By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has been plagued by internal crisis has postponed its Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee meetings earlier planned for January 7 and 8.
The BoT meeting will now hold on January 15, while the NEC meeting will hold on January 16 at the PDP National Secretariat. The National Caucus meeting of the party has also been slated for January 14.
THISDAY gathered that President Goodluck Jonathan had given approval for the postponement.
Confirming the shift, the Secretary of PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibril said, "The PDP Board of Trustees meeting earlier scheduled for Tuesday, 7th January 2014 has been rescheduled to Wednesday, 15th January, 2014 at the same venue and time. Members are requested to note the change in date. All inconveniences are regretted, please."
Though, no official reason has been given for the postponement, a party source said the shift was to enable members of the National Assembly who are on break to resume.
But other sources said the postponement was aimed at providing enough time for the party’s leadership to appease those planning to use the opportunity of the meeting to bring their grievances to the fore and push for the removal of the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, who has been accused of highhandedness in the running the affairs of the party.
The party, which had seen five of its governors decamped to the All Progressives Congress (APC), has not held its NEC meeting since August 31, when the party held its special national convention where Governors Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtlala Nyako (Adamawa), Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara), Babangida Mu’azu Aliyu (Niger) and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), alongside former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and others stormed out to form the splinter PDP.
The crisis in the party snowballed into a huge conflagration recently following a bitter exchange of letters between its former board chairman, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and President Jonathan over the running of the affairs of the party and the state of the nation.
Since the August incident, there had been pressure on the leadership of the party to summon an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to address the crisis bedeviling the party.
The executive committee meeting of the party, it was gathered, would have taken place in the third week of December, but was shelved due to unspecified reasons.
Though the agenda of the meeting now slated for mid-January has not been released, it was gathered that the defection of the five governors - Governors Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtlala Nyako (Adamawa), Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara) and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), and 37 House of Representatives members would top the agenda.
The party had threatened to make the defected lawmakers to lose their seats through judicial intervention.
In another development, the Presidency yesterday threw its weight behind the decision of the Senate to investigate the controversial letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, especially as it relates to the security of the nation.
It would be recalled that the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba told news men recently that though President Jonathan had responded to the former President’s letter, but "the allegations concerning security issues in Obasanjo’s letter are weighty enough" to prompt the Senate’s investigation.
Ndoma-Egba also debunked insinuations that the legislature had compromised, insisting that the allegations made in the letter were too weighty to be glossed over hence the Senate would probe those allegations within its jurisdiction and leave those that had to do with crime and fraud to the relevant agencies.
Expressing support for the position of the senate on the issue, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe told THISDAY: "we support the position of relevant bodies like the National Assembly and the security agencies to get to the root of the allegations contained in the letter, especially regarding security issues.
"President Jonathan will be extremely glad that the Senate investigates the allegations in the letter and come out with the truth or otherwise of the allegations and make the outcome known to the public. So for us, the decision by the Senate to investigate the letter is a welcome development. The President is not worried about the planned investigation.
"We are confident that at the end of the day, the truth would be told that President Jonathan is not training any killer squad or has any intention to kill any politician or kill anyone," Okupe said.