- S’West zonal congress on hold
- Fayose slams elders’ group
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that it would go ahead with its national convention scheduled for next Satuday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, despite calls for its postponement by a group of party elders.
Regardless, the party has suspended its zonal congress in the South-West, scheduled to hold tomorrow, in deference to an injunction issued by a Lagos High Court.
The PDP elders under the aegis of Concerned PDP Stakeholders, who met in Abuja on Thursday, had faulted the extension of tenure granted the national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff by National Executive Committee (NEC), saying that only the national convention had such powers.
They described as nullity and of no effect, all actions taken by the NEC and National Working Committee (NWC), including the ongoing congresses and the May 21 National Convention.
However, the party’s National Secretary, Professor Adewale Oladipo and Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, dismissed the aggrieved group’s position, saying that nothing could stop the convention.
Professor Oladipo said the delegates to the national convention had been duly elected right from the ward congress and that they, along with other statutory delegates, were expected to participate in the Port Harcourt convention.
“There are also statutory delegates like former governors, former chairmen, Senators, House of Representatives members. The court injunction is not going to affect the National Convention,” Oladipo said.
Meanwhile, on the suspended zonal congresses in the South-West,Oladipo said the party had been duly served with court order and that it would abide by the decision.
“We are in receipt of an order from the Federal High Court in Lagos which had ordered us to put a stop to the exercise pending when the case filed is heard and resolved. As a law abiding political party, we have been served this order.
“I, as the National Secretary of the party, and Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju, the National Auditor, who are the two representatives of the zone, want to tell you that the party has decided to abide by the order,” Oladipo added.
Chief Gbenga Otemolu, South West zonal Secretary, on behalf of the zonal executive, had approached the court demanding the suspension of the congress on the ground that their tenure had not expired.
But the National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who is already in Taraba State for the North East zonal congress, said he was yet to be communicated on the court order.
“I have not received any court order. I am in Taraba preparing for my congress. I have not seen the National Secretary. He was meant to be in Osun.
“I have given directives before I left that there should be a congress. I will only stop when court gives me order to stop. The National Secretary, I have not seen him, I have not spoken to him. I am in Taraba right now trying to do my congress,” Sheriff said on telephone.
On his part, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who was at PDP National Secretariat on Thursday night, insisted that the congress would still hold.
Fayose also slammed the party elders for trying to always impose their will on the party. “You can wish anything but God’s plan for the PDP is that the 21st May convention cannot be stopped,” he said.
According to him, most of the people running to court to get injunction against the party do not have followers.
The governor, who described the PDP founding fathers as “wonderful people”, however, advised that they should give room to the younger generation to excel.