‘Why PDP Workers Apologised To Party’s Leadership’
FOLLOWING the lingering crisis between the workers at Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Secretariat, Abuja and the party’s national leadership over the latter’s planned reduction of workers and their salaries by 50 percent, one of the workers yesterday disclosed to The Guardian why the workers apologised to the party leadership at last.
The worker who pleaded anonymity, said: “We took a page of advertorial to apologise after the party leadership insisted that it is the only way we can be paid our terminal benefits upon dismissal. Before the published apology in one of the national dailies, we had written it more than three times, but the party leadership rejected it, insisting that the contents were not apologetic enough.
“Some of us were against it, and at a point it caused heated debate among us. At the end, majority of us agreed to write it and play along to get what we want after which the real battle will commence”.
In his response, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh in a statement issued by his aide, Mr. Richard Ihediwa dismissed the workers’ allegations against the leadership.
Speaking to The Guardian on the crisis, one-time national secretary and national chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo said that dismantling the party secretariat structure in the middle of the road should not be the priority of the party leadership now.
He said: “It is the secretariat workers that guides the party leadership. When we formed the party, we laid down a solid structure in terms of workers’ recruitment. We have establishment manual that guides hiring and firing of workers.
“We created a political civil service structure. Because there are no pension and gratuity for workers, we have terminal benefits for them to ensure that they can start from somewhere on leaving the secretariat.
“Workers were recruited from the six geo-political zones to ensure balance and equity. We sent them to Administrative Staff College for training. Some of them have been there in the last 16 years and they have done well for the party. That was the bedrock of which we built the party from the inception”.
On the planned reduction of workers by the party leadership, Nwodo said it is not necessary, considering that the party had always made almost N12 billion in every election year through the sale of party nomination forms.
“If the e-registration of members I introduced during my brief stay was allowed to survive, the party would have been getting N11 million from it every year. That will be enough to take care of workers’ salaries and other things. The party leadership should concentrate on repositioning it to play the leading opposition role. The leadership should be mindful that the only thing left for the party after losing the presidency is the secretariat,” Nwodo said.
Also one of the members of NWC of the party told The Guardian that the state governors and members of National Assembly have remained mute since the crisis erupted because of their pre and post election cases pending at various courts and tribunals.
“The governors and National Assembly members are at crossroads on the crisis now because the party leadership is in possession of documents to work against them at the courts and tribunals if they move against them. So our governors cannot do much now until they are sure all their pre and pro election cases are dispened.”
On his part, National Vice Chairman, South-South of the party, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh said that because the party did not win the presidency during the last election, it is natural for it to downsize. “We are making arrangements to resolve the crisis and the rights of the workers will be protected. The workers are intelligent people. They are aware that we didn’t win election and we cannot continue to foot their bills”.
To Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a BoT member of the party: “Let everybody continue to flex muscles. The party elders are making moves to deal with the situation in the best interest of the party.
Former national secretary and national chairman of the party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor told The Guardian that the members of NWC should resign to allow for the reconstitution of the party leadership.