Crisis Rocks Opposition PDP Over National Assembly Positions

Crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party over the choice of who should occupy some positions in the National Assembly among its senators.

One of the senators, who spoke with journalists on condition of anonymity in Abuja on Thursday, said powerful forces in the party were planning to instal their cronies as principal officers of the party in the National Assembly.

The party, through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, had on Wednesday, announced the zoning of the offices to different zones.

Metuh said that in the Senate, the party has zoned the office of the Minority Leader to South-South, the position of the Minority Whip has been moved to North-Central, while the North-East and South-west will provide the Deputy Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Whip, respectively.

In the House of Representatives, Metuh said the PDP caucus in the chamber had already zoned the position of the Minority Leader to the South-South without informing the party.

He said the party had accepted the decision.

Metuh listed other offices as zoned by the party to include Minority Whip, which has been taken to the North-West, Deputy Minority Leader to come from the South-East while the North-East will fill the position of the Deputy Minority Whip.

Th senator said the zoning had pitched some influential leaders of the party, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, against the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, as well as the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike.

The family of the former President was said to be rooting for Sen. George Sekibo as Minority Leader while both Ekweremadu and Wike are against such choice.

The immediate-past Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, who is now senator, Chief Godswill Akpabio, is also said to have shown interest in the same position.

Akpabio’s ambition is against the Senate Rules on ranking.

The opposition party is expected to bring its decision on the zoning to the Senate on July 21, when the upper chamber resumes plenary.

A senator from the South-South zone, who spoke with journalists said that the crisis was “capable of weakening the PDP ahead of its role as a viable opposition party in the years ahead.”

He said, “We are seeing the All Progressives Congress crisis now, ours is also in the making because before July 21, if we too don’t sort ourselves out, we can at best say that what is capable of weakening the PDP ahead of its role as a viable opposition party in the years ahead may have been planted.

“We all thought the issue of Senate Minority Leader has been laid to rest until the DSP(Deputy Senate President) called us for a meeting in his house where he sort peoples’ opinion on the propriety or otherwise of selecting Sen. John Eno for the position.

“I think it was from there the former Akwa-Ibom governor got the feeling that if the matter has to be revisited, then he would take a shot at it, but he doesn’t know that his ambition is against the rules of the senate as regards the selection of its Principal Officers.

“Before then, we were all facing the challenge of the suggestion by the former president and his wife that we should consider Sekibo who is from Rivers state but the duo of Ekweremadu and Wike kicked against it.

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