By Lateef Ibrahim Abuja
A major crisis is brewing between the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the party’s intending aspirants across the states.
The crisis is as a result of the alleged offer of automatic tickets to some serving governors and members of the two chambers of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) for the 2019 elections.
The crisis came to limelight yesterday when some protesters, stormed the national secretariat of the party in Abuja to make a passionate case for a level playing field for all aspirants through free, fair and transparent primary elections across the states.
One of the protesting groups from Kogi State said offering automatic tickets to the lawmakers was in clear violation of the Electoral Act, the PDP constitution and the party’s guidelines.
In an address read by Dr. Halimat Hamzat on behalf of the group, the aspirants insisted that they must be given equal opportunity to be voted for, either through delegates election or direct primaries.
Dr. Hamzat said the party’s offer of automatic tickets to the lawmakers was uncovered last week when an aspirant for the House of Representatives visited the Abuja home of one of the party’s leaders, where he met a serving PDP senator.
According to Hamzat, the senator was said to have told the aspirant that tickets for all the National Assembly positions had already been allocated to serving members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
The group expressed reservations about the possibility of the party leadership conducting free, fair and transparent primaries into the available senatorial and House of Representatives seats.
The aggrieved aspirants reminded the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus of his often repeated pledge to do away with impunity and imposition of candidates for elections.
The aspirants cautioned against the move, urging the party against manipulation of the nomination process to avoid what they described as a looming fragmentation of the PDP across the states.
According to them, “We the aspirants for legislative seats in the National Assembly on the platform of the PDP shall collectively and wholeheartedly work for the interest of the party and any candidate duly nominated through transparent primary election.
“But should the party proceed with its pre-determined or manipulated primary elections to nominate any candidate, an implosion that would be inimical to the interest of the party might occur,” the aspirants vowed.
Meanwhile, in what seems like a drama, Governor Samuel Ortom has secured an automatic ticket in his new party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
This was evident in a recent decision of the party to hand over the structure of the PDP to ex-governor Ortom who was consequently charged to turnaround the fortunes of the party and ensure its victory in 019.
The Governor had only on Friday last week purchased the party’s nomination and interest form to contest for another term in office.
It should be noted that Governor Ortom on return to PDP from the All Progressive Party, APC has nursed desire to take over the stricture of the party to actualize his second term ambition.
This was evident when the national chairman of the party Uche Secondus visited the governor at Government House recently and he requested the fattest cow as a prodigal son from him.
Similarly, a meeting held at the National Secretariat of the PDP to resolve the 60-40 impasse ended in a deadlock just as stakeholders of party were asked to settle the matter locally.
Hence, this necessitated a two- day meeting attended by former Senate Presidents Sen. David Mark and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, former governor Gabriel Suswam, Sen. Barnabas Gemade and the State party chairman John Ngede held at the Presidential lodge of the Government.
A source told our reporter that for the first time Sen. David Mark slept at the Government House as the meeting ended at about 2 am.
At the end of second day, the stakeholders resolved to make the governor leader of the party.
Disclosing this, Ngbede said all liabilities of the party have been handed over to the governor, expressing confidence that he can take care of the party.
Ngbede further said the party has to make sacrifices and integrate new members and strategized for 2019 election.
Confirming the development, erstwhile senate president said they agreed that he Ortom should restructure the party as well as set up an integration committee.
He appealed to party members to respect zoning in selection of delegates, maintaining that he overall interest of the party is paramount so it can win election at all levels in the country in 2019.
In his response, Governor Samuel Ortom promised to be servant leader and ensure that the party win election in all the positions.
“We will handle our affairs through dialogue to arrive at a consensus. The target is for us to look ahead . we should sacrifice our personal interest for overall interest of the party,” he promised.
Under the new arrangement as reeled out by former Governor Gabriel Suswam, the party Secretary, Organizing Secretary, Financial Secretary, Youth Leader, Treasurer, Deputy Legal Officer and one Ex-Officio were given to the Governor while all those who have been removed from their positions would be offered automatic appointment in the new administration.