led National Working Committee (NWC).

Addressing a world press conference in Abuja, the lawmakers demanded Damagum’s removal from his position as acting national chairman of PDP, warning that if that is not done, they will defect from the party.

Alleging imposition, the spokesperson of the coalition of Opposition Lawmakers in the National Assembly, Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, flanked by Hon. Aliyu Mustapha (Kaduna), Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante (Rivers), Hon. Midala Balami (Borno) and numerous others, rejected particularly the alleged move by the acting National Chairman of PDP, Damagum, to foist his loyalists and allies of an APC apologist particularly in Rivers State.

According to the parliamentarians, they will help the acting chairman who is even occupying the office wrongly to destroy the PDP if he does not rescind the decision and review the list of the Caretaker Committees in Rivers and other 16 States.

The lawmakers also called on Damagum to resign his position immediately to pave way for someone from the North-central geopolitical zone to take the affairs of PDP as it only legal and appropriate for a person from the geo-political zone to succeed the former chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu (Benue State) who was removed on March 28, 2023.

They vowed to help Damagum destroy PDP if he foists APC loyalists as PDP caretaker committee members in Rivers and 16 other States.

They said, “Fellow Nigerians and gentlemen of the press, it is with a heavy heart that we have summoned you today to come and hear us out. We appreciate the gesture and we will not take it for granted. Gentlemen, many of you may have heard rumours about ongoing events in my party, our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where there have been allegations of doctoring of Caretaker Committee members lists in Rivers state and at least 10 other states. This story is quite unfortunate and I can confirm to you all that it is not a rumour but fact. We have obtained very credible intelligence on the on goings in the Party’s Wadata House National Secretariat and it does not sound right at all. We currently have in the PDP a national leadership that is in bed with the APC and is working extremely hard to hand over the party to the APC.

“Following the removal of Sen. Iyorchia Ayu as national chairman of our party and assumption of office by Umar Illiya Damagun, who was elected as Deputy National Chairman to act in his stead, the party has only known misfortune and abdicated its responsibility as the leading opposition party in the country. That role which Nigerians would have loved the PDP as an institution it truly is to play has been abdicated for a plate of porridge. A serious leadership would have set up structures to review what, why, and how the party failed to win the last presidential election and also failed to secure majority in both chambers of the National Assembly, rather the Umar Damagum led NWC is assiduously working to hand over the party to the ruling APC and their agents. A serious leadership would have looked into the acts of open anti-party activities, established why they happened and set up measures to ensure that it never happened again in the party. A serious party leadership would have since the end of elections or even the tribunal matters gone round to thank members and rally them for the challenge ahead of being the opposition and offering credible alternative to the people. We do not have any of these. But again imagine if we had such with the current state of the nation. Imagine the suffering of Nigerians because PDP as opposition does not have direction due to the activities of Damagum and co. This is very disheartening.

“Disheartening because this is a man who is not supposed to be in the office in the first place. He was only constitutionally allowed to step in and midwife the process through which the North central Zone where the Chairmanship of the party was originally zone to present another person who would complete the slot of the North Central. Not only did Damagun hold tight unto the seat for well over a year now, he has abdicated every responsibility of the office of the Chairman of PDP and is very comfortable serving APC interests. There had been agreement of a broad spectrum of the party leadership when it became clear that Damagum was not interested in conducting elections but to appoint Caretaker committees in at least 19 states where the tenures of the State and local government leader were expiring to extend the tenures of these officials by three months. This decision which was made to cover every state was the wisdom that restrained Damagum from announcing a list of a majority of caretaker committees populated by APC agents masquerading as PDP members.

“However, despite that decision to retain everybody, Mr. Damagun went ahead and received a list of APC agents and announced them as members and leaders of the PDP Local Government Caretaker Committees wholesomely in Rivers State and partially in at least 10 other states. This is a direct attempt to kill the PDP and ensure it goes into extinction. To make issues clearer, we are speaking on behalf of at least 60 lawmakers in the opposition lawmakers coalition in the National Assembly. We all won our elections without any form of help or support from the party hierarchy. It has become clearer to us that this scenario was foisted so that as many of us as possible will fail the elections. Damagum never really wanted us to win.

“Against their wish, we won the election and now Damagun and his co-travellers have launched the phase 2 of their protocol which is to hand the structures of the party to interests working for the APC. It is on this basis that we the genuine PDP lawmakers who believe in our party and its ideals hereby announce today that we would not stand idly by and allow Damagum destroy the efforts of Sir Alex Ekwueme, Prince Solomon Lar and other eminent former Chairmen and leaders of the party. We therefore declare that if the list in Rivers State PDP Caretaker Committee and the other 10 states were to stand, that the 60 lawmakers will resign from the Party, severe all relationship with the party and seek new political alliances elsewhere. Some leaders may not boldly speak out, but as you all know, we won our elections by scoring victory against the devil himself. So we can speak out. Let us sound this note of warning to all in PDP and are part of the leadership of the Party at whatever level, that this PDP local government leadership will mark the end of the party if Damagum tampers with the original agreed list of Caretaker Committee members for Rivers State and the other 10 states.”

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