PDP Meets Wednesday to Consider Constitutional Amendments

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  • State congresses take place tomorrow

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be convened next Wednesday to debate on its proposed constitution ahead of the scheduled May 21 national convention.

In continuation of the nationwide congresses embarked upon by the opposition party, PDP will hold the last lap of the exercise tomorrow when the party members file out to elect state executives.

Following the loss suffered by the party at the last presidential election, it set up a post-election review panel which among other issues, identified some reforms needed in order to address problems and shortcomings of the party.

The review panel headed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, made some far-reaching recommendations which was later approved by the NEC but required the amendment of the constitution before they can be implemented.

One of such recommendations made by the panel is that the party should henceforth adopt the direct primaries for nominating its candidates for elective offices.

What this implies is that the current delegate system would be done away with and amendment to that effect, and  will be carried during the convention.

Speaking to THISDAY on some of the issues that will form the basis for the constitutional amendment, the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Mr. Victor Kwom, said the party is considering an amendment to enable it elect two deputy national chairmen instead of one as is presently the case.

“Another recommendation that NEC approved is that the provisions for waiver should be strengthened to discourage abuse of the process. There is also a recommendation that the party should adopt biometrics system of membership registration so that details and number of  members can be properly captured. All these will require constitutional amendments during the convention.

“Beyond the recommendations of the Ekwerenmadu panel, the party realises that it is now in opposition and that there are certain provisions which were made because the party was in government that needed to be changed to be in line with current realities. For instance, in compositions of the executive committees of the party from the ward level to the national, there was no provision for the former presidents, governors, or senate president because then it was assumed that the party will be having a sitting president and governors. So the reality of the day is that the provisions as it were will no longer be as representative as necessary, hence the need for an amendment,” he said.