The Peoples Democratic Celebration might within the coming weeks wield the hammer in opposition to a few of its outstanding members for rebelling in opposition to it and as an alternative fraternising with the ruling All Progressives Congress and President Bola Tinubu.
Sunday PUNCH reliably gathered that the principle opposition celebration was contemplating expelling key members of the G-5 governors elected on its platform, who refused to assist the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, within the February 25, 2024 presidential election.
It was learnt that the PDP was planning to point out the exit door to the rapid governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who was the arrow head of the insurgent governors, in addition to the rapid governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
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Other than not supporting Atiku, the celebration considers the present romance Wike and Ortom are having with Tinubu and the APC as severe anti-party exercise, whose consequence is expulsion.
The PDP has due to this fact warned that if the previous governors settle for any appointment from the President and the APC, they might be summarily expelled from the celebration.
It isn’t clear but what the PDP plans to do with the opposite members of the G-5 as Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is serving his second time period on the platform of the celebration and took part on the current retreat of the celebration in Bauchi, whereas the rapid previous governors of Abia and Enugu states, Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, seem like in political wilderness having misplaced their respective bids to go to the Senate. Ortom equally failed in his bid to change into a senator.
Nevertheless, the 5 ex-governors not too long ago visited the President on the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in solidarity with Tinubu even because the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, continues to be attempting to upturn his victory on the Presidential Election Petition Court docket.
Counting on the Could 31, 2023 judgment of an A Federal Excessive Court docket that it had the precise to droop or expel Wike or some other member if the motion was finished in accordance with the regulation, Sunday PUNCH gathered that the celebration was significantly contemplating kicking the ex-Rivers governor and different recalcitrant members out.
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Justice James Omotosho had dominated on a swimsuit filed by Wike previous to the 2023 basic elections looking for for an order to cease the PDP from taking motion in opposition to him with out truthful listening to.
The ex-governor had sued the PDP, its Nationwide Working Committee and Nationwide Government Committee, and joined the Nationwide Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; Nationwide Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee.
Justice Omotosho held that suspending or expelling the applicant with out affording him the precise to defend himself would breach his elementary rights as enshrined within the celebration’s and Nigeria’s constitutions.
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He stated although the celebration had the precise to droop or expel its members, this should be finished in compliance with its personal regulation.
The decide stated that although Part 46(1) of the regulation vested jurisdiction on the court docket if one’s rights had been breached, he added that the court docket wouldn’t dabble within the inside affairs of any political celebration, besides the place the precise of a member had been violated by the celebration with out recourse to its personal legal guidelines.
Towards the backdrop of a potential strategy for its members to be a part of the President’s authorities, the PDP reminded its members of the implications that await those that whereas the celebration was nonetheless contesting the result of the 2023 presidential election, go forward to serve within the new authorities.
The celebration insisted that neither its NWC nor any of its members had been approached by the ruling celebration for the opportunity of working collectively within the curiosity of the nation.
Throughout their go to to Tinubu, Makinde and Wike took turns to commend the President for beginning off very properly, singling out his announcement of removing of subsidy on petrol as a step in the precise path.
Added to this are the utterances of Wike, who alongside his 4 colleagues not solely labored in opposition to the PDP, however has continued to berate the celebration for missing the braveness to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the South after eight unbroken years within the North.
When requested a couple of weeks in the past if he would serve within the APC-led authorities, Wike responded, “Tinubu has not knowledgeable me about getting an appointment. I’m not too massive to serve my nation, however he has by no means instructed me that he would give me an appointment. If he asks me, the very first thing I’ll do is to ask my spouse and buddies what they give it some thought.”
Talking in an unique interview with Sunday PUNCH, the Nationwide Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, stated, “Whether or not we’re approached or not, the PDP is a celebration of course of and a really democratic celebration. However let me say this, our members are acutely aware of what the celebration believes in.
“They’re conscious that we’re in court docket, and they are going to be guided appropriately. They know the precise factor to do and the implications of not doing the precise factor.”
He added, “As a celebration, we’ve got not been approached to launch any of our members to serve within the authorities. There are processes in points like this. In any occasion, will probably be untimely to speak about this as a result of the election that introduced this authorities into energy is being challenged by the PDP. Election is a course of involving 4 phases – the pre-election, the election itself, declaration and post-election, notably the petitions and all that.
“We’re within the closing leg of this chain and till that is concluded, we can not start to take a position about what’s going to or won’t occur. What we’re holding out to on the election petition tribunal is whether or not the method was credible and clear. If it seems that the method was not credible as we are attempting to determine, then there can’t be a reputable end result. If there isn’t a credible end result, it’s troublesome to avoid the method and that shall be in opposition to the established process and guidelines.”
Reminded that Wike didn’t mince phrases when requested if he would make himself obtainable to serve the APC-led authorities, Ologunagba famous, “When a person within the PDP speaks, he speaks for himself. Whoever speaks in a way as if he’s all in favour of serving within the APC-led authorities speaks for himself. Sure, Wike spoke, however there isn’t a proof that Bola Tinubu is looking for his recommendation on who makes his cupboard or not.”
On whether or not the celebration will permit its members to serve the federal government of the day whether it is formally approached, Ologunagba stated, “Till we’re approached, the celebration can not offer you an official assertion or response. I communicate for this celebration and I do know what the PDP stands for. No matter I inform you now won’t be vital as a result of we’ve got not been approached and we’re not conscious that any of our members has been approached both.
“You possibly can’t give you appointments throughout board within the identify of a authorities of nationwide unity. Nationwide unity primarily based on fraud and illegality? You possibly can’t construct one thing on nothing and count on it to face.”
The polity is replete with many situations the place politicians prior to now dumped their events to simply accept job gives from a sitting authorities, however for Ologunagba, there isn’t a want to talk on what’s going to occur ought to a member of the PDP settle for to be a part of the Tinubu administration.
“Let that (PDP members’ acceptance to serve within the APC authorities) occur first and we’ll know what to do. Within the occasion that this occurs, which is a risk, we’ll react appropriately, however what if it doesn’t occur?
It’s incorrect to leap in entrance of my celebration to talk on what might or might not occur?” he added.
That stated, the PDP picture maker left a jibe for the rapid previous administration, saying, “We’re working at creating the democratic course of, which the previous President, Muhammadu Buhari, destroyed. Historical past won’t be type to Buhari.”
In a transfer geared toward forging a standard entrance forward of future challenges, the PDP appearing Nationwide Chairman, Umar Damagun, on Tuesday convened a gathering of the NWC-select committee to evaluation what went incorrect in the course of the elections and to recommend methods of averting related errors sooner or later.
Wike’s ally reacts
In the meantime, a detailed ally of the rapid previous governor of Rivers State, Senator Olaka Wogu, has warned that any try by the PDP to expel Wike if he accepts any appointment from the APC-led administration or for some other motive may have penalties.
Wogu, who spoke with certainly one of our correspondents on Saturday, cautioned that it will be a travesty, tragedy and a mistake if the PDP expelled the previous governor from the celebration.
Explaining that Wike had an obligation and proper to serve his fatherland, the previous lawmaker added that there was nothing incorrect in a former governor serving as a minister or in some other capability.
He stated, “First, Wike is a Nigerian, and if there’s a name to serve his fatherland, he has the precise to think about whether or not the place given to him is the easiest way he can serve the nation or not. So, if that’s it, then he has an obligation to simply accept the provide.
“There are lots of unknowns, however we all the time suppose that will probably be a tragedy, a travesty and a mistake if the PDP expels Wike in any circumstance. Once I say circumstance, I imply whether or not he accepts to be a minister or take some other place. There isn’t any massive deal about it.
“I believe that the choice to tamper with Wike isn’t one which shall be taken on the overall precept. It should be properly thought of with knowledge as a result of there shall be penalties if there’s any try to expel him.
“Wike doesn’t function inside the framework of whether or not he shall be expelled from the celebration or not. There are guidelines for individuals and there are guidelines for individuals. Going again to the animal kingdom; whether or not all animals are equal or not, the very fact is that each one animals are equal, however some are extra equal than the others.”
PDP on poison allegation
In the meantime, a member of the Nationwide Government Committee of the PDP, Timothy Osadolor, has given explanation why chieftains of the celebration have refused to talk on allegations by Wike that he was poisoned on the celebration’s secretariat in 2018.
The previous governor not too long ago made the declare at a household thanksgiving in Port Harcourt, which was attended by outstanding leaders, together with Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who represented President Bola Tinubu; Senator Adams Oshiomhole and Dr Kayode Fayemi, amongst others.
Wike shocked the viewers when he claimed that he nearly misplaced his life, save for divine intervention.
He had acknowledged, “I by no means knew that I had been poisoned in our marketing campaign secretariat. My intestines had been all black. The docs did all they may do.
“However, by divine windfall, what would have been a disastrous state of affairs was miraculously rotated by God, who instantly started to revive my failed organs.”
Since that declare, neither the nationwide management of the PDP, nor its Rivers State chapter has reacted, however Osadolor stated celebration leaders selected to disregard the previous governor as a result of they knew that “he’s an attention-seeker.”
He stated, “The management of the celebration determined to not react to Wike’s claims as a result of there’s nothing to react to. In the event you dignify a person who’s an attention-seeker always, you’ll be giving life to baseless claims. Our leaders are conscious that the person isn’t telling the reality and so they determined to disregard him.
“The Wike we all know wouldn’t have waited for a complete day with out calling a press convention to talk up. Why did he wait for nearly 5 years earlier than developing with the frivolous declare?
“The reality is that the previous governor is an attention-seeker. He gathered politicians, largely of the All Progressives Congress, to make claims which are neither right here nor there. In the event you ask me, I’ll say I don’t know why he hasn’t moved to the APC.”
Osadolor urged the Damagun-led NWC to concentrate on piloting the affairs of the celebration fairly than entertaining distractions from “individuals who labored in opposition to the PDP in the course of the 2023 basic elections.”
“The management of our celebration should stay steadfast within the job of constructing the PDP stronger. If we can not sanction those that labored in opposition to us from inside in the course of the elections, we should equally not permit their utterances to distract us,” he added.