SPLINTER GROUP THROWS PDP INTO DISARRAY
By Musikilu Mojeed
April 21, 2010 03:23AM
PDP Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor during his presentation as the new party chairman. Photo:NEXT
The Peoples Democratic Party descended into chaos last night when a powerful splinter group squared up with the national leadership of the party. Already, the PDP leadership has threatened to discipline a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, and other members of the group for alleged anti-party activities.
In what may grow into a full-blown crisis in the days ahead, reminiscent of the 2006 factionalisation of the party, the splinter group, which calls itself PDP Reform Forum, gave indications that it will meet in Abuja tomorrow to take crucial decisions about the ruling party.
'You are cordially and specially invited to a crucial meeting of the PDP Reform stakeholders. At this meeting, very historical and momentous decisions affecting our great party shall be taken,' the faction said in a press invitation signed by Chairman of DAAR Communications, Aleogho Dokpesi, and distributed by one Michael Davies last night.
The planned gathering, which will hold at the Conference Hall of the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, is a follow-up to the series of secret and nocturnal meetings by the reform forum, which boasts influential party chiefs as well as members.
It is not clear what resolutions will be reached at the meeting but the group had been calling for a comprehensive reform of the PDP and the removal of Vincent Ogbulafor as chairman. Concerned by the surreptitious activities of the forum and afraid that the group might strike at the National Executive Committee meeting, Mr. Ogbulafor, seen by some party members as ineffective and corrupt, put off a NEC meeting scheduled for March and then ran to state governors for help.
On Sunday night, the PDP governors met in Abuja and expressed support for the party chairman. But that appeared to have energized the reform group to rev up its opposition to Mr. Ogbulafor.
The PDP leadership which got wind of the planned meeting of the group earlier yesterday, promptly issued a statement inviting members of the group to face a disciplinary panel at the party's headquarters at noon on Thursday.
'The National Working Committee is in possession of facts linking some respectable members of our party with a scheme to subject our great party to disrepute, contempt and hatred,' the PDP spokesperson, Rufai Alkali said. 'The said members and others, meeting under the umbrella of PDP Reform Group, are reported to be engaging or to have engaged in conduct likely to cause disaffection among members of the party or likely to disrupt the peaceful, lawful and efficient conduct of the business of the party, or otherwise engage in anti-party activities or precipitate faction and belong to a group under the guise of the party, by whatever name called, not being one provided for in the constitution of the party,' he said.
'Mr. Alkali added that, in consonance with his party's 'commitment to the principles of justice and fair hearing', Mr. Nnamani and his colleagues should 'appear before the party to clear themselves of allegations linking them to these plots.'