National Chairmanship: PDP Divide Widens as Atiku's Camp Backs Ex-gov to Replace Damagum

National Chairmanship: PDP Divide Widens as Atiku's Camp Backs Ex-gov to Replace Damagum

  • The PDP is now dealing with the dilemma of getting a replacement for Umar Damagum, the acting national chairman or allowing him to retain his office
  • A section of the party said to be loyal to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar wants Gabriel Suswam as a replacement for Damagum
  • Another side of the PDP leaning towards Nyesom Wike, is supporting a replacement for Damagum from the Northeast

The power play within the ranks of the People’s Democratic Party (PD) is getting out of hand as the rivalry between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and FCT minister Nyesom Wike intensifies ahead of the party National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

Currently, there are serious concerns as to whether Umar Damagum, the acting national chairman of the PDP, should retain his position or be replaced.

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Calls to remove Damagum and appoint a substantive chairperson have been growing, with 60 members of the House of Representatives demanding his exit and the selection of a chairman from the North-Central region.

Former Benue governor, Gabriel Suswam, and Dr Emmanuel Agbo are prominent figures vying for the position, with Suswam receiving backing from Atiku’s camp.

Atiku Abubakar has a base of loyalists in PDP
Atiku wants a PDP chairman from the North Central
Source: Getty Images

The move has sparked tension between the two camps, further fueled by past disagreements over the party’s presidential ticket for the 2023 general polls.

Damagum, formerly PDP National Deputy Chairman (North), became the party’s acting National Chairman following the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, by the court in March last year.

Speaking on the power tussle in the opposition party, a chieftain from the region who spoke with Punch said,

“We are aware that our zone is receiving the necessary support from Atiku. Many stakeholders from within and outside the zone, including Atiku, are backing Suswam. Consultations are ongoing, and the North Central will ensure that it nominates Ayu’s replacement.

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“Wike and some PDP governors want Damagum to be confirmed as the PDP substantive chairman. They are supporting someone from the North-East to complete the tenure of a position zoned to the North Central for their selfish reasons..."

On his part, Suswam has asked the party to allow him to assume the position and complete the tenure Senator Iyorcha Ayu, who was removed from the post by a court order, Vanguard reports.

PDP: Saraki, Suswam to Succeed Ayu? Consultations Begin

Names like Bukola Saraki (former Senate president) and Suswam were emerging as favourites and potential replacements.

This was as the North Central Caucus of the PDP started consultations among party leaders to produce a national chairperson from the zone.


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