There are strong indications of mutual suspicion between the national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the fold of the influential PDP Governors’ Forum.
Efforts by the national chairman to fully integrate and mainstream his former governor colleagues who desire to return to the party after a stint of absence does not appear to have the blessing of most of the incumbent governors.
Investigations have revealed that the PDP national chairman Adamu Mu’azu commenced the reintegration process without the knowledge of the serving governors, a development that caused the south-east governors to shun the inauguration of the party’s integration committee a few days ago.
But as a source within the National Working Committee (NWC) has blamed the governors for the national chairman’s action, saying they showed indifference to the move aimed at reintegrating some of their predecessors.
The party said reports about mutual suspicion, though true initially, had been resolved.
However, a PDP governor who spoke to our correspondent on telephone disclosed that the integration committees set up by the national leadership of the party was ‘not probably too insulated from intrigues’.
According to the governor, who spoke on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said some former governors, in concert with the national chairman, had ‘initiated’ a series of moves that tended to undermine some of the governors, which he described as ‘seeds of crisis in future’.
He said: “As governors, there are several things we do to ensure the stability of the party in our states but I do not think that some persons really appreciate all these efforts. All they think is how to compete with the governors in the pursuit of power and influence within the party, and this is not helping us in any form.
“Yes, we as party members all have equal rights, but the question is: who bears most of the burden? The governors do, of course; they are there to do just that. Tomorrow may not be theirs; others would have to continue from where the incumbents stopped.
“But the most unfortunate thing is that there are a lot of forces both within and outside the states troubling us as far as matters affecting the party are concerned, and the most unfortunate thing is, the national chairman’s style is rather encouraging such subversive moves by some party leaders,” pointing at the ongoing integration as the most worrisome.
“I can tell you (that) most governors are unhappy over the move because it is nothing but blackmail. If, in 2011, the PDP won those states without the former governors, I do not see their relevance now.
“This is becoming worrisome to most of us because it is not healthy for former governors to want to have the same leverage in party matters with sitting governors; and this is what the national chairman is encouraging, maybe because of their political age and bracket in being former governors. If not, how would one explain the warm reception the national chairman gives to anti-governor groups in some states? It is ridiculous,” he said.
The governor listed Abia, Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Plateau as some of the states where former governors had the tacit support of the national chairman in carrying out their ‘subversive’ moves.
But a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed the governors for whatever cold war is ongoing on the issue of integration.
“I think the governors’ fears, if any, are misplaced; they do not need to entertain any because they do really need the former governors and even new would-be members because we are looking for votes; we are seeking votes from the electorate.
“It is out of place for any of the governors to blame the national chairman because, in most of the states when the issue of integration was discussed, the governors seemed indifferent; some of them openly made efforts to stop people from joining simply because of their desire to either install their loyalists as governors or to get their second term with ease,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PDP has said that even though mutual suspicion was unavoidable in politics, especially as it affects the integration process in the party, all misgivings about it had been clarified and resolved.