‘Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor
THERE are strong indications that all may not be well among the governors of states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A prevailing cold war within the PDP Governors’ Forum is attributed to the inability of the governors to agree on the fate of the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, once his tenure expires in December.
Reliable sources also claimed that the ongoing intra-party crisis rocking the southwest zone of the party is another reason why the governors are allegedly at loggerheads.
Findings made by The Nation indicated that while some governors are appealing to party leaders to consider allowing Secondus to get another term of four years in office, some others have made it clear that they would prefer that someone else takes over the leadership of the opposition party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Reliable party sources claimed that the division created by the second term ambition of the national chairman is festering by the day.
A source at the national secretariat of the PDP said: “Secondus is not hiding his desire to secure a second term come December. And he enjoys the support of some prominent members of the party, especially within the camp of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, whose desire to seek the presidential ticket of the party is also an open secret.
“Some governors of the party, particularly those loyal to Atiku, are also working for the national chairman to retain his seat.
“But a number of PDP governors and chieftains are also determined to see the back of Secondus once his tenure ends in December.”
“Some sources have named Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State as one of those opposing the continued stay in office of the national chairman.
“Also mentioned among those who may not want Secondus to continue in office are Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Ifeanyi Okowa and Ben Ayade of Sokoto, Delta and Cross Rivers states.
“And going by recent events within the party, the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi and Akwa Ibom appear to be working for Secondus to continue in office.
“It is not clear whether the national chairman will get the support of Governor Nyesom Wike of his native Rivers State.
“Wike, you will recall, was Secondus’ main supporter four years ago when he got his current mandate. It appears the duo differ over who should get the 2023 presidential ticket of the party, among other issues.”
The Nation also gathered that the governors’ forum is currently torn apart by the crisis rocking the party in the Southwest.
According to reliable sources, Governor Makinde is angry that some of his colleagues are tacitly supporting moves by ex-governor Ayo Fayose to undermine his leadership of the zone.
He has also allegedly expressed concerns that the national leadership of the party is indulging Fayose and his group in the Southwest.
A source said: “The governors are also not on the same page on how best to resolve the crisis in the Suthwest. While Governor Makinde expected the national leadership and his fellow governors to be unequivocal in their condemnation of Fayose and his supporters over the crisis, some of the governors have been unflinching in their belief that the former Ekiti governor is an asset the party cannot wish away in the zone ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“But some others have openly accused Fayose of acting the scripts of a former presidential candidate of the party who desires to clinch the ticket again in 2023.
“Others have even accused the former governor of plotting to emerge as a vice presidential candidate in 2023.
“Last week in Abuja, a PDP governor publicly warned Governor Makinde against pushing Fayose and his supporters out of the party.”
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It was also gathered that the pro-Fayose group have been able to convince the Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) to refrain from supporting Makinde against Fayose in the raging crisis.
Their argument, The Nation gathered, is that Fayose controls the larger chunk of the party members in the zone as against Makinde; an argument that may not be unconnected with the number of state chairmen in each of the warring factions.
Taking sides with Fayose, four out of the six state chapter chairmen in the zone have constantly accused Makinde of sidelining the party structures in the zone. They include Deji Doherty (Lagos), Clement Faboyede (Ondo), Dr. Sikirulai Ogundele (Ogun) and Elder Sunday Akanfe (Osun).
The Oyo State governor enjoys the support of only two state party chairmen.
Fayose also enjoys the backing of the recognised zonal caretaker committee members-Dayo Akintan, Mustapha Sikiru Banana, Martins Abiloye, Prince Nekan Olagbegi, Mrs. Funmi Ogun, Wahab Owokoniran and Mrs. Fadeyi Ayo Awolowo.
During the week, the crisis rocking the crisis in the zone escalated with the setting up of parallel zonal reconciliation committees by the two factions.
Makinde’s group had earlier set up a committee headed by former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, to reconcile aggrieved members of the PDP. Chief Saka Balogun, Chief (Mrs.) Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Ambassador Omolade Oluwateru and Barr. Olayinka Kukoyi are members.
Dayo Ogungbenro, Acting National Vice-Chairman of the PDP, Southwest, issued a communiqué after the meeting.
The parallel panel instituted by Fayose’s faction is headed by Femi Babalola and has Chief Kolapo Ogunjobi, Ahmed Okandeji Mustapha, a lawyer, Chief Idowu Odeyemi and Chief Tunde Akindehin as members.