The leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took a new twist yesterday as Ahmed Gulak, a former Special Adviser on Political Matters to former President Goodluck, declared himself the new national chairman of the party.
Gulak and some of his supporters, led by Dr Doyin Okupe, stormed the party’s national secretariat around 1.51pm and went straight to the second floor office of the national chairman to take over the office.
He was denied access to the office which had been under lock and key since May 20, 2015 when the former national chairman, Dr. Adamu Mu’azu resigned unceremoniously.
Since the resignation of Muazu his deputy, Prince Uche Secondus, took over the leadership of the party in acting capacity.
However, some members of the party from the North East zone have kicked against the reluctance of PDP National Working Committee, NWC, to appoint another person from the zone as the substantive chairman in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
In a bid to compel the Secondus-led NWC to respect zoning arrangement in the party, Ahmed Gulak approached FCT High Court to declare him as the substantive national chairman of the party.
The court granted his prayers on December 16, 2015 and barred Secondus from further occupation of the office.
Following this ruling, Secondus filed an appeal against the judgement and approached the FCT High Court for stay of execution pending the determination of the case at the Court of Appeal.
However, Justice Baba Hussein, the FCT High Court yesterday dismissed Secondus’ motion on the ground that the judgement was a declarative one that should be obeyed by Secondus and PDP.
After Gulak and his entourage failed to access to the national chairman’s office, they moved to the NWC meeting room where he addressed journalists and declared himself as the new chairman of the party.
In his short speech, Gulak said he took over as the chairman to forestall leadership vacuum in the party.
“We cannot continue to leave our party headless. Failure to assume duty as the national chairman will leave our party organs, especially the NWC, the NEC and National Caucus improperly constituted as every meeting or these organs must, in accordance with our constitution, be chaired by the national chairman,” he said.
Immediately after addressing the media, Gulak and his supporters went down and drove out of the secretariat.
None of the members of the NWC was available at the party secretariat when Gulak came calling as they were having the weekly NWC meeting at Legacy House, Maitama, Abuja which serves as an annex of the party national secretariat.
Gulak is fifth-columnist – PDP
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP has described Gulak as a fifth columnist who is planted to cause disaffection and split the party.
Reacting to Gulak’s declaration of himself as the new national chairman of the party, the national legal adviser, Victor Kwon, said it is not true that the FCT High Court struck out the application of the Acting national chairman for stay of execution of its judgement on the leadership of the party.
This is coming as the Ex-officios of the party disowned Gulak’s claim to the chairmanship of the party.
According to Kwon, contrary to the claims of Gulak, the case was not listed yesterday in the cause list of the FCT High Court for hearing while the party “did not receive any hearing notice”.
He said the party send a delegation to verify the claims of Gulak in court and came back with report that “the cause list did not list the application and therefore could not have been struck out.”
He emphasized that the judgement that Gulak was relying on to lay claim to the chairmanship of the party did not proclaim him as the national chairman of the party and stressed that the court only directed the PDP to appoint a new chairman from the North East.
“He was not proclaimed national chairman by the court and he cannot impose himself as the chairman.”
He denounced the action of Gulak adding that “Gulak’s behaviour shows he is a fifth columnist planted to split the party.”
He advised Gulak to go back and lobby members of the party from the North East if he is interested in running for the vacant position as only nominees of the party organs from the zone will be considered for the post.
The national legal adviser also added that the party’s National caucus, Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee, NEC, will be meeting next week to consider nominees for the vacant position.
The chairman of committee of NEC ex-officios, Udo Ekpenyong, distanced himself from a committee set up by Gulak to look into the affairs of the party.