The peace deal brokered between the ‘Fresh PDP’ and the leadership of the Uche Secondus-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has hit the rocks, barely 24 hours after it was brokered.
A former national chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, had, on Saturday, presided over a marathon truce meeting with purported leaders of the ‘Fresh PDP’ and a few chieftains of the PDP where the two parties in dispute openly declared an end to hostilities.
The crisis was triggered by what some aggrieved members described as impunity and imposition of candidates at the party’s December 9, 2017 national convention, where a new set of national working committee members emerged.
Citing the failure of the new leadership of the PDP to address anomalies and complaints arising from the conduct of the convention, a few disgruntled members, including two defeated contestants for party offices, announced the formation of “Fresh PDP” 11 days after the convention.
The group had threatened to form a breakaway faction of the main PDP and had followed it up with attempts to open an office in Abuja from where it would start conducting its activities as a faction of the PDP.
Led by one Obi-Nwosu Emmanuel, members of the group, numbering about six, had vowed that the new National Working Committee (NWC) led by Prince Uche Secondus would not stand.
A controversial governor in one of the states in the Southeast, is fingered to have sponsored the uncoordinated group, a claim that Nwosu denied.
But the leadership of the PDP had initially dismissed the group as inconsequential, saying it’s completely unperturbed by what it described as the “comical act of some individuals who make outlandish claims in the media regarding the party”.
Apparently mindful of the distraction the group might cause, the party leadership had mandated Nwodo to engage members of the recalcitrant group in discussions with a view to addressing their grievances amicably.
Apart from Nwodo, others at Saturday’s truce meeting, which held at the Abuja residence of the former party chair, were a member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Stella Omu and the PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The ‘Fresh PDP’ was represented by one Chief Olukayode Akindele as “chairman”, Godwin Duru and Franklyne Edede. While Akindele did not contest for any position at the December 9 convention, Duru and Edede had contested and lost the positions of National Organising Secretary and National Youth Leader in that order.
After the closed door meeting with the Nwodo group, Akindele, on behalf of others, had announced the voluntary dissolution of the Fresh PDP.
He said the group had agreed to drop its decision to create a breakaway faction of the opposition party and pledged loyalty to the Secondus-led PDP.
To buttress his point, Akindele had said, “We have been having these meetings for a long time. An executive meeting was held at 5am today (Saturday) in the interest of the nation and the party so that we won’t have a parallel NWC come Monday.
“That has been cancelled and we have surrendered the list to our leader here and we want to assure that this is the best thing that can happen to PDP”.
But in a swift reaction, Obi-Nwosu Emmanuel said Akindele and his team that met with the PDP chieftains are impostors.
Emmanuel, who referred to himself as the “Director General” of the Fresh PDP, in a statement on Sunday, described the action of the Akindele group as “shameful and most pathetic show of unbridled poverty and greed”.
According to him, Akindele and his team did not have his (Emmanuel’s) authority as the “Director General” to enter into any deal with the leadership of the party.
The statement, dripping with caustic innuendoes, said among others,
“These shameless persons who had at various times deployed very untoward means to use the noble Fresh PDP platform as a blackmail tool for the extortion of money from party leaders; have come to their ultimate end.
“No one in his right senses will listen to the characters that purported to have collapsed such a vibrant movement like the Fresh PDP whose ideology has spread across Nigeria like wild fire.
“For the records, my humble self and Svt. Rodney Odili-Obi were the initiators of the Fresh PDP. Every other person that joined the movement was allowed to be a part of Fresh PDP after expressing deep seated desire to join such a noble cause that seeks to address impunity and imposition in our great party.
“Very many party leaders and members had warned us about the ugly antecedents of some of these individuals who we allowed to join the Fresh PDP.
“They have now openly disgraced themselves as they exhibited their inordinate desire for cheap compensation against the high ideals of correcting injustice and ensuring transparency in the coming party primaries; which Fresh PDP was established to achieve.
“Let it be known that Fresh PDP was never setup as a money hunting platform, but strictly as the true PDP that will meet the dreams of the founding fathers of our great party.
“It was born out of the great necessity to address the injustice, impunity, imposition and corruption that characterised the 9th December 2017 National Convention of the party.
“No individual or group within or outside Fresh PDP will be allowed to negotiate for pecuniary gains using this noble platform.
All those that joined Fresh PDP with the corrupt mind-set of pursuing selfish and divisive agenda; have hit the rock.
“We advise them to quickly join their fellow impostors who have mortgaged their conscience for penny. We hereby warn all our party leaders and members to dissociate themselves from these questionable characters as they do not represent the true Initiators of the noble Fresh PDP.
“May we reiterate our earlier stand that if the party leadership addresses the critical issues which we have raised and make firm commitment to ensure a level playing ground for all aspirants in the coming party primaries, then and only then will this platform be formally united again with the Uche Secondus faction.
“Finally, in line with our vision to make PDP great again, we have decided to setup a Central Working Committee (CWC) for the Fresh PDP. This is in deference to the overwhelming opinions of members; against our earlier plan to setup a full fledged National Working Committee (NWC).
We consulted widely with party leaders and members on the most suitable way to ensure that we do not commit the same offence we want to correct and majority were of the opinion that handpicking members of our NWC will smack of the same impunity and imposition which we seek to correct.
“To this end therefore, the Central Working Committee CWC of the Fresh PDP; soon to be inaugurated, will immediately commence arrangements for the conduct of a free and amply transparent elective convention where the authentic NWC of our great party will emerge”.