Babangida Aliyu, Bala Mohammed, Others Seek Postponement of Convention

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  • Party cancels ward congresses in four states
  • South-west settles for secretary, other positions

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and James Sowole in Akure

Concerned leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including former Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed, have asked the party leadership to postpone the May 21 national convention in order to avert crisis.

The leaders faulted the resolutions reached at the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of party, stating that what transpired at the poorly attended NEC is inconsistent with the original PDP principles.

The position expressed by the concerned PDP group came on the heels of yet another meeting convened by a group led by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, known as G-18 last night in Abuja to add their voice to the growing concern over the contentious issue of zoning of offices ahead of the convention.

Some of the party leaders mainly former ministers who together met at a venue in Abuja to articulate their views regarding some perceived shortcomings in the party, especially decisions taken at the last NEC meeting were, former Ministers of Women Affairs, Mrs. Zainab Maina; Environment, Mr. John Odey; National Planning, Hon. Sulaiman Abubakar; Capt. Hassan Mohammed (rtd); Saidu Ndako Idris; former Minister of Women Affairs, Dr. Bolere Ketebu; and Hon. Kaulaha Aliyu.

At the close of a meeting of the leaders led by Aliyu in Abuja yesterday, they said: “That the procedure and conduct of the congresses nationwide were flawed with resultant disaffection and disagreements.”

The affected PDP chieftains said their meeting was to critically examine the current developments in the party with special reference to the ongoing ward/state congresses to culminate in the forth coming national convention.

In the statement signed by Aliyu, the leaders said the current zoning formula for the position of national chairman as adopted by only one-third of NEC is inconsistent with the original PDP principles.

“In consonance therefore, the group unanimously resolved as follows; call for the postponement of the national convention and appeal to the leadership of the party to revisit these fundamental issues to enable the party to organize and conduct a more cohesive and acceptable national convention to avert the situation whereby aggrieved members may be compelled to organise parallel congress/convention,” it said.

Meanwhile, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) has approved the cancelation of the ward congresses held last Saturday in four states, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa and Osun.

The party also dissolved the congress committees in the affected states and reconstituted a fresh committee to carry out the exercise at a later date.

THISDAY gathered from a reliable source who was privy to the letter to that effect signed by the PDP National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustaphar.

Also,the South-west chapter of the party wednesday settled for the position of National Secretary zoned to the area ahead of the National Convention of the party scheduled to hold later this month.

The acceptance of the National Secretary position in addition to the position of National Publicity Secretary, Auditor and Zonal positions, was one of the resolutions contained in a communique issued at the end of its meeting held in Akure, Ondo State capital.

The meeting held at the instance of the Ondo and Ekiti State Governors, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Ayodele Fayose, respectively, was attended by notable party leaders and former national and state political office holders from Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos, Osun and Ogun States.

The communique was read by the former Minister of Sports, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja.

It was resolved that the time was ripe for all members of the PDP in the South-west to forge a common front and pursue a common agenda towards occupying their destined leadership position in Nigeria.

“That despite the challenges confronting the PDP, the South-west caucus has agreed to unite and confront the challenges that is facing the Yoruba race in Nigeria.

“That members of the PDP have agreed to rise up beyond personal interests to confront crucial national issues that affects us as a race especially the thriving menace of the Fulani herdsmen,” it stated.

The leaders noted with dismay the poor state of the nation’s economy, expressing sadness that the current ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has not demonstrated the capacity to contain the economic challenges with attendant dwindling fortunes that have reversed almost all the economic gains recorded during the PDP reign
They lamented that the current administration had rubbished laudable accomplishments recorded by the last PDP government.

Specifically, the PDP leaders said the credible electoral processes put in place by the immediate past administration had been rubbished.

“The South-west PDP wish to put on record its dissatisfaction with the performance of the electoral body under the ruling party as all the elections the APC has so far superintended have ended as inconclusive,” the leaders added.
They declared that the party would not shy away from effectively playing the role of an opposition.

“This role is crucial to democratic survival and the party shall continually make Nigerians look up to it as a credible alternative to the ruling party.”

The meeting also resolved that the party would continue to encourage the collaboration of the old and the younger generation while it would do everything possible to allow fresh minds and fresh ideas to thrive in the party.
To share national positions zoned to the South-west, the leaders resolved that a structured committee be set up to equitably distribute the positions among the six member states.

The meeting also welcome the return of the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Adewolu Rashidi Ladoja, back to the fold of the PDP.
Ladoja was said to have sent his representatives to the meeting.