Scheduled inauguration of peace panel fails to hold
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A huge doubt has been cast on the new reconciliatory move aimed at resolving the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the inauguration of the reconciliation committee scheduled for yesterday failed to hold as planned.
The inauguration of the committee failed to hold despite the presence of some party chieftains including state chairmen and other stakeholders of the party at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, venue of the event.
However, the Secretary of the PDP caretaker committee, Senator Ben Obi, told THISDAY that the reason for putting the inauguration of the reconciliation committee on hold was because the two sides did not outline the terms of reference for their assignment.
Obi who spoke with THISDAY on telephone late last night in Abuja, promised that the two sides were working out modalities for the take-off of the peace panel, adding that everyone including the governors are involved in the effort.
Both the two key actors in the conflict and the National Chairman of a PDP faction, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who gave assurances last week that the inauguration of the joint peace panel would take place yesterday, failed to show up along with other party leaders.
Those who showed up were restricted to the reception lobby as the hotel officials said there was no hall booked for the event.
It was gathered that Sheriff was the one who made the choice for the hotel after he rejected the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre proposed by the National Caretaker Committee as venue for the inauguration.
“Sheriff said he wanted a neutral venue not the Yar’Adua Centre because that was where the caretaker committee holds most of its meetings. He is the one that was supposed to book for the hall,” a staff of the party disclosed.
The factional Chairman was also said to have refused to release the names of his nominees to the reconciliation committee. Each of the factions was expected to nominate 14 members who would make up the 28-member of the reconciliation committee.
After spending about 45 minutes waiting for the inauguration, journalists were advised to return to their offices “instead of loitering around.” They were promised to be contacted if there was any development.
The Special Adviser to Sheriff on media, Inuwa Bwala, when contacted, said there were issues with the committee’s terms of reference. He however, could not offer further explanation.
Bwala disclosed that Sheriff would not attend the inauguration.
Also, when contacted, Adeyeye said he was not in Abuja and did not know why the event did not hold.
He expressed surprise that the inauguration failed to hold, adding, “So it did not hold? I am in Ekiti now. I will call to find out,” he added.