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PDP faces internal strife over chairmanship choice ahead of NEC meeting

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Tensions are running high within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the party prepares for its long-awaited National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The NEC, considered the second-highest decision-making body after the National Convention, is expected to address critical issues affecting the party’s future direction.

The upcoming NEC meeting, the first in 19 months, is poised to make significant decisions, including the appointment of a substantive national chairman to replace former Senate president, Iyorchia Ayu.

Ahead of the crucial gathering, factions aligned with former vice president Atiku Abubakar and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, have reignited their power struggle for control of the PDP ahead of the 2023 general elections.

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The rift between Atiku and Wike emerged before the 2023 elections due to disagreements over the nomination of the PDP vice presidential candidate. The fallout intensified when Ayu, the former national chairman, resisted pressure from the G-5, led by Wike, to vacate his position.

While Atiku’s supporters advocate for the immediate appointment of a new national chairman to replace Umar Damagum, who has been serving in an acting capacity since Ayu’s ouster, Wike’s camp, backed by some governors and members of the National Working Committee (NWC), pushes for Damagum’s confirmation.

Adding to the complexity, stakeholders from the North Central, Ayu’s region, insist on retaining the position, citing precedence and the need for continuity. Several aspirants from the North Central, including Gabriel Suswam, Emmanuel Agbo, and David Ombugadu, have expressed interest in the role.

Despite calls for unity, internal divisions have surfaced within the PDP caucus, particularly in the House of Representatives. While some lawmakers demand Damagum’s resignation, others, including Minority Leader Kingsley Chinda, align with Wike’s camp, endorsing Damagum’s continued leadership.

In a bid to address the brewing crisis, the Senate caucus has opposed calls for Damagum’s resignation, emphasizing the need for unity ahead of the NEC meeting. Minority Leader Abba Moro urged members to approach the meeting with caution, stressing the importance of upholding the party’s constitution and preserving its unity.

As the PDP braces for its NEC meeting, internal rifts threaten to overshadow discussions on critical party matters, highlighting the challenges of maintaining cohesion within Nigeria’s largest opposition party.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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