PDP crisis gets messier … as faction sues Tukur, Chikwe, others • Jonathan, govs continue meeting today • Party elders to parley on Thursday

PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur

PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur

In spite of the troubleshooting efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the  faction of the Peoples Democratic Party led by  Alhaji Abubakar Baraje  has  said it will  not  abandon its mission to salvage the PDP.

To prove its seriousness, the faction known as the New PDP, has gone to  a Lagos High Court in Ikeja,  seeking to stop  officials of  the National Working Committee of the  Bamanga Tukur-led faction  from parading themselves as members  of  the National Executive Committee of the party.

Besides the suit which was  heard on Monday  by Justice Ganiyu  Safari, and adjourned till Monday, September 9, the New PDP will on Tuesday (today) open a parallel secretariat at the Maitama District of  Abuja.

In the suit, the plaintiffs – Baraje, Dr. Sam   Jaja, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the PDP –   asked the court to restrain Tukur, Prince Uche Secondus, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, Olisah Metuh and others from parading themselves as PDP NEC members.

 The plaintiffs, according to  a  statement by Oyinlola, who is the national secretary  of the faction, also sought a motion exparte, asking for the  leave  of the court to serve the defendants outside their  jurisdiction.

They said in the statement which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday, that the  court  granted them  leave to serve the defendants in their various locations.

 On the claim by the faction that the NWC officials    parade themselves   as NEC members,  the court said  there was no urgency as to the fact of who should hold what office. It then  directed that the status quo  be maintained  till  September 9 when their  arguments on  the motion on notice would be heard.

“What this means is that in the meantime,  both executive committees are to remain until the court resolves the matter,” the statement explained.

Before the statement was made public, the Baraje faction which has  a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa);  Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto);  Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara);  Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers);  and Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano) as some of its key leaders, had said that it  was  encouraged by the overwhelming support it had  been receiving  across the country.

 Because of this, the group said  in another statement by Oyinlola, that it would not abandon its mission of rescuing the party.

The statement reads in part, “Alhaji Baraje and other leaders of the party appreciate the overwhelming outpouring of support and encouragement from genuine members and leaders of the party across the country. We assure them that we will not disappoint them in the mission to make the PDP work again in the interest of Nigeria and its people.

“We also appreciate the efforts of leaders of the party, particularly President  Jonathan and former President Obasanjo who, we note, have scheduled a meeting of the party elders for this week.

 “We respect the elders and will be guided by them.”

Baraje had earlier on Monday  told an online news agency on the telephone that the parallel  secretariat of the New PDP  was    equipped with “the needed paraphernalia of office” ahead of its opening on Tuesday.

“Our plan is   to address the media and announce the names of other members of our National Working Committee at our own secretariat,”  he  added, declining to give the exact address of the secretariat in Abuja.

If the faction  opens  the secretariat, it would be the second time in PDP’s history that  it  would split into two groups, each operating from separate secretariats.

  A group led by   Lar, and a former Deputy National Chairman, Shuaib Oyedokun,  had on June  9, 2006   formed  a parallel faction after accusing the  then Ahmadu Ali-led leadership of sidelining many founding members.

The group then proceeded to open a new secretariat  in the Jabi District of Abuja. The Obasanjo administration   promptly deployed security agents to  seal the  secretariat.

A  meeting  on Sunday night between Jonathan and the PDP governors, including Aliyu, and Ahmed over the factionalisation of the party had  ended in a deadlock.

A top source in Abuja, who disclosed this, said   the meeting, which would  continue  at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday  (today), might also end in a deadlock.

“This is  why the  elders or  leaders   would  meet  in Abuja on Thursday to chart a new course and see if they could achieve anything new,” he  stated.

The PUNCH learnt that the elders’  meeting which is being convened by Obasanjo would have among others, a former  Vice-President, Alex Ekwueme, a former Chairman of the party, Chief Solomon Lar, and  former military President Ibrahim Babangida in attendance.

Obasanjo had  on Sunday implored the two  factions to “maintain the status quo” while efforts were being made  by the elders to broker a truce.

The  Tukur-led faction  however said on Monday that  it would make   its position on the action of the G-7 and Abubakar  known at the end of its consultations.

Its  National Publicity Secretary , Chief  Metuh, said   after the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted NWC in Abuja  that,  “Consultations are  going on at the highest level of this party. The President, national chairman of our party,  the chairman BoT and the   PDP governors are meeting on this and their discussions so far have been very encouraging.”

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