ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has removed former governors and former deputy governors produced by the party as automatic delegates to its national convention, The Punch reports.
The national convention of the party holds in Abuja on Saturday.
It was gathered that the step was taken to make sure that the outcome of the convention was not subjected to another round of legal crisis that could overturn actions taken at the convention.
The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, was said to have taken the matter to the Thursday’s PDP National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja.
According to a document obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, Makarfi said there was the need to remove the former governors and their deputies as automatic delegates to the convention because of the ruling of an Abuja High Court.
Makarfi’s memo was titled, ‘Ammendments /Addendum to NEC approved guidelines for conduct of ward, LGA, State, Zonal congresses and the National Convention, effective November 10, 2017.’
The memo was dated November 30.
In the memo, Makarfi stated that in “paragraph 6.1 (13), page 11 of the guidelines, former governors were listed as delegates to the national convention in view of Section 33 (1) of the PDP Constitution, 2012, which came into force as a result of amendments to the party’s constitution at the December 10 to 12, 2014 national convention.
“Since section 47 (6) of the PDP Constitution 2012 achieved at the 10-12 December 2014 national convention was nullified by an FCT High Court in FCT /HC/CV /1867 //2016 Jero Vs. PDP on the grounds that the amendment did not follow laid down procedure, in particular, that it was not registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission within the period prescribed by law, it is necessary to remove former governors and former deputy governors produced by the party who are still members of the party as delegates to the national convention.”
Makarfi called on NEC “to approve the deletion of paragraph 6.1 (13) at page 11 of the guidelines which made former governors and former deputy governors produced by the party who are still members of the party (as) delegates to the national convention.”
It was gathered that the NEC voted in favour of the memo and removed former governors and former deputy governors produced by the party as automatic delegates to the convention.
However, investigations by our correspondent showed that the issue was already being addressed in a fresh amendment being proposed by the party to its constitution.
The proposed fresh amendment was said to have been sent to state chapters of the party and might be one of the issues to be addressed at the convention on Saturday.
Meanwhile, aspirants contesting different offices at the convention, especially the office of the national chairman, have continued their campaigns.
The aspirants who are running for the office of the national chairman are Prince Uche Secondus, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Chief Olabode George, Chief Gbenga Daniel, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Mr. Segun Adeyemi and Senator Rasheed Ladoja.
Adeniran said on Sunday that he was ready, adding that he had covered all the six geo-political zones of the country.
Speaking through his Director of Media, Mr. Taiwo Akeju, Adeniran said, “We are ready for the convention having covered all the six geo-political zones. We have nothing to fear,” he said.
Also, Secondus praised the enthusiasm shown by Nigerians to the plan by the party to return to power in 2019.
Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, Secondus also said he had no issues with the names of those that would conduct the convention, which had just been released.
“We must all have faith in members of our party to conduct an internal election.”
Suswam rejected as poll panel chair
A group within the PDP, Professionals for the Defence of Integrity and Equity, has written an open letter to the Chairman, PDP Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, rejecting the appointment of a former Governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, as the Chairman . Electoral Panel Committee of the party.
In the letter issued on Sunday and signed by its Chairman, Tichus Zungeru, the group said it “observes with dismay and total disgust, the purported appointment of Gabriel Suswan, a former Governor of Benue State, as the chairman of the very crucial electoral panel committee.
The letter read in part, “Mr. Suswam surely does not represent a symbol of unbiased purity, the very image of sanitising wholesomeness without which we cannot have a clean, equitable, unsoiled election.
“For one, Mr. Suswam is a known ally and sworn friend of Mr. Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, who does not hide his brazen sponsorship of Uche Secondus for the national chairmanship position of our party.
With such an obviously compromised scenario, we do not need a soothsayer to tell us how Mr. Suswan will behave as chairman of such a very important committee. Naturally he will be working for Secondus.
“Mr Suswam’s appointment is therefore unacceptable to us.”
The group further said Suswam had been tainted by various EFCC cases he had been battling with, saying, “Surely, he is hardly the right person for such a very sensitive job. We therefore demand that the national caretaker committee should strike off his name immediately.”