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Crack in PDP over Senate positions

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Plans by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to swap names of selected principal of its Senate caucus is causing ripples in the opposition party.

On Tuesday, there were reports that the NWC of the party was planning to rejig the minority leadership positions. Part of the plans is to drop Clifford Ordia, who represents Edo Central in the ninth Senate and name Sahabi Yau from Zamfara as replacement.

A fortnight ago in Abuja, Enyinnaya Abaribe emerged as Senate minority leader and Emmanuel Bwacha, who represents Taraba South as deputy minority leader.

Also, Philip Aduda, who represents the Federal Capital Territory emerged as the minority whip and Odia as deputy minority whip.

Although the move to alter the list has not been made official, Daily Sun gathered that the attempt is causing bad blood in the Senate caucus of the party.

Some PDP senators from the South-south, who have vowed to resist the move, said the party cannot impose anyone on them without due consultation.

South-south has the highest number of PDP senators in the Senate. Out of 18 elected senators from the geopolitical zone, PDP has 16, leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC) with two.

Five senators from Edo, Cross River, Delta and Akwa Ibom states, in separate interviews said the South-south cannot be left out without a principal position in the Senate.

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They argued that the APC has the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives from the South-west because the number of votes it secured from the region.

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The senators who said they would meet before the resumption of the National Assembly next Tuesday to take a comnon position, maintained that the decision of PDP senators in the selection of their principal officers must stand.

They accused governors of mounting pressure on the leadership of the PDP to ensure that their interest is represented in the Senate at the detriment of everyone.

One of the aggrieved senators who offered to speak to newsmen in confidence on behalf of others, said an election was conducted at a meeting held at the Abuja residence of the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus on June 14.

He said nominations were made in the presence of party leaders and PDP senators and winners emerged. He revealed that those who emerged were unanimously backed by the various organs of the party.

He said the recent move to alter the list and drop some names is without the backing of the caucus of the party. He said no one has been consulted or a meeting held with PDP senators to agree on the issue.

He explained: “Under the rules of the Senate, it is not the responsibility of the National Working Committee to select principal officials.

“It is the responsibility of the senators themselves to select who leads them. The minority senators have freely elected those they want and nothing will change it.

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“The argument that they want to represent every part of the country is false. There are eight positions open to the PDP in the two chambers of the National Assembly. Even if you share one to each geopolitical zone, two will still get an extra slot.

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“Those we selected are known to us. They are the people we can work with. Some governors causing this division don’t know how the Parliament operates. They want to control everything in the party for their selfish interest.

“Maybe the NWC has not learnt its lessons. The APC tried this imposition in the eight Senate and they paid for it dearly. It’s up to the PDP to allow us have our way or allow strangers destroy its fold in the Senate.”

However, publicity secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan said issues raised by the aggrieved lawmakers would be addressed, though he said he was unaware of any formal complaint lodged with the party by the aggrieved senators.

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