- NEC extends Sheriff’s tenure, sets up committee on zoning
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ratified the proposal to hold its national convention fixed for May 21 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
In a remarkable show of unity, the PDP NEC said after exhaustive deliberations it has agreed to an extension of the tenure of office of all organs of the party at all levels until the conduct of congresses and national convention, with the exception of Edo and Ondo States.
A communiqué issued at the end of the 69th NEC meeting of the PDP held yesterday at the National Secretariat in Abuja, said the party approved the time-table for the party’s congresses to commence on Saturday, April 23 to culminate in the National Convention on Saturday, May 21.
The NEC meeting NEC approved the party’s guidelines for congresses and the national convention, including a decision to hold the convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The communique signed by the National Chairman, Senator Modu Sheriff and National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo also said NEC has approved the setting up of four special committees to prepare for the national convention.
The committees are national convention committee, reconciliation committee, zoning committee and finance committee.
The communique which was read by Sheriff, took a swipe on the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government for what it described as the erosion of fundamental human rights and harassment of opposition in Nigeria.
The opposition party condemned “the incessant harassment, maltreatment and unlawful incarceration of PDP leaders at various levels by government controlled law enforcement and prosecution agencies.”
It specifically condemned the last Friday’s invasion and raiding of Ekiti State House of Assembly and subsequent arrest and continued detention of four PDP members of the House by the Department of State Services (DSS) on alleged trumped-up charges.
“NEC considered the erosion of fundamental human rights and constitutionally guaranteed personal liberty of Nigeria, especially key leaders of the PDP by the APC-led federal government
“ NEC demands the immediate and unconditional release of the four PDP members of the Ekiti House of Assembly by the DSS.
“It resolved to stand in solidarity with all Nigerians whose fundamental rights as citizens are being infringed upon by the federal government and urging on the international community and all civil rights organizations world-wide to take note of the denial of fundamental human rights, abuse of liberties and freedom of individuals; and the rapid descent of Nigeria into totalitarianism.
The PDP NEC which had observed a minute silence in honour of the deceased former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, also condoled with the federal government and the Kogi State Government over the unfortunate death as well as the families of its 18 members who were brutally murdered in Ogoni land in Rivers State.
Earlier, while addressing members of the PDP NEC, Sheriff said the party leaders have reconciled their differences and are now ready to move ahead.
“I want to inform Nigerians that the PDP is now one family. All the leaders and organs of the party are now together and are now ready to move ahead. We had a meeting of our national caucus, BoT, leaders of the National Assembly and we are now one family.
I want to thank each and every member of NEC for giving me the opportunity to lead the party up till the national convention. He said that party is already on its way back to form,” he said.
On his part, the Ondo State Governor and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, said the party was now united behind Sheriff having finally laid to rest their disagreements.
Mimiko said based on the remarkable performance posted by the party in the recent re-run elections across the country, people have shown that they still have faith in the party’s ability to improve the fortunes of the country.
“I have no doubt that if we continue as a united party, we will continue to have many exploits. I would to congratulate some of our leaders who emerged victorious in recent elections, for me it is a reflection that in spite of the challenges that we have faced in recent times, many Nigerians largely hope in PDP. I think it is a challenge for us to continue on the path that will ensure the retention of the confidence Nigerians have on the party,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu assured Nigerians that PDP would continue to serve them better and we are going to ensure that there is veritable opposition in the land.
“We are going to ensure that the government of Nigeria does not degenerate into totalitarianism. We are going to protect the rights of Nigerian citizens and hold the government responsible for their promises to the people of Nigeria,” he said.
Among the prominent leaders of the PDP that attended the yesterday’s NEC meeting were governors of Ondo, Ekiti, Gombe, Enugu, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Taraba, Ebonyi (Deputy), Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, former Senate President, David Mark, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and Senator Buruji Kashamu.
State governors not represented at the meeting were Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers and Abia States.