PDP Chairmanship: G60 lawmakers allege plan to move election to August, retain Damagun

Iyorchia-Ayu and Damagun. Photo:leadership.ng
Composite image of Iyorchia-Ayu (left) and Damagun. Photo:leadership.ng

The crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has again taken a new turn as lawmakers elected on the platform of the party in the National Assembly, have raised the alarm over an alleged plot to shift the election of a new national chairman at Thursday’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to August.
They claimed the plan was to allow the acting national chairman, Umar Damagun, retain his position and elect PDP members loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as party executives in state chapters.

The spokesperson of the group that has come to be known as the G60, Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, while speaking to journalists on Thursday morning, noted that with the withdrawal of pending court cases by the suspended national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, all impediments to the emergence of new PDP national chairman at Thursday’s NEC meeting had been removed.

According to him, Ayu’s case was used as an excuse for Damagun to elongate his stay in office but to their shock Ayu made a huge sacrifice by withdrawing his case against the party from the Appeal Court, thereby paving way for the emergence of another North Central person as PDP national chairman.

He, however, said that they received credible report of the pre and post caucus meeting outcomes with an alleged plan to give Damagun a soft landing up to August 2024, and by so doing elect those he described as APC members into the PDP executives in over 19 states of the federation.

Ugochinyere also alleged that there are plans to use Damagun to secure victory for the APC in 2027 by, in his words, “filling up those expiring excos like the failed attempt in Rivers with APC members whose names have been supplied by a serving minister.”

According to Ugochinyere, this means that by the time a North-Central person emerges as the new national chairman of the PDP, all state congresses would have been held for a fresh four-year tenure in over 19 states with APC officials planted into the heart of the party, thereby ruining the party’s chances in future elections and killing any survival attempt.
Noting that this purported plan is against Article 47 (6) of the PDP constitution, Ugochinyere warned that if it sails through, unimaginable crisis will hit the party and they will declare Damagun persona non grata on April 18.

The G60 lawmakers frowned and condemned the idea of allowing a serving minister in an APC government, Nyesom Wike, into the highly confidential national caucus meeting of the party.

This they said was political abomination and clear evidence that the Damagun leadership has officially merged PDP with APC.

Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere speaks at a press conference organised by the G60..

The lawmakers, in a statement, said: “We say no to the last-minute plan to shift today’s expected Umar Damagun stepdown as acting chairman of PDP to August before North-Central can take the chairmanship of the party which is a last-minute plan by the APC loyalists backing him to give them room to use the few months extension to use Damagun to inflict irreversible damage to PDP by filling the over 19 states with expiring state Executives with pro APC members as officials. The extension is a plan to elect APC members as executives of state chapters thereby planting those who will massively decamp to APC to create the impression of crisis in the party. The NEC must arise and state it clearly and give our party the leadership it deserves.

“Former Chairman Ayu’s case was used as an excuse for Damagun to attempt to elongate his illegal stay but to our shock, Ayu made huge sacrifice by withdrawing of his case thereby paving way for emergence of North-Central person today but the APC agents controlling Damagun after their secret meeting came up with a new agenda which is being sold to party members to allow Damagun handover by August. To many, this will be seen as a victory as the Executive will be expiring before the August handover.
“Article 47 (6) of PDP constitution states that once a vacancy occurs in any office of the party especially National Chairman Office, the NEC shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated to serve out the tenure of the officer. Article 47(1) says that the tenure of office of the chairmanship zoned to North-Central is 4 years, so any continued hold of the office continues to exclude the North-Central from completing its 4-year zoned tenure as backed up by section 47(6) which says another person from North-Central must be appointed to continue that tenure. So, Damagun’s continued stay in office is unknown to the party’s constitution.

“Article 35(3)(d) – The powers of the deputy chairman to act is limited by this section as he is supposed to be in office to give effect to article 47(6) which requires him to act and call for NEC to appoint an acting Chairman. The PDP will enter into unimaginable crisis if these happens and we will declare Damagun persona non grata from today if this illegality happens and we will not recognise such an usurper as acting chairman and we will be proceeding to the Federal High Court within 24hrs to launch legal action to stop these madness once and for all.

“Such abomination should not be allowed at the NEC meeting and NEC members should have the balls to walk out any serving APC official in the party to avoid continued sabotage and compromise. Let NEC members be men for once. We call on NEC members especially governors to be bold for once and stand up to show our loyal members in the rural areas strength that we are ready to get up and be firm and set the roadmap for revival. No sitting on the fence, those Governors and NEC members sitting on the fence over fear or lack of courage should stand up and defend the party our founding fathers handed over to us to avoid the inevitable destruction awaiting us if we don’t act.

“We call and restate our position that Damagun must step down and revert to his deputy chairmanship position and a North-Central person should be elected at Chairman, disciplinary action committee must be set up to discipline members and loyalists of the APC that have made attempt to hijack and kill the party, the reform and rebranding of the party must start immediately, the caretaker list tampered with must all be excluded from affirmation today especially Cross River, Kano, Rivers, etc which was filled with APC members. So based on the above, we state once more no to the move to shift Damagun’s resignation to August to avoid giving few months chance that will be used to plant seed of destruction and endless litigation once the stepdown date is shifted. Damagun must revert back to his deputy chairmanship position and allow NEC to appoint a North-Central person as acting chairman. God save PDP party from the desperate hands of PDP/APC members.”
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