How the PDP Governors’ Plot to Hijack the Presidential Convention Committee Was Foiled


Chuks Okocha in Abuja

More revelations have emerged on how the plot by the governors elected on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform to hijack the Presidential Convention Committee was foiled during the party’s last National Executive Committee (NEC), learned THISDAY.

THISDAY understood that the intrigues of other party stakeholders foiled the party governors’ plot to appoint one of their own to chair the presidential convention committee.
The intrigue, we learned, eventually saw the emergence of former Senate Speaker Senator David Mark as Chairman of the Presidential Convention Committee.

A source within the PDP’s NEC, who confided in THISDAY, revealed that the governors adopted the same strategy they used during the National Convention on October 30 where all the main committees of the convention were headed. by governors, thus giving the signal that the party has been taken over by the governors.

However, the test of the ability of the National Working Committee (NWC) to assert its independence came when the Presidential Convention Committee was formed.
In 2018, the Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa was the Chairman of the Presidential Convention Committee held in Port Harcourt.

The investigation, however, revealed that to ensure that sitting governors do not hijack the presidential convention on May 28-29, 2022, other stakeholders, including former governors, have reformulated their strategy to defeat and mat to the gradual takeover of the party by the governors.

THISDAY understood that the Governors had planned to install either the Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde or his counterpart from Enugu State, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as Chairman of the Committee of the agreement.
But stakeholders consisting of the national caucus, the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the forum of former governors as well as former members of the National Assembly opposed it.

“The stakeholder position is that governors are among the leading candidates for president and that other governors are aligned with the aspirations of their colleagues. They argued that making one of the governors the head of the presidential convention would not ensure a fair and transparent convention,” the source explained.
According to the source, the stakeholders met at different levels and agreed that the influence of governors should be curtailed, at least to ensure fair play to other presidential aspirants who are not governors at the presidential convention.

“Although we know some governors are not happy with it, it is the only and best way forward,” the NEC member told THISDAY.
“It is for this reason that Senator David Mark was chosen. He was backed as head of the presidential convention committee by a former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema, and Enugu state governor, Ugwuanyi.

The source said the composition of the convention committee reflected the three main components of party stakeholders.

“Mark represents the Legislative arm as a former Speaker of the Senate, while Shema represents former Governors and partly the Executive Committee as he was a former National Vice President of the PDP. Enugu State Governor Ugwuanyi represents the PDP Governors Forum,” the source added.

According to the source, “It should be observed by all that due to the presidential aspirations of some governors, other governors are no longer comfortable with each other. Take, for example, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. He is the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and his deputy is the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

“It is expected that in the absence of the president, the deputy will act, but Tambuwal’s deputy is the campaign manager for Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and many governors are not uncomfortable with a meeting that Ikpeazu will lead.

“It is for this reason that Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has become the focal point for PDP Governors’ meetings and meetings of other party stakeholders.
“In the second round of the last NEC meeting, all important party meetings were held at Benue State Government Lodge,” the source said.

Highlighting the division among the PDP governors, the NEC member said, “We are not politically blind. We know where each of our governors belongs. We know that Adamawa State Governor Ahmad Fintiri is a supporter of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar while Oyo and Abia State Governors are with Wike. We know the body language of the Governors of Delta State and Taraba State. So, we are careful about our actions to avoid any suspicious blame,” he explained.

The PDP governors vying for the party’s presidential ticket are Bala Mohammed from Bauchi, Tambuwal from Sokoto, Wike from Rivers and Udom Emmanuel from Akwa Ibom.
Surveys have shown that governors are currently torn between Tambuwal and Wike, hoping that Mohammed will have a chance to run for a second term.

The source is aware of the ongoing haggling ahead of the party primary and said four governors will line up behind Tambuwal while Wike and Emmanuel, who are from the same area, also have high chances among governors.


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