PDP Woos Obasanjo, Atiku, Saraki, Kwankwaso, Others
By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vowed yesterday that it will ensure the return of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki and all those who held top political offices under the party’s platform.
The national chairman of the party, Sen Ahmed Makarfi, stated this while inaugurating three party committees namely convention, disciplinary and reconciliation.
Former foreign affairs minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, is the head of the disciplinary committee, while governors of Rivers and Gombe States, Nyesom Wike and Ibrahim Dankwambo, will serve as co-chairmen of the reconciliation committee, with governor of Delta State heading the convention committee.
In the build up to the 2015 general election, Obasanjo had monitored the shredding of his PDP membership card and much later declared his resignation from partisan politics.
Atiku and Saraki alongside five PDP governors namely Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, also led members from the lower chamber to join the APC.
But yesterday, Makarfi charged the reconciliation committee to extend their assignment to the founding members of the party, noting that it should not be restricted to pre-2015 alone.
The party chairman told the committee that they should reach out to the founding fathers of the party under the aegis of Group of 34 members and ensure that they bring back members who held high positions.
He also added that the committee should reach out to “former high ranking government officials who came into office under the aegis of the PDP.
“This includes President, vice, governors and former senate president, speaker of House of Representatives and all other former top ranking members in the party.
Everybody that was in PDP at one time or the other should be reconciled with.
It is not limited to pre-2015”, Makarfi added.
The national chairman who further stated that the committee could also reconcile with politicians who were never members of PDP, however, stressed that “it must not be based on any conditionality”.
He noted that all party members who weathered the storm will not be abandoned, even as he said, “We cannot foreclose opportunity for those who stay behind through the turbulent period of the party.
On his part, former minister of foreign affairs, Tom Ikimi, disclosed that the former PDP members who defected to the APC were on their way back.
The former minister who was chairman of the APC merger committee further said that APC’s 2015 victory was secured by PDP defectors.
He said, “APC is now dying and is almost dead. I am aware that they were able to win in 2015 because of members of PDP who defected there.
“I have it on good authority that key members who left PDP and joined APC are now returning to the party. I will like us to receive then with open hands and we will rebuild the party”.
Ikimi added that it was important to instill discipline in the party, just as he assured they are not out to bring down anybody.
He noted that the disciplinary committee will work closely with reconciliation committee to ensure PDP members who left return.
On his part, former national publicity secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, urged the party to remain focused in their constructive criticism of the APC-led government with regards to the state of economy and governance.
Noting that the attitude of the government has not changed, he said, “This government has nothing to offer. Let us keep our eyes on economy and governance and make them know that PDP can do things better.”
Also speaking, on his part, former deputy Senate president, Ibrahim Mantu, advised the party to elect people that will lead it right, saying “we will make sure we get the best leader to lead us”.
PDP Staff Decry Neglect
Meanwhile, staffers of the PDP national secretariat, Wadata Plaza, Abuja yesterday said they are not happy with the sudden change of attitude towards them, especially in areas of their welfare by the leadership of the party after the Supreme Court Judgment in July, 2017.
The staff aired their grievances at the party’s national secretariat during the 61st birthday anniversary of their national chairman, Sen. Makarfi.
They decried the total lacklustre attitude of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC), towards them, lamenting over the nonpayment of June and July salaries and called on party leaders to come to their rescue.
A member of the staff management cadre who wants to remain anonymous testified that during the leadership crisis, the Caretaker Committee used to take staff welfare as their major priority and complied with payments.
He, however, blamed the long delay in the payment of salaries and other emoluments on some NCC members who are bent on cutting down their salaries.
“We are not happy at all, he said. Look at the loyalty displayed by staff of this party during the 14 months period of the leadership crisis. We stood with the NCC and the Organs of the Party, despite the inducements, threats and blackmail by Senator Sheriff. Is this how they want to reward us for remaining loyal?” She queried.
Another member of the staff welfare forum said, “The situation is becoming worse every day, our staff are hungry, many of them have no houses to live in due to nonpayment of rent. This is not fair at all and we are calling on all party stakeholders to please come to our rescue”.
Crisis Engulfs APDA
Meanwhile, crisis erupted yesterday in the newly registered Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (ADPA) as some stake holders met in Abuja and sacked the Alhaji Shittu Kabiru Muhammad-led Interim National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
The stakeholders insisted that the tenures of NWC members had expired since June 14 this year in line with the constitution of the party and that the meeting of yesterday complied with the party’s constitution as well as the provisions of the electoral Act as amended.
The following are the new National Officers of the Party: Mr Mainasa Illo, national chairman; Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, chairman, Board of Trustee; Mr Amobi Nwosu, National Secretary; Alhaji Muhammed Tanko, deputy national chairman (North); Dr Fijabi Adebo, deputy national chairman (South) and Mr Ide Felix Equabor, national publicity secretary among others
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting, the new national chairman, Illo, pointed out that the former NWC ought to have organized a proper meeting to either extend their tenures or elect new officers in line with constitution of the party when their tenures expired but failed to do so for reasons best known to them.
He said that the meeting also resolved to partake fully in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, even as itl approved the relocation of the party’s national secretariat to another spacious location in Abuja.
However, another statement was issued indicating that the party’s working committee approved the suspension of Raymond Dokpesi, Dan Nwanyanwu, and Mainasara Ilo from the party.
The statement was signed by Emeka Okengwu, its national secretary.
Okengwu said Dokpesi and the two others were suspended for unlawful gathering in the name of the party and violating APDA constitutional provision of holding an “illegal” national executive council meeting sacking the national working committee of the party.
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