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There is a plot to feature President Muhammadu Buhari as the only candidate, across all political parties, seeking the presidency in the 2019 elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged.The party, however, insisted it would not only contest but also win the polls. “We are going to stand as a party and we are going to fiercely contest election in 2019,” spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday.

Ologbondiyan said the party’s doors were still open and anyone seeking to contest the election on its platform could “come in”. According to him, many people “still hanging around in ‎APC are coming back home, as APC is going to the next election empty.”On the recent emergence of a splinter group, Ologbondiyan said the party had put measures in place to address grievances.

“The national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has been reconciliatory. He has met with some aggrieved members. We will not allow APC to distract us. APC has become very worried since our convention. As we speak, the constitution of APC requires them to hold a convention every two years. But they have not done so. They are so unsettled that PDP is progressing. That is why they are looking for people to cause confusion in our party. But we have gone beyond that. What is more important now is that we are embarking on membership drive, to win more members back to PDP.”

Some discontented members had on Wednesday held a press conference in Abuja, saying they had opened a parallel national office to challenge the Secondus-led National Working Committee.The Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, however, condemned the development, saying the PDP would no longer condone the activities of infiltrators intent at destroying the party.

Addressing a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, Jibrin disclosed that he met with the faction in Abuja, and that the aggrieved members showed remorse and assured him they would review their position out of respect for his person. He stressed that what the PDP needs currently is unity and support for Secondus and his new executive in order to move the party forward and win in 2019.

“While condemning the group which held the press conference, I am calling on them to reverse and follow the proper mechanism of settling a dispute, as enshrined in the constitution. I am also reminding them that Secondus came to power as the will of God and through the verdict of delegates. “The BOT will therefore no longer tolerate a deliberate violation of the constitution and any attempt to ridicule and undermine the party through any planned or sponsored litigations,” Jibrin said.

The former Minister of Works and immediate past Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, also reacted to the emergence of the factional ‘fresh PDP’, describing it as a desperate attempt to decimate the opposition, ahead of the presidential election.At a welcome rally in Ado, organised for him by admirers from the 16 Local Government Areas of Ekiti State yesterday, Adeyeye disclosed that the Seriake Dickson-led reconciliation committee was set up in premonition that some enemies may exploit the party’s post-convention crisis to cause disaffection among members.

Members of the PDP House of Representatives caucus denounced the existence of the faction yesterday, urging the police and the State Security Service (SSS) to unmask its sponsors. The caucus leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema, in a statement, described the group as a band of ill-disguised impostors whom the caucus would never recognise or interact with, even as he accused the APC as the mastermind.

“The activities of the men claiming to be starting a fresh PDP deserve urgent investigation and immediate halt by the police and the DSS, as we would not want enraged supporters of the PDP to take the laws into their hands in the process of dealing with such miscreants. There is the need to investigate how far these five leprous fingers are connected to the APC and its past record of widespread deceit and unscrupulous propaganda,” said Onyema.

The party meanwhile suffered yet another embarrassment, as House of Representatives member, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma (Egor/Ikpoba-okha, Edo), switched to the APC. Agbonayinma’s defection letter was read on the floor of the House by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who cited division in the PDP as reason for the lawmaker’s action.

Within the week also, Raphael Nnana-Igbokwe (Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise, Imo), announced his intention to leave the PDP for the APC in a letter to Dogara.
Agbonayinma said: “Today, I’m leaving the PDP for good. I’m now a member of the APC. How will a party I worked for say they are granting amnesty to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and those of us who believe in him and his leadership of the PDP? Are we criminals? What is happening in the PDP today is the effect of the injustice that was meted out to Sheriff.”

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