This is of course not a palatable time for the major Nigerian opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party as a total number of twelve former governors and fourteen ministers who served under the ousted former Nigerian leader, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Ebele has formed own faction of the PDP, which they christened Concerned PDP Stakeholders Steering Committee, Punch Newspaper says.
The breakaway faction whom already constituted a 57-man committee in Abuja yesterday, according to Punch Newspaper, is expected to take over the running of the party from May 21, when the tenure of the current members of the National Working Committee of the party comes to end.
Few days ago, News Punch reported a purported sacking of Ali Modu Sheriff-led national working committee by the new group, championed by former foreign affair minister, Prof Jerry Gana. Gana group described Sheriff-led NWC as hoodlums, gangsters
On the contrary, already, the NWC members led by the party’s National Chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, are planning for the national convention scheduled to take place in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
The party is expected to elect new national officers at the convention.
The former governors, who have formed the breakaway group are Lucky Igbinedion (Edo), Bonnie Haruna (Adamawa), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Donald Duke (Cross River), Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), Mahmood Shinkafi (Zamfara), Abdulkaldir Kure (Niger), Mohammed Makarfi (Kaduna), Achike Udenwa (Imo), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) Okwesilieze Nwodo (Anambra) and Gbenga Daniel (Ogun).
They have been joined by 14 former ministers who served under the PDP-led Federal Government when the party formed the government at the centre.
The former ministers are Prof. Tunde Adeniran (Education), Inna Ciroma (Women Affairs), Adamu Maina Waziri (Police Affairs), Prof.Jerry Gana (Information), Dr. Abubakar Suleiman (National Planning), Tanimu Turaki (Special Duties), Ishola Sarafa (Solid Minirals), Zainab Maina (Women Affairs), Joseph Anenin (Women Affairs), Ojo Maduekwe (Transportation), Prof. ABC Nwosu (Health), Dubem Onyia (Foreign Affairs), Bala Mohammed (FCT) and John Odey (Environment).
However, it was gathered that the list was still being complied and that more big wigs in the party were planning to identify with the group, which is working to stop Sheriff from emerging as the national chairman of the party on May 21.
Among those who have joined the former governors and former ministers are Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Shehu Gabam, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Rabi Ibrahim, Mairo Habib, Amb. Wilberforce Juta, Ibrahim Bunu, Sen. Joseph Akaagerger, Sen. Zigo Azeez, Sen. Ben Obi, Mrs. Remi Adiukwu and Sen. Ben Obi.
Also on the list are Dr. Bolere Ketebu, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa, Shittu Mohammed Kabiru, John Dara, Sen. Folashade Grace Bent, Awwal Tukur, Dr. Doyin Okupe, Dr. Patrick Okomiso, Sen. Anietie Okon, Alh. Aminu Yakudima and Mr. Nichola Msheliza.
Okupe, a former presidential spokesperson, told our correspondent on Saturday in Abuja, that the group would elect its officers next week.
He also said that the time and period of its inauguration would be determined during the week.
“The group would meet and elect its officers next week. We are serious about recovering the party from the grip of the few,” he added.
However, Sheriff had said that members of the group were “free to leave,” alleging that they never contributed to the success of the party in the first place.
He accused them of contributing to the deluge of problems facing the party now, adding that if they had worked assiduously with others in the past, perhaps, the party would not have lost power in 2015.
Sheriff, who spoke through his media aide, Inuwa Bwala, said, “Certain faceless groups have come up with different gimmicks trying to divert attention from the effects of what they did in the past leading to the squandering of the fortunes of the party, or to distract the attention of the chairman from pursuing very lofty and laudable programmes for the repositioning of the PDP or even just to cause mischief.
“Unfortunately, among such groups are self-styled elders and stakeholders led by Prof. Gana.
“I have seen him sweating on television, playing with language but at the end of the day saying nothing.
“I want to specifically say we kept sealed lips about some of the activities of this man believing that we could still find a rendezvous at which we could work together for the progress of the PDP.
“I must say, and there are witnesses, that this is one character that attempts to play role in every government since the time of the military.”
Bwala added that given his recent action, “It was glaring that Gana would not add value to the repositioning of the PDP.”.
Excerpts from Punch Newspaper