Trouble in PDP As Mass Defection Looms After Tribunal Verdict

There is trouble in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party following former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s loss at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Wednesday.

The development, it was gathered, has made some members of Board of Trustees of the PDP to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday (today) to engage in what one of our correspondents gathered was tagged ‘‘strategic consultation’’ with Atiku.

The meeting, it was learnt, was necessitated as a result of wrangling among senior members of the party.

Investigations also showed that the allegation by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, that some governors of the party were visiting President Muhammadu Buhari at night was also causing ripples among its senior members.

Wike had also alleged that members of the committee set up by the BoT to investigate the emergence of Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives were corrupt.

While the PDP and Atiku rejected the tribunal’s judgment and had signified their intention to approach the Supreme Court, Wike had congratulated Buhari.

Already, it was learnt that some members of the party had been strategising on how to defect from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Atiku is said to have been residing in the UAE for some time now.

The Chairman, PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, confirmed the trip to one of our correspondents in a telephone interview.

Walid said, “Yes. The PDP BoT members will travel on Saturday to Dubai to see our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar as part of our strategic consultation. The consultation is going to be nation-wide. He is the first person we will meet for the consultation.”

It could not be confirmed how many members of the PDP BoT were on the trip. It was, however, confirmed that Walid and the Secretary of the board, Senator Adolphus Wabara, made the trip.

According to him, the BoT will meet on Thursday to deliberate and decide on Ayu’s committee report.

The committee was set up by the BoT to investigate the emergence of Elumelu as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.

Wike accused the Iyorcha Ayu committee of being corrupt when a member of the committee, Austin Okpara visited him to inform him that he had resigned his membership.

Walid said he did not know why Austin Opara left the committee.

He said, “We have three other committees and the outcome of the Ayu committee will not be in isolation of other committees like the Tom Ikimi Disciplinary Committee and the Senator Adolphus Wabara committee. It is true that the committee has submitted its report but the BoT will meet on Thursday next week to discuss and make a decision on the recommendations.

“I don’t know why he left. It was when the report of the committee was submitted that I noticed that he did not sign and his column for signature was not signed.

‘‘I am not a member of the committee. Since the inauguration of the committee, I have not spoken to them, I have not visited or interfered with their work or given any input in the course of their work.

“He did not write or tell me why he left or did not sign after the submission of their work. As far as I’m concerned, I will leave that for discussion next Thursday when the BoT will meet.”

It was also learnt that the mass defection is said to have further been fuelled by the outcome of the party’s governorship primaries in both Bayelsa and Kogi states.

The outcome of the primaries had been rejected by some aspirants, who accused the party of being biased.

For example, a former Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Timi Alaibe, is believed to be planning to ditch the PDP following the outcome of the Bayelsa State governorship primary.

Senator Douye Diri, an ally of the outgoing governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, was declared the winner of the primary.

Diri, who represents Bayelsa Central at the National Assembly, defeated 19 other aspirants to emerge as the PDP candidate for the November 16 governorship election in the state.

He polled a total of 561 votes to win the governorship ticket while Alaibe came second with 365 votes. Both Diri and Alaibe are from the same Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.

Alaibe had complained about the number of delegates accredited for the primary, saying the newly-elected local government chairmen in the state were not expected to be allowed to vote.

He based his complaint on the non-compliance with the party’s constitution which gives a specific number of months occupiers of such offices are to spend before they could qualify as delegates.

‘‘But in total disregard for norms and laid down procedure, the party neglected that and allowed the impunity to reign. We will know how far that can take them,’’ a source close to the aspirant told one of our correspondents.

It was learnt that Alaibe was under pressure to dump the PDP and pick the ticket of another political party.

PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus

A loyalist of Alaibe, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he and others were waiting for the former presidential aide to take a decision on what to do.

‘‘We are waiting for him to return. Though his name is not yet with the Independent National Electoral Commission, there is a window for substitution of names,’’ the source added.

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