PDP crisis: Only God gives power, Atiku tells supporters

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has declared that no human can give power, except God Almighty.

Atiku’s declaration came on the heels of the ongoing controversy surrounding the outcome of the 98th National Executive Committee meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party held in Abuja on Thursday.

The 2023 PDP presidential standard-bearer’s position was contained in a WhatsApp group chat with some of his supporters in the country on Friday.

According to the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the party, among its intra-party resolutions made on Thursday, had approved the reconstitution of its Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure its stability.

Among the key decisions made at the NEC meeting, the party also appointed former Akwa-Ibom State governor, Emmanuel Udom, as the head of its Disciplinary Committee, while former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, remains the head of its Reconciliation committee.

But Atiku told his supporters in the Whatsapp group after the NEC meeting that only God gives power.

His reaction follows insinuations by his supporters that he has been betrayed by some elements within the party.

The former vice president, who had contested six different elections to become Nigeria’s president, but failed, said, “There is God. It is God that gives power, not anybody.”

Responding, one of his supporters on the social media group, said, “This is very true, Sir and this same God will answer your heart desires and ours too.

“When the day comes, we shall all be alive to celebrate together as one big family of good faith.

“All our hard work will not go to waste; there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We shall all walk and work together to witness the night. Victory shall be ours. It is well with you, sir.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Taofeek Arapaja, has addressed the growing calls for the suspension of former Rivers State governor and current Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesome Wike, and other members of the defunct G5 governors within the PDP over alleged anti-party activities.

He disclosed this in an interview on Friday in reaction to the resolutions reached at Thursday’s NEC meeting of the party and its North Central Zone leadership meeting held on Wednesday night.

Ahead of the two meetings, some top chieftains of the party, including former PDP governorship candidate in Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, had boasted that every top chieftain of the party accused of anti-party activities would get serious sanctions from the party’s NEC on Thursday.

On Thursday, the PDP NEC, however, failed to comment on the alleged anti-party issues and further retained the party’s former Vice Chairman (North), Umar Damagum, as the party’s acting national chairman till its next NEC meeting.

In an interview with our correspondent on Friday, the PDP National Vice Chairman (South-West) said both Wike and Ortom cannot be suspended by the party’s NEC because it is not the duty of the NEC to do so.

He said, “I think that is not part of the activities of the NEC. We have different committees, like the reconciliation committee and the disciplinary committee. So we have internal mechanisms to deal with things like that. And then, they have never been accused; they have never been charged and they haven’t presented themselves for the disciplinary committee or anything. So, I don’t think that is for NEC to do.

“Whoever is accusing them of committing anti-party crimes should forward their complaints to the disciplinary committee. That is just it. There are lots of mechanisms and processes that need to take place and things like that are not the duty of the NEC.”

Damagum survives ouster plot

In the meantime, it has been gathered that the acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Umar Damagum, survived a plot to oust him because governors elected on the party’s platform salvaged the situation.

Leading up to the PDP 98 National Executive Committee meeting, which was held on Thursday, a crucial topic of debate among party officials over the past two weeks centered on whether Damagum should retain his position or be replaced.

Previously holding the role of PDP National Deputy Chairman (North), Damagum assumed the role of acting National Chairman following the court’s suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, in March of the preceding year.

The court’s ruling came in response to a petition from PDP member Terhide Utaan, prompted by a vote of no confidence passed against Ayu by his ward executives in Igyorov ward, Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.

From Wednesday through the early hours of Thursday, both the PDP’s National Working Committee and National Caucus expressed steadfast backing for Damagum to remain in his acting role.

Although many party members anticipated the NEC to make the ultimate decision, the 98th NEC meeting, attended by 353 accredited members, postponed the selection process for Ayu’s replacement, including Damagum, for the North-Central region, until August 15.

A member of the NEC, who prefers anonymity due to a lack of authorisation to speak, told our correspondent that the governors played a crucial role in resolving the situation.

According to the reliable source, Damagum’s fate was decided during the meeting of the PDP Governors’ Forum, which took place at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.

He said, “The PDP governors played a pivotal role in preserving the day and securing Damagum’s position. During their forum’s meeting, they recognized that allowing the NEC to determine Damagum’s fate amidst the party’s tension could lead to consequences affecting the party’s future.

“They resolved that even if the North-Central region were to nominate Ayu and Damagum’s replacement, it should not occur during the 98th NEC meeting for the sake of peace.

“Instead, they aimed to appease the discontented factions. Additionally, they recommend revisiting the Rivers State PDP Caretaker committee list to accommodate all interests. They appointed former Deputy National Secretary, Emmanuel Agbo, as the Director General of the party’s Governors Forum to pacify North Central and recommended that Damagum continue in his acting capacity until August 15.”

Another NEC member, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, emphasised that the decision wasn’t aimed at appeasing anyone.

He explained that the choice to extend Damagum’s tenure until August 15 was made because it would be imprudent to discuss succession just 48 hours after Ayu’s resignation.

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