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Cablegate: Nigeria: Pdp Congresses, Clashes Lay Ground For

VZCZCXRO9942
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0092/01 0700636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100636Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9794
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9520
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0121
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEOMFD/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000092

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA
ENERGY FOR PERSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: PDP CONGRESSES, CLASHES LAY GROUND FOR
NATIONAL CONVENTION


1. (SBU) Summary: People's Democratic Party (PDP) state
congresses held February 28 throughout the south reflect the
fractured nature of the party. Party factions in Oyo, Enugu,
and Anambra states held parallel congresses in defiance of
court injunctions. The congresses in Edo and Bayelsa states
worsened divisions within the party; conversely, the Delta
state selection of consensus candidates ended months of
intra-party fighting. It is unclear whether the national
convention March 8 in Abuja will be an anarchic free-for-all
involving rival state delegations, or whether back-room deals
will be struck in advance. Also uncertain is the extent to
which the party leadership elections will be open and fairly
contested. End Summary.

-------------------------------------------
Southwest: Oyo State Under Godfather's Sway
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Thousands of PDP members, including Oyo State
Governor Alao-Akala and Oyo godfather Lamidi Adedibu, held
their state congress on Feb 28 in Ibadan and selected a
pre-ordained slate of delegates. The congress was held in
defiance of a February 26 State High Court order barring the
congress pending determination of whether the consensus
candidate selection is allowed by the party's constitution.
This selection requires that all party members agree on the
candidate's qualification for the position, rather than
awarding the candidacy to the person with the majority of
votes. Several PDP faction leaders reported they were
attacked by hoodlums sent by Adedibu and Akala, a claim which
the police are investigating.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Southeast: Anambra's Uba Faction Defies Court Order
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (SBU) Supporters of Enugu Governor Sullivan Chime and
those of his former political godfather, immediate past
Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, held two separate party
congresses. PDP National Secretary Bernard Eze approved
Nnamani's congress, and even directed PDP monitors from Abuja
to participate in it; one of these, however, declined and
instead monitored Chime's congress. The majority of federal
legislators from Enugu participated in Nnamani's congress as
well.

4. (SBU) Supporters of Chime and Nnamani also clashed March
3rd at the PDP National Secretariat in
Abuja. Nnamani,s supporters held a rally outside PDP
national headquarters in support of Nnamani's pick for State
Chairman Ray Nnaji, and the PDP National Secretary Chief
Bernard Ezeh. According to witnesses, after thirty minutes,
Chime loyalists arrived at 10:00 AM in ten fully loaded
22-seat buses and attacked the Nnamani faction, seizing their
placards and chasing them away, but not before two of Ezeh,s
aides wre beaten up. The assembled youths then attempted to
pull down the gate to the National Secretariat, but were
prevented from doing so by security agents. They then
proceeded to barricade the entrance to the complex so that
party officials could neither enter nor escape. The group
disbanded only after
former Enugu state party chairman Chief Onyioha Nwanjoku
appealed for calm. According to press reports, the melee
blocked roads leading to the PDP National Secretariat as well
as the neighboring high court and Federal Inland Revenue
Service for hours.

5. (SBU) Of two PDP factions in Anambra state, only one, led
by former governorship candidate Andy Uba, a confidante of
former President Obasanjo, held a congress. The other
faction, led by State Party Chairman Tony Nwoye, complied
with a state court order barring the state's party congresses
on the grounds that the PDP may not have followed its own
bylaws in conducting recent ward and local congresses.
Despite the court injunction, party headquarters still sent
officials, including Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) officials led by Commissioner Mike Nwuneli,
to monitor the Uba faction's congress.

LAGOS 00000092 002 OF 002

-------------------------------------------
South South: Delta State Achieves Consensus
-------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The Edo congress pitched Governor Osunbor and former
Governor Samuel Ogbemudia's faction against a faction headed
by Tony Anenih, former PDP Board of Trustees chairman.
Although both factions claimed legitimacy, Abuja election
monitors observed Governor Osunbor's faction. Members of the
State House of Assembly, unhappy with the state of affairs
within the PDP, boycotted both congresses.

7. (SBU) The two factions of the Bayelsa PDP fractured over
the question of whether to hold elections or retain all
incumbents in order to promote peace and unity among the
party. The party deputy chairman called for elections on
grounds of party unity; a caucus including Vice President
Goodluck Jonathan wanted to return incumbents. According to
press reports, on March 4 armed thugs at the Bayelsa State
PDP Secretariat invaded party headquarters over the State
Working Committee,s suspension of various party members,
including the newly elected State Chairman, the Speaker of
the Bayelsa State House of Representatives, and several other
members of the state House of Assembly.

8. (SBU) The Delta State congress, atypically, may have
resolved an internal state party rift; all 29 members of the
executive council were selected by consensus. Governor
Uduaghan attributed the ability to reach consensus to
intensive meetings held in advance of the congress to resolve
party leaders' issues, stated media reports.

-------
Comment
--------

9. (SBU) The PDP national convention is scheduled for March
8, though a lawsuit filed by disaffected members of the party
alleging lack of due process could still cause its
postponement. The court is scheduled to rule Friday March
7th, the day before the convention is scheduled to take
place. It is unclear whether the PDP national convention in
Abuja will be an anarchic free-for-all involving multiple,
competing delegations jostling to represent certain states at
the convention, or whether back-room deals will be struck in
advance to unify state representation. Also uncertain is the
extent to which the PDP leadership will be openly and fairly
elected. If the past is an example, there will probably be a
selection, rather than election, of the party's new leaders.
The winners will be chosen in backroom deals on the margins
of the conference and then "ratified" at the convention.


This message has been cleared by Embassy Abuja.
BLAIR

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