Crisis Brews In PDP Over Election Of Principal Officers In The National Assembly
Crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party over who should occupy some positions in the National Assembly among its senators.
One of the senators, who spoke with journalists on condition of anonymity in Abuja on Thursday, said powerful forces in the party were planning to install their cronies as principal officers of the party in the National Assembly.
It will be recalled that the party, through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, had on Wednesday announced the zoning of the offices to different zones.
Metuh said that in the Senate, the party zoned the office of the Minority Leader to the South-South and the position of the Minority Whip was moved to the North-Central. However, the North-East and South-West, he said, will provide the Deputy Minority Leader and the Deputy Minority Whip, respectively.
In the House of Representatives, Metuh said the PDP caucus in the chamber had already zoned the placement of the Minority Leader to the South-South without informing the party.
He said the party had accepted the decision.
Metuh listed other offices, as zoned by the party, to include the Minority Whip to the North-West and the Deputy Minority Leader to come from the South-East while the North-East will fill the position of the Deputy Minority Whip.
The senator said that the zoning had pitched some influential leaders of the party, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, against the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as well as the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike.
The family of the former President was said to be rooting for Senator George Sekibo as the Minority Leader while both Ekweremadu and Wike were against such a choice.
The immediate-past Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, who is now a senator, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was also said to have shown interest in the same position.
Akpabio’s ambition, however, is against the Senate Rules on ranking.
The opposition party is expected to bring its decision on the zoning to the Senate on July 21, when the upper chamber resumes plenary.
A senator from the South-South zone, who spoke with journalists, said that the crisis was “capable of weakening the PDP ahead of its role as a viable opposition party in the years ahead.”
He said, “We are seeing the All Progressives Congress crisis now. Ours is also in the making, because before July 21, if we too don’t sort ourselves out, we can at best say that what is capable of weakening the PDP ahead of its role as a viable opposition party in the years ahead may have been planted.
“We all thought the issue of Senate Minority Leader has been laid to rest until the Deputy Senate President called us for a meeting in his house, where he sort people’s opinions on the propriety or otherwise of selecting Sen. John Eno for the position.