The Plateau State Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party in Jos was on Friday locked up following a fresh leadership crisis between two factions.
The development, which occurred in the early hours, was said to have been brewing up since last week when the Yakubu Chocho-led State Executive was given the nod by the National Working Committee of the party to continue as caretaker of the party’s Exco in the state.
However, lingering internal conflict in the PDP has continued since it lost power in 2015.
Despite efforts to bring the party under its big umbrella, it never really yielded positive results.
The crisis, which erupted fully in the Plateau PDP immediately after the 2019 elections in the state, had made it difficult for the main opposition party in the state to offer any credible opposition required of it.
The crisis began soon after the 2019 governorship election which was won by the incumbent candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Simon Lalong.
However, after the matter seemed resolved earlier this year, the battle for who installs the next party Executive in the state has resurrected the earlier squabbles which seemed to have died down.
DAILY POST recalls that on May 10, 2020, the immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Party, John Akans, had issued a statement saying the National Working Committee of the party had directed that the Exco members of Party continue to lead in a caretaker arrangement to avoid any vacuum pending when congress would be held for a substantive Exco to emerge.
Akans in a statement he signed as “member of the caretaker committee, head of publicity,” said, “Our dear PDP faithful, as you are all aware our tenure as elected state executives ended on the 10th May 2020, accordingly, the National Working Committee(NWC) upon the expiration of our tenure directed that in line with Section 29(2)(b) and 31(2)(e) of our party’s constitution 2017 as amended, also approved the re- constitution of the present Exco as the caretaker committee in order to avoid any vacuum pending when the state congress will be held.
“As the past exco and now caretaker committee we are very much aware of complaints/petitions in some wards and LGA’s. These issues will be viewed holistically in the spirit of fairness, justice, peace and reconciliation. Our main focus now is to have dedicated, selfless and visionary minds to move our party forward.”
Sadly, barely five days after, another set of people led by a former Member of the State Assembly, Nandom Pennap and six others claim they are the authentic Caretaker Committee members.
Yakubu Chocho, who leads the first group told DAILY POST in an interview that, his team was officially mandated to continue as caretaker committee stressing, “If some people are claiming to be caretaker committee, where is their appointment letter? The Party is one and the Party is supreme, under my leadership by the grace of God, we will overcome all these. We did not lobby for the seat, if anyone wants it, let them go to the National Secretariat.
“I want to assure you that we have been confirmed, I have my letter and the letters of other colleagues are there and the National Organizing Secretary had called me before he sent the letter to me”, he explained.
“If they are ready to go to another party, that is not the way to create disharmony. If you want to leave, leave, but if you are honest and responsible, you must respect leadership.”
The Caretaker Chairman Nandom Pyennap of the new group stated that, “As we all are aware, the outgone Excos are seeking reflection and cannot continue or be appointed as Caretaker Committee base on Section 31(2)(e) of PDP constitution 2017 as amended.”
Pyennap through the Secretary of the new group, Engr. Godwin Bedir added that, neither his group nor the Chocho group has any official letter from the National Secretariat and because the new group has called the attention of the National Secretariat to the rejection of the Chocho group and nothing is done about, some stakeholders of the party had to make some arrangement to move the party forward.
According to him, “We don’t have a letter from the National headquarters, the thing is that, nobody has any letter. The party in the State has problem, as we speak.
“Though we laid our complain to the National Secretariat but there seems to be on deaf ears so we have to take a decision through our stakeholders and BOT members from the State. We are authentic members of PDP, we have no plan to go to another Party, we are genuinely PDP.”
Meanwhile, armed policemen from the Anglo Jos Division have barricaded the entrance of the Party Secretariat to forestall any outbreak of violence.