Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
AHEAD of the 2019 general elections, notable contention has continued to bedevil the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), even as the party unanimously zoned the Presidential position to Nigeria’s North at its national convention held on Saturday, May 21, 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
The unanimous decision to zone the Presidential position of the PDP in the 2019 elections to the Northern part of Nigeria, followed a motion by Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, former Governor of Niger State and seconded by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
The seeming crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party however worsened on Saturday as governors of the party sacked the party chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff and appointed former Kaduna state governor, Ahmed Makarfi as caretaker chairman.
The party chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff had announced the suspension of the convention in Port harcourt, citing the need to settle outstanding court cases and reconcile aggrieved factions especially those that held another convention in Abuja.
But as soon as Sheriff and members of the National Working Committee left the convention venue, some party stalwarts inclusive of some governors vowed to continue the convention and proceeded to dissolve the party National Working Committee.
Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi emerged the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party and Dr. Ben Obi as his Secretary, shortly after Senator Godswill Akpabio moved the motion to set up a National Caretaker Committee to manage the affairs of the party pending the organizing of another national convention to conduct election within 90 days. The motion was seconded by Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State.
Hon. Odion Ugbesia will represent South South geo-political zone in the committee.
While the Makarfi group claimed the Port Harcourt convention which was declared open by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, was duly convened, the Sheriff group said the convention closed once the chairman proclaimed a suspension.
A swift statement issued by the PDP which announced the management committee at the Port Harcourt convention reads:
“The leadership of our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party came to the rescue at the 2016 National Convention in Port Harcourt after the cancellation of the Convention by the former Chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff due to court orders.
“The leadership of the Party swiftly constituted a Committee to manage the affairs of the PDP and conduct another Convention after all the pending cases in courts are resolved.
“To that regard, the 2016 National Convention approved the nomination of Senator Ahmed Makarfi as Chairman and Sen. Ben Obi as Secretary of the Committee Respectfully. Other members of the Committee shall be announced later.
“The two officers have been sworn in immediately.”
Meanwhile, some elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) including Senator Ibrahim Mantu and Prof Jerry Gana have challenged the appointment of an Interim Chairman for the party.
The duo who are co-chairmen of the Concerned Peoples Democratic Party Stakeholders, had on Saturday in Abuja, declared that the Board of Trustees should take over the running of the party in the event of dissolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“There is a body that is constitutionally mandated to take over the affairs of the party and that body is the conscience of the party called the Board of Trustees.
“There shouldn’t be any vacuum and we are concerned that what is coming out of the party from Port Harcourt may likely deepen our disagreement.
“In this situation, therefore, the BOT leadership must take up its responsibilities over the reign of the affairs of the party.”
But Senator Wale Jubril, who is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP attended the Port Harcourt convention where he said, “we will bring everybody together, this party is for all of us and we will come back to power in 2019.”
Also at the Port Harcourt convention, Chairman, PDP Governors Forum, Dr Olusegun Mimiko flanked by all the PDP Governors stated, “We will do everything within our endeavour to strengthen our party, we did not know how to conduct elections and make them inconclusive, we believe in the rule of law. The PDP will continue to do what it knows how to do -uniting the country; the PDP states will continue to provide unmatched governance, we encourage Nigerians to remain united.”
Earlier in a welcome address, the Chairman of the convention committee, Barr. Nyesom Wike said, “today, Nigerians know that we have only one united party, that is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
Delegates from different states of the country attended the convention which was witnessed by officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Recall that a federal High Court had recently ordered that 18 national offices of the party are not vacant but was revalidated on Friday by the same court in Lagos state.
The stage is now set to see which of the factions will claim the Wadata secretariat of the party on Monday as the Sheriff group insisted its remains the legally recognized leadership of the party.
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