As the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) holds its crucial National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting today, there are rumours that governors under the platform of the party might hijack the meeting.

The move is not unconnected with the battle for the party’s soul by critical stakeholders who are working to take over the reins of the PDP and position themselves ahead of the 2027 general elections.

According to Section 31(1) of the party’s constitution, the NEC consists of over 100 members, including the party’s national chairman, who is also the chairman of the NEC; the president and vice president who are:

Members of the party.
The chairman and secretary of the board of trustees (BoT).
All other members of the BoT who shall have no voting rights.
The principal officers of the Senate who are members of the party.
Two senators from each of the geopolitical zones who are members of the party.

Others include:

Principal officers of the House of Representatives that are members of the party.
Three members from the House of Representatives from each geopolitical zone who are members of the party.
All state governors who are members of the party.
The national working committee members.
All state chairmen.
Six ex-officio members, at least two of whom shall be women, elected from each of the six geopolitical zones.
All former national chairmen, deputy national chairmen, national secretaries, chairmen, and secretaries of the board of trustees who are still members of the party.

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Others include:

Principal officers of the House of Representatives that are members of the party.
Three members from the House of Representatives from each geopolitical zone who are members of the party.
All state governors who are members of the party.
The national working committee members.
All state chairmen.
Six ex-officio members, at least two of whom shall be women, elected from each of the six geopolitical zones.
All former national chairmen, deputy national chairmen, national secretaries, chairmen, and secretaries of the board of trustees who are still members of the party.

Daily Trust reports that unlike before, where the battle for control of the party was between the camp of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike, the game has now changed with governors elected on the platform of the party, especially those in their second terms, also said to have formed a block to take over the reins of the party.

The governors currently elected under the platform of the party are Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Bala Muhammed (Bauchi), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

Others are Peter Mbah (Enugu), Ademola Adeleke (Osun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau), Siminalayi Fubara (Rivers), Agbu Kefas (Taraba), and Dauda Lawal (Zamfara).

Among them, the governor of Bauchi, the chairman of the forum, and those of Adamawa, Bayelsa, Edo, and Oyo are in their second term, with the Edo State governor leaving office later this year.

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A highly placed source at the party’s national headquarters said a few of the governors, especially those in their second term, are now planning on how to take control ahead of 2027, while a few of them remain undecided.

The source said some of the governors were tired and frustrated with the division and the endless fight between the Atiku and Wike camps, and are working on an independent outcome, if possible, to redirect the party going forward.

But another source familiar with the inner workings of the party said the governors were not taking an altruistic position in the battle but plotting to position one of them as the candidate of the party for the 2027 general elections, thus handing over the structure of the party to either the former vice president or the FCT minister will not favour their permutations.

Even though many of the governors are working to present a candidate they feel will either do their bidding or have what it takes to reorganise the party, the inability of many of them to come together and present a common front is hampering their efforts.

A source said, “Yes, the governors want to have control of the party. Apart from the fact that they don’t want to be seen as supporting either Atiku or Wike, which many of them do and people know, they also feel that if anything happens, they will be the ones to lose out.”

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The PDP Governors’ Forum is also divided over the position of the acting chairman, Umar Damagum, with some of them wanting him to stay on because of the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo states.

But after its closed-door meeting yesterday, the chairman of the forum and governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, said the issues in the party are being resolved, adding that “We are looking forward to doing everything within the constitutional provisions of the party. So, we are not here to discuss about a change of leadership.”

Mohammed, who dispelled speculations that there are contending forces, including the governors, in the party, said, “NEC will take decisions on issues, not the governors. I know the governors normally take the leadership position, but we have an acting person leading the party, and NEC will decide whether it is time to fill the vacancy, looking at the legal implications of doing that.”

Meanwhile, in the communiqué, after the meeting read to journalists, the governors called on the NWC of the party to “Set in motion the machinery to conduct credible congresses in all the states where the tenures of party officers have expired.”

Apart from the chairman of the forum, those present were governors of Rivers, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Delta, as well as deputy governors of Edo and Enugu.