[File] Nigeria's Senate leader, Bukola Saraki, announces that he would stand to become the main opposition candidate in 2019's presidential elections in Abuja, Nigeria, August 30, 2018. REUTERS-Afolabi Sotunde

In line with the directives of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party’s National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee headed by the former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday night met with the National Assembly caucus from Cross River State.

The objective of the meeting was to reconcile the National Assembly members, including other stakeholders, with the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, who was already threatening to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Last week, 18 elected local government area chairmen and 196 councillors came to the PDP national secretariat to serve notice of defection should the PDP not order a fresh congress and ensure that the governor as the leader of the party controls all the party structures in the state.

Moments after the notice of defection was served by the 18 council chairmen and 196 councilors, it was gathered that the NWC mandated the Saraki-led Reconciliation and Strategy Committee to wade into the matter and ensure proper reconciliation of issues raised.

Newsmen gathered that in line with this, Saraki and members of his team moved towards reconciling the factions in the state.

The PDP committee yesterday at Saraki residence met with all PDP members of the National Assembly to find an amicable resolution of the crisis.

The two contending members of the National Assembly, Senator Steve Odeh and Hon. Jarigbe Agrom Jarigbe, it was gathered, attended the meeting.

Jarigbe, a serving House of the Representatives member, is laying claims to the seat in the Senate which Odeh have already been sworn in.

“Last night, the PDP Reconciliation and Strategy Committee met with the PDP National Assembly caucus from Cross River State. At the meeting, we listened to the concerns of the legislators, and discussed strategies to unite all the leaders and key stakeholders of our party in the state,” he stated.


THISDAY gathered that in the last congress conducted by the PDP in the state, the governor lost control of the structures to members of the party in the National Assembly.

Ayade loss of political structures at all levels in the state to a faction that sponsored Jarigbe in the senatorial primary that pitted him against Senator Odeh, who was sponsored by the faction loyal to the governor.

Odeh, it was gathered, was sponsored by the governor to replace the late Senator Rose Okoh, who died last year.

It was alleged that Odeh reached a deal with the governor to spend only one term as a senator to enable Ayade to return to the Senate, where he was until 2015.

However, the calculation failed as Jarigbe, a serving member of the House of Representatives, refused to remain in the House.

At the primary, PDP returned Odeh as the senatorial candidate, but Jarigbe rejected the outcome and went to court and his appeals were upheld.

The development led to the threat of defection by the governor and his faction, which boycotted the zonal congress of the party held recently in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where Chief Dan Orbih was elected the South-south national vice chairman.

Confirming the meeting, Saraki tweeted in his verified twitter handle thus: “Last night (Monday) the #PDPReconciliation and Strategy Committee met with the PDP National Assembly caucus from Cross River State.

“At the meeting, we listened to the concerns of the legislators, and discussed strategies to unite all the leaders and key stakeholders of our party in the state.”

Another batch of the meeting is scheduled with the state Governor, Ben Ayade. However, no date has been fixed for it.

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