I’ve been sidelined, PDP woman leader cries out

The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party appeared to have worsened with its National Woman Leader, Prof. Stella Effah-Attoe, raising the alarm that she had been sidelined and her office undermined.

The allegation came as the party battled to wriggle out of crises that erupted since its presidential primary.

Effah-Attoe raised the allegation in a leaked memo she sent to the National Working Committee of the PDP, citing two detailed instances to back her claim.

The memo, titled: “Deliberate attempts to undermine my office, office of the national woman leader and to sideline my humble person: An unacceptable hindrance,” was exclusively obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to her, it became very clear that over time, there had been “several attempts made at undermining my office”, the office of the PDP National Woman Leader.

She said, “The most recent attempts were as follows:
At the flag off ceremony of the PDP campaigns in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on October 10, 2022, here, serious attempts were made to prevent me from addressing the PDP audience at the Uyo stadium. It must be stated here that it is a customary tradition in our party for the National Woman Leader and the National Youth Leader, to address rallies in conjunction with party candidates, party chairmen et al.

“Unfortunately, in Uyo, every attempt was made to prevent me from addressing party faithfuls. I was told that there was a clear directive not to allow me to speak to the crowd. It got to the ridiculous extent of these agents, calling on Senator Uche Ekwunife, to speak to the audience, on behalf of PDP women.

“Senator Ekwunife was very embarrassed, but she was prodded to do it. Iyom Josephine Anenih, a former PDP National Woman Leader, drew the attention of some party leaders to this anomaly. It was then that I was reluctantly called to address the audience on behalf of the PDP women. This unfortunate development did not go unnoticed by party faithful, who found the whole drama very embarrassing and childish.

“At the PDP Kaduna rally on Monday October 7, 2022. At this event, the National Youth Leader was called upon to address the crowd on behalf of the PDP youths, which he did perfectly well, to the admiration of the populace. I was physically present at the event in Kaduna. I was even seated beside the National Youth Leader. But Nobody called me to address the audience on behalf of the PDP women.

“Rather, the spectacle was a very ridiculous announcement calling on Dr. Baraka Sani (Director of the PDP Support Groups, in the Campaign Council), to address the crowd on behalf of the PDP women. The entire audience were surprised, mesmerised and confused. People started asking questions there and then. Many wondered why the National Youth Leader was called upon to perform his traditional and official role, while the National Woman Leader was deliberately prevented from doing hers.

“There and then, some people tried to explain that unfortunate scenario in different colourations. While a lot of people found the occurrence very offensive, I smiled over the unfortunate incident in total sympathy with the perpetrators of such childish display of character.

“It may interest you to know that the happening has gone viral, to the disgust of many Nigerians. Specifically, the Kaduna occurrence has seriously painted our great party in a negative light. Very, very sad indeed.

“Well, on this note, it has become very obvious that there are some distracting elements within our great party who are determined to frustrate me in the performance of my statutory duties as the PDP National Woman Leader. This is very unacceptable. May I state clearly here that I cannot and will never succumb to any unnecessary attempt to frustrate me, in the performance of my official duties.

“I will continue to perform my duties to the best of my ability and to the benefit of our esteemed party, within the confines of my safety and the tolerance level around me.

“The purpose of this elaborate analysis, is to bring the attention of the members of the PDP National Working Committee to these strange developments happening around my office and by extension my humble person. May God Almighty touch our dear hearts in order to enable us critically assess and act upon this unholy and isolated attempt at massive victimisation and marginalisation of my office and my humble self. Thank you and God bless us all.”