Nasarawa PDP Crisis Linked To 2023

BY VICTORIA IKEANO

The crisis rocking the Nasarawa chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) is not unconnected with jostlings for the 2023 elections findings by Nasarawa Eye has shown. The crisis is rooted in the now suspended State congress election in which the incumbent executive headed by Hon. Francis Orogu is seeking a second and final term. It culminated in the suspension of three senior members, namely, Chief Solomon Ewuga, Barrister Musa Elayo and Hon.Ogoshi Onawo. They are challenging their suspension.
Ewuga was the first deputy governor of the state, former minister and senator of the federal republic of Nigeria. Elayo was also a former minister while Onawo was a two- term Speaker of the State House of Assembly and Federal House of Representatives. He was also the deputy governorship candidate to the PDP flag bearer for the 2019 election, David Ombugadu.

Established in 1996, Nasarawa State had always been a PDP enclave since inception of the ,4th Republic in 1999 until 2011 when it lost the governorship position to APC but still controlled the State House of Assembly. Its fortune dwindled further in 2015 as it lost both the executive and state legislature with only four seats in the state Assembly, all of whom later decamped to the ruling APC. It had only one senator and two Representatives in the national assembly then. In last year’s general elections of 2019, APC cleared virtually everything leaving PDP with only two House of Representatives seat and two assembly seat, one of whom has defected. The party’s ward and local government congress election which was by consensus was already underway when a paid announcement by an aggrieved group on the state’s radio station stated that it had gotten a court order stopping its continuation.

Hon. Muhammad Umar Bala the party’s public relations officer told this correspondent that the party did not receive any restraining order from a any court, adding that the congress elections had been concluded in all 13 local government councils, except Wamba and Kokona.
Some members protested the ward and local government congress elections among them, Ewuga, Musa and Onawo, insisting that they did not follow due process. They are also challenging their suspension.

Hon. Francis Orogu, Nasarawa state PDP chairman in a telephone chat dismissed their protestations, explaining that they all agreed on the consensus mode of the congress election and that the election was conducted by an independent panel from the party’s Abuja headquarters. He added that the aggrieved persons gave their consent at every step of the process.

He said that the trio of Ewuga, Elayo and Onawo were suspended for engaging in “anti-party activities’’, adding that it is an offence for members to sue the party without first exhausting its internal mechanism for resolving disputes such as the Elders Forums. Answering a question, the chairman stated that there is no crisis in Nasarawa PDP, defining ‘crisis’ as a division while remarking that there are more members backing the current executive than the ‘few’ aggrieved persons.
Reminded that the suspended persons were people who have held high positions, Hon. Orogu replied that there are still many more such persons as former deputy governors, former senators, House of Representatives members etc., within the party. He accused those suspended of working for the “opposition”, saying their aim was to weaken the PDP to make way for their decamping to the APC for political gains. The Nasarawa state PDP boss vowed that they would not succeed in their plans because the party is ‘solid on the ground’.
According to him those who do not want him returned as chairman should do so through the democratic process, by mobilizing for their choice candidates at the polls.