Another crisis may be brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the selection of Minority Leaders for the House of Representatives and the Senate for the 10th National Assembly.e
The crisis rocking the opposition party is following the endorsement of Hon. Kingsley Chinda, a strong ally of former Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike by the House of Representatives PDP caucus for the position of the House Minority Leader.
Recall that Wike and Chinda had worked against the presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 25th polls, Atiku Abubakar.
Chinda had emerged as the consensus candidate of PDP Reps during a Friday meeting in Abuja after Hon. Oluwole Oke from Osun State, believed to be the preferred candidate of the Atiku’s amp, pulled out of the race.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, had earlier asked the public to disregard speculations that certain persons had been picked for minority leadership positions for the 10th National Assembly.
He said, “Such rumours and reports do not represent the true position of affairs in our party and among our National Assembly members-elect.”
“At the right time, the PDP, together with our members in the National Assembly, will speak with one voice on any issues with regard to other leadership positions in the federal legislature. The PDP, therefore, urges Nigerians to disregard the said rumour and reports,” he added.
While some PDP chieftains want the party to refuse to endorse Chinda for the position as a punishment for him and Wike for their alleged anti-party activities during the 2023 presidential election, others are of the opinion that the leadership of the party should avoid another round of crisis.
Before Friday’s nomination of Chinda by the PDP caucus, some of the party’s members-elect had campaigned against his candidacy. They argued that the PDP should not reward Wike with the Minority Leader slot after he and his allies, like Chinda, worked against the party and cost them the 2023 presidential election.
According to The Nation, Some PDP members had also made a case for the South West to get the slot for equity and fairness.
Sources said the PDP might settle for Hon. Fred Egbedi (Sagbama/Ekeremor, Delta State), an associate of the immediate past Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as its anointed candidate.
Also, Chinda’s closeness to the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, has emerged as another stumbling block to the lawmakers’ removal.
“We are politicians, and we understand how the Speaker can foil any move to replace Chinda by the PDP. We recall what happened during the last 9th National Assembly when the party had preferred this same Chinda to Ndudi Elumelu,” a PDP official said.
“That is politics. Given what transpired between Wike’s camp and Atiku’s, you should expect that the latter will not be comfortable with a Wike ally taking such an important position. Of course, they are not.
“In addition, generally, PDP leaders and members are scared that it will amount to encouraging anti-party activities if Chinda and Wike are allowed to get away with working against the party. It will even be worse if they are now seen to be getting important positions after working against the interests of the party severally and unrepentantly during the last elections,” he told The Nation.
Meanwhile, Chinda’s endorsement is also said to threaten the ambition of former Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson for the position of Minority Leader in the Senate.
The former Bayelsa State governor and the immediate past governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, allies of Atiku, are top contenders for the Senate Minority Leader slot.
Tambuwal, a first-timer in the Senate, appears to have the upper hand in the race.
But he is considered a ranking member on the strength of having been Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.
However, Dickson’s chances are narrowed by the emergence of Kingsley Chinda as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, as both individuals are from the South-South.