Panic gripped leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-South yesterday following the latest twist to the crisis rocking the party, which saw the emergence of a parallel leadership of the party.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and eight governors on the platform of the party, yesterday, walked out of the party’s convention and immediately convened a mini convention which culminated in the return of Abubakar Baraje as the new chairman of the splinter PDP.
Although President Goodluck Jonathan, whose perceived second term bid is one of the factors in the current crisis, told delegates at the conference that PDP will “become stronger”, our investigation revealed that leaders of the party from his zone were shaken by the development.
A very top member and a national officer of the party told our reporter, “We are greatly concerned in spite of the bold faces we are putting up in public. PDP has had crises in the past and we have come out one way or the other. This is different because it is the first time we would have a parallel leadership of the party.
“That a former Vice President has pulled out with seven or eight governors is a cause for concern no matter what anybody says,” added our source, who asked not to be named in this report.
Another source, who is member of the Felix Obuah-led PDP in Rivers State, expressed concern that Saturday’s development may pave the way for defection by elected officials of the party.
“The law allows an elected party official to cross carpet (sic) if there is a crisis in his party. But there was ambiguity in what crisis in the party really means – is it crisis at the national or ward level? And other such questions.
“When with the crisis at the national level – we definitely have a crisis when you have eight of our governors forming a parallel leadership, led by no other person than a former chairman and you have the former National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola as regaining the position he held! This is definitely a crisis and I disagree with those saying no cause for alarm,” our source stated.
A number of the party’s leader across the six states of the South-South who spoke with our reporter expressed the same concern.
“Nobody wants to go out and say this on national television or news paper, but we are now vulnerable because dissatisfied governors like (Chibuike) Amaechi of Rivers State and others can now openly defect to other parties because there is indeed crisis in PDP.”
Already, it was gathered that members of the party loyal to Amaechi in the state were getting ready to resuscitate the party’s structure and run it side by side the Obuah faction.