Buoyed by Friday's Federal High Court verdict, which gave it a lifeline and the INEC's pronouncement that authenticated its leadership, the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mulled stern punitive measures against promoters of the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led group, otherwise known as the 'new PDP'.
The punitive steps to be taken, according to an impeccable source in the party, include a process that would lead to the eventual expulsion of the backers of the factional body, also known as the G-7 governors.
The G-7 governors, who are promoters of the new PDP are Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
But the arrowheads of the planned measures have the chairman of the party's Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih to contend with, as he insists that the governors, as leaders of the party in their respective states are still needed in the party.
He contends that rather than wielding the big stick, the party should still explore reconciliation opportunities to bring the aggrieved governors back on track.
But in spite of the differences between the two PDP leaders, President Goodluck Jonathan's position on the next move to tame the governors is yet unknown.
While Tukur mulls the expulsion of the G-7 governors and other leaders of the new PDP, the Baraje faction has insisted it would not relax the onslaught against Tukur until he abdicates office as national chairman of the party.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the divergent positions taken by the big wigs of the PDP came barely 24 hours after Justice Elvis Chukwu stopped the Baraje-led PDP from parading itself as the authentic leadership of the PDP.
Justice Chukwu also restrained the trio of Baraje, Jaja Sam Jaja and Olagunsoye Oyinlola from parading themselves as the national chairman, deputy national chairman and national secretary of the New PDP respectively of the party.
The judge also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its officials from recognising them as national officers of the PDP, whether new or old, even as he held that it was wrong for the faction to "interfere with the duties and functions" of Tukur and other officers of the PDP elected at the August 31 special convention of the party.
The source further told LEADERSHIP that, "The leadership of the party, including our chairman, wants the aggrieved governors expelled now, since they have lost out both in the court and before the INEC. They are saying the party needs to be sanitised once and for all before the preparation for the 2015 election begins.
"But Chief Anenih and a few others want the ongoing dialogue to continue since not all of the seven governors are willing to leave the party."
The source, a current PDP BoT member, explained that the two leaders have their own reasons for their positions, but disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan has the final say in the disagreement.
The source said, "You are aware, the chairman was not party to the dialogue going on in the State House between President Jonathan and those governors. But Chief Anenih is, and he knows what is going on there and wants the dialogue to continue. Anenih's view is that only three of the seven governors are interested in defecting while others would like to remain and continue fighting from within. But Tukur believes in their expulsion in order for the party to have peace.
"It would interest you to know that the two of them are concerned about the 2015 general election. To Tukur, the earlier these people are expelled the better for the party, while Anenih thinks otherwise. He believes since the election is not next year, those who want to go should be allowed to go on their own. But let me also tell you, President Jonathan has the final say on this matter, being the leader of the party. And as far as I know, he has not spoken."
Those the source believes might still remain within the party to continue with the fight include three governors, while four others were said to be on their way out of the PDP.
If the plan to expel them is endorsed by the stakeholders including Jonathan and Atiku, the seven governors and their supporters would be summoned to appear before the Disciplinary Committee led by Alhaji Umaru Dikko, to defend themselves of anti-party activities. Those who appear might be pardoned, but those who ignore the invitation would be suspended and later expelled.
Although, Dikko is said to be sick, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, his deputy would be asked to preside over the matter shortly after the inauguration of the committee this week.
Our transformation agenda is working - PDP
Meanwhile, the ruling PDP yesterday boasted that the transformation agenda spear-headed by President Jonathan had achieved huge impact in the critical sectors of the economy.
The party stated this while applauding the Fitch Ratings, which affirmed Nigeria's long-term foreign and local currency IDRs.
A statement by its national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, noted that the President had vigorously pursued his economic reforms and expressed happiness that they had started to yield results.
The statement reads in part, "We are indeed highly impressed that the reforms initiated by the president have started yielding very high dividends resulting in a massive leap in the nation's economy, which has also been acknowledged by the world community; the latest being the Fitch Ratings which affirmed Nigeria's long-term foreign and local currency IDRs, as well as senior unsecured bond and Short-term foreign currency IDR ratings respectively at 'BBs'.
"It is heart-warming that at a time other economies of the world are having a downward trend, Nigeria's economy on the other hand is experiencing stability and growth."
No peace until Tukur leaves - Baraje Faction
Meanwhile, the new PDP has vowed not to relent in its battle against Tukur until he leaves the position of the party's national chairman.
This is just as the group disclosed that about five governors were on their way to joining it.
The Baraje-led faction also stated that it is not rattled by last Friday's court ruling, which ordered a stop to their operations, adding that they would not retreat in their struggle to rescue PDP from those they described as usurpers.
In a telephone chat with LEADERSHIP, the spokesman of the splinter party, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze said the faction had slated a national working committee meeting for either Tuesday or Wednesday, to deliberate on how the new five governors of PDP that had indicated interest to join the Baraje faction would be received into the fold.
He however refused to volunteer specific information about the governors, adding that he was not authorised to divulge more than that.
However, Eze, in a statement said that they had studied last Friday's court ruling and that they would appeal the ruling.
The statement further reiterated that there was no division and disunity amongst its governors and National Assembly members over their current travails.
The statement reads in part, "As a group that has a lot of respect for the judiciary, we have accepted the ruling in good faith and wish to abide by it. Even so, we have directed our legal team to appeal the judgement as a matter of urgency, as we remain convinced that we have a good case and are thus determined to ensure that Tukur and his cohorts are not allowed to hold sway as the leaders of our great party.