Jonathan’s Loyalists Divided Over Management of the Crisis in PDP
The crises in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the resulting spill over into the National Assembly have led to a sharp division among loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan over how to contain the political insurrection.
It was learnt that while some elements led by two powerful female ministers and some presidential aides have erected a parallel structure outside the National Assembly leadership for engaging the legislators, some others also in the presidency are pulling back from that direction warning that it could boomerang to hurt the presidency.
The decision to identify alternative legislators outside the recognised leadership, it was learnt, is already breeding tension between the presidency and the leadership of the two houses. The situation is said to be especially grave in the House of Representatives where the deputy speaker, Chief Emeka Ihedioha is said to have been left sour with the determination of the presidential aides to sidestep the House leadership in resolving the problems caused by the emergence of the nPDP in the House.
Ihedioha had in the past bent backwards to accommodate the interests of the presidency and the PDP, but is now according to sources “seriously unhappy” after the power bloc in the presidency picked Rep. Bethel Amadi, also from ImoState as the contact man of the presidency.
Reflective of the development was the power show on Wednesday and Thursday on the floor of the House of Representatives when members supportive of the Kawu Baraje faction of the PDP teamed up with opposition legislators to frustrate the presentation of all bills forwarded to the legislature by the president or supported by members of the PDP loyal to the president. It took the shrewd intervention of Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to rescue a bill to amend the bill establishing the National Communications Commission from premature death by stepping it down instead of allowing it go for consideration and assured death.
Besides the situation in the House of Representatives, the decision of the powerful caucus in the presidential villa to also prop up Gen. Lawrence Onoja as a potential domestic rival to the president of the Senate, Senator David Mark in Benue State, is already leading to concerns that the Senate leadership could decide like that of the House to be radicalised.
The decision of the Senate President to receive Baraje earlier this week was given as an indication of the growing unease between the Senate leadership and the presidential villa.
The two power blocs in the presidency it was learnt were divided over how to approach the crisis. While one group powered by the two influential female ministers was said to have inclined itself towards creating an alternative channels among floor members to boost support for the presidency, the other group still within the presidency is said to be inclined towards working within the existing leadership structure in the two houses.
In proposing the use of the leadership, the later group it was learnt, is arguing that the presiding officers Mark and Ike Ekweremadu in the Senate; Aminu Tambuwal and Ihedioha in the House of Representatives, were still popular and were in better position to manage their members. That they said, is better than creating alternative power blocs to push support for the presidency.
“They don’t know how senators love and also fear Mark,” one concerned PDP member told said.
Before his ascent as Senate president, Senator Mark led one of the most cohesive groups in the Senate but since his emergence as Senate president, political caucus groups outside the recognised geopolitical and party platforms have disappeared.
However, the hawkish group in the presidency, it was learnt is arguing against entrusting the fate of the president in the hands of Mark and Tambuwal, both of whom some presidential minders have in the past accused of harbouring presidential ambitions.
The lack of trust in Tambuwal is further driven by the strong relationship between the speaker and Governor Aliyu Wamakko of SokotoState, one of the seven rebel governors that are backing the nPDP.
The concerns about Tambuwal nonetheless, many loyal members in the House and in the presidency, it was learnt were arguing that sustaining the relationship with the speaker and his deputy was better than causing confusion through the mobilisation of other focus persons who at best cannot help the president push through his legislative agenda.
Some members and stakeholders were also concerned that the choice of Amadi as the leader of the group to bolster support for the president was bad politics.
Amadi is leader of the Pan African parliament, a job that makes him to be outside of the House and the country most times.
Besides his continental duties, is the rival political rivalry between Ihedioha and Amadi both of whom are three term members and are believed to have gubernatorial ambitions in their native Imo State.
“You can understand that Ihedioha is feeling very bad that after all he has staked for the presidency that they could undermine his authority in the House, and even worse, by picking his rival to undermine him,” a source privy to the development said.
Besides the bad politics, there is also unease that money has become the central issue in mobilising legislators creating ill-feeling among concerned members of the public; that money that otherwise could have been used to push governance is being used to compromise legislators
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