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August 31 Date for PDP Special Convention Stays

18 Jul 2013

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Bamanga Tukur

•Jonathan brokers truce between Gana committee, NWC 

•Party leaders to chair key sub committees

Chuks Okocha

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is to go ahead with preparations for its special national convention earlier slated  for August 31 before its suspension by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

THISDAY checks revealed yesterday, that the decision to hold the convention on the day was reached at a peace meeting President Goodluck Jonathan had with warring NWC members and those of the Special National Convention Planning Committee, chaired by Prof. Jerry Gana, at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday night.

The simmering crisis of confidence between the NWC and the Gana committee boiled over on Monday as the party directed the ad hoc committee to suspend preparations for the convention until all contending issues have been regularised.

It also ordered the Gana committee to halt further preparations for the special South-west zonal congresses.

The party, in a statement by its interim spokesman, Mr. Tony Okeke, had said the NWC took the decision at its meeting on Monday “in view of the anomalies and breaches of the constitution of the PDP observed in the actions so far taken by the Special National Convention Planning Committee.”

However, with the president’s intervention at the meeting attended by PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and Gana along with a few members of the NWC and the convention committee, it was agreed that the special national congress and the zonal one should go ahead as earlier scheduled.

It was also gathered that as part of the peace deal, the chairmanship of some strategic sub committees of the special convention committee would be reserved for NWC members.

In furtherance of the peace efforts, Jonathan would have a breakfast meeting with the NWC members today at the State House to properly brief them about the details of the peace deal reached at the Tuesday talks.

According to a source, “The special national convention will hold on August 31 and the South-west congress will also take place on August 24. This is one of the main agreements of the meeting.”

On the rationale for conceding the chairmanships of some sub committees of the special convention committee to the NWC, the source said it was anomalous for the chairmanships of the publicity, protocol and four other sub committees to be chaired by non-NWC members.

“The chairmanships of these sub committees like publicity, welfare, protocol, election and other related sub committees are reserved for members of the NWC because of the sensitive nature of these offices and because these offices have a lot to do with the day-to-day running of the party.

“Look at what the convention committee under Gana did in the appointments of chairmen and members of some sub committees. For instance, it is a tradition that the chairman of the sub committee on publicity should be the party’s national publicity secretary; but in the announcement signed by the Secretary of the convention committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who is also the Deputy Senate President, the national publicity secretary was made just a member.

“The national organising secretary was not even mentioned as a chairman of any committee while the women leader, who is the traditional person to be in charge of welfare, was made an ordinary member of the welfare sub committee. In the publication, Senator Ita Giwa, was made the chairman of the welfare committee,” the source added.

He said it was agreed at the Tuesday meeting that the chairmanships of the key sub committees would be given to their traditional chairmen, adding that the breakfast meeting with the president would help to assure the NWC members that the Gana committee was not out to marginalise them.

The source also explained that the meeting rebuked Tukur for locking out Ekweremadu and Gana, who came to his house to brief him on the level of preparations for the special national convention.

Following the agreement reached at the meeting, the Gana committee was directed to continue preparations for the August 31 national convention.
It was also gathered that with the agreement, there was no need for holding a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party as earlier mulled by some stakeholders as some of the perceived anomalies and constitutional breaches have been regularised.

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured, August 31, PDP Special Convention

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