The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mandated the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to wade into the ongoing crisis in the PDP Imo chapter.
A former Imo Governor, Emeka Ihedioha and the PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, are at war over who controls the party structure in the state.
Ihedioha and Anyanwu are battling for the Imo PDP governorship ticket ahead of the off-season poll coming up in November 2023.
While Ihedioha is one of the strong pillars in the Atiku camp, Anyanwu is loyal to the camp of the Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Atiku and Wike have, in the past few months, been in a protracted war of attrition over the latter’s call for the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
The PDP leadership failed to resolve the rift between the two Imo politicians as a meeting with stakeholders in the two camps ended in a deadlock.
Ayu, who chaired the reconciliation meeting at the PDP national secretariat, could not prevail on the two factions to embrace peace. This has forced him to seek the intervention of Atiku and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
A statement after the meeting and signed by Ayu’s Media Adviser, Simon Imobo-Tsam, said the clash of the two Imo politicians has affected the smooth running of the Imo PDP chapter.
The statement reads: “It may be recalled that lately, the newly constituted Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) at the state level has pitched some chieftains of the party against the State Working Committee (SWC) over charges of exclusion.
“Among the decisions reached was that the Presidential Candidate of the Party, HE Atiku Abubakar and his running-mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, will wade into the crisis, with a view to resolving the matter and other contending issues comprehensively and amicably.
“While Atiku will meet with a few party stakeholders from the state, including Ex-Governor Emeka Ihedioha as well as the PDP National Secretary, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu, to soften the ground, Gov. Okowa will, thereafter, head a small panel that will reconcile all aggrieved parties and resolve all contending matters.
“The National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, who disclosed this after the well-attended meeting, regretted the loss of Imo to the APC via a controversial Supreme Court judgement, and pointed out that recovering Imo for the PDP was a priority to the present leadership of the party.
“Unity is crucial. And it’s only with unity that we can regain or recover Imo. And the route to that recovery is by winning the presidential election next February. Once we win the presidency next year, you will need to work less for the governorship victory”.
The statement added that Ayu appealed to the combatants to return home, close ranks and get to work, stressing that the party’s strength lies in the unity of its members.
The party chairman was also quoted to have said that the NWC will give the crisis in Imo a closer attention after the February presidential election.
“For now, focus on winning the presidency. Don’t dissipate energies on what is trivial or far away. Together, we are stronger.
“In Ekiti, we were disunited. And we lost. Disunity led to defeat. We had success in Osun because we were united. It’s the same thing in Imo. If we refuse to unite, we will have the Ekiti debacle. But if we unite now, the Osun experience awaits us.”
“All speakers at the meeting aired their grievances, but advised against allowing petty differences or personal ambitions to tear the party apart, and give the ruling APC undeserved longevity in the state”, the chairman was quoted to have said.
Imo PDP stakeholders who attended the meeting included Achike Udenwa, Ihedioha, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, Chief Charles Ugwu (Imo PDP Chairman), Senator Anyanwu, Chief Duru Ihioma, Chief Uche Anyagocha, Chief Ray Emenma, and Chuma Nnaji, among others.