Ahead of its stakeholders’ conference on Thursday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has split into six groups. They are battling for the control of the party machinery.
There is also anger in the party over the zoning of the party’s presidential ticket in 2019 to the North.
The zoning has foreclosed the return of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s presidential flag bearer in 2019.
Pro-Jonathan elements in the party are angry that the National Working Committee(NWC) announced the zoning to enable most of its members to retain their posts in the March 2016 National Convention.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the loss of the general elections to the All Progressives Party(APC) led to the emergence of six groups in the party.
Each of the six groups is battling to secure the control of the NWC under the guise of reforming the party.
The six groups are: Ex-PDP governors Forum; sitting PDP governors; ex-PDP Ministers Forum/ Jonathan group; the NWC; Reformists comprising Ken Nnamani, Ahmed Makarfi, Ibrahim Mantu, Iyorchia Ayu and others; and Northern elements, including many retired military chieftains, seeking dissolution of the NWC.
It was learnt that in spite of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu panel on reconciliation, party chiefs remain divided.
Many leaders of the party are insisting on the sack of the NWC to reform the party but members of the organ are clinging to the last straws to remain in office till next year.
It was gathered that the agitation for a conference to rebrand and refocus PDP was floated by the NWC to calm frayed nerves.
It was learnt that the conference was initially slated for three days but the NWC scaled it down to two days.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “All is still not well in the PDP since we lost the election.
“Most of our leaders and members believe we need to reform the party beginning with the dissolution of the NWC. But members of the NWC are locked in a game of survival. They are also using a divide and rule method to remain in office till.
“Even some NWC members are already joining groups in the party in order to retain their seats at the next National Convention in March 2016.
A former minister gave insights into the politics in the party and why the division might take a long time to resolve.
The source added: “Some former PDP governors and NWC members are working in tandem to hijack the PDP structure in order to call the shots ahead of 2019.
“Since these governors have the financial war chest to finance the cash-strapped party, some NWC members are bowing to their instructions.
“Some former ministers and allies of Jonathan are not happy that the same NWC which accounted for the defeat of the party at the poll in April is still in place. They are demanding surgical reforms.
“These ex-ministers and northern elements are asking that the acting National Chairman (Uche Secondus) should step aside for a candidate from the North-East since the post was conceded to the zone. The last occupant was ex-Governor Ahmed Muazu from Bauchi in the North-East.”
Another force in the party is angry with the NWC over the “hasty manner” in which it zoned the party’s presidential ticket to the North in 2019.
A member of the National Executive Committee of PDP said: “We have just realised that the zoning was hastily done in order to edge out ex-President Jonathan from the race in 2019. The NWC has foreclosed Jonathan’s chances. This development has caused much anger in the party. The pro-Jonathan elements are unhappy with the NWC for allegedly backstabbing the former President.
“In fact, the NWC does not consult Jonathan regularly again on the direction of the party. Instead, the organ bows to the dictates of some serving and former governors. So, how do you reconcile in this circumstance?
“Jonathan at the weekend left for Germany and it is doubtful if he will attend the Thursday conference.”
There were indications that some leaders of the party are pushing for genuine reforms in the party.