The crisis rocking the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) over its continued participation in the merger arrangement with other opposition political parties yesterday took a new dimension as the faction controlled by a former Minister of Federal Capital (FCT), General Jerry Useni (rtd), has resolved to withdraw from the merger talks.
In a bid to reaffirm its non-aligned status, the party leadership approved the expulsion of the acting Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Olisaemeka Akamukali, for trying to drag the party into the yet-to-be registered All Progressives Congress (APC).
Useni and a former governorship candidate of DPP in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, are the driving force behind the faction.
The expulsion of Akamukali was part of the decisions taken at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, which held yesterday in Abuja.
The NEC also resolved to hold the party’s national convention on Saturday in Abuja.
In a communiqué signed by DPP's National Chairman, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), the party resolved that it would no longer be part of the ongoing merger negotiations with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
However, the Akamukali faction is pushing on with the merger talks as it had gone ahead to hold a national convention to ratify DPP's participation in the merger talks.
Tuesday's NEC meeting was apparently meant to counter the step taken by Akamukali to railroad DPP into the opposition coalition.
In the communiqué, DPP said the party would not merge with any other parties.
"The NEC of the party has unanimously expelled Mr. Olisa Emeka Akamukali, former acting Deputy National Chairman of the party for anti-party activities and gross misconduct and the NEC has accordingly appointed a new deputy national chairman to replace him in the person of Mr. Gashon Benson from Rivers State,” the communiqué said.
THISDAY gathered that DPP was listed as one of the parties to participate in the resumed talks of the joint merger committees fixed for next Monday.
However, while responding to questions posed by journalists, Magashi said the party did not receive any invitation, neither was it aware of any merger meeting coming up on Monday.
The Useni-led DPP had during its previous NEC meeting, disbanded the merger committee set up on February 13 to engage other opposition parties in merger negotiations and replaced it with another committee.
Magashi, who defended the position of DPP, deplored the action of some people he referred to as the breakaway faction who had gone ahead to join APC even before the merger committee submitted its report to the party.
"Our delay in taking action on the merger stems from experience of such alignment. After the committee came back from the merger talks, four persons decided to stay back and join APC without recourse to the party leadership.