Report on realignment ready in January A’Court suspends further hearing on PDP
leadership tussleTobi Soniyi and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it will not go into a political alliance or change its name in the same manner the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) did in order to avoid the problems the APC was currently experiencing in governance.
Leading opposition political parties, including the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) had in their bid to wrest power from the PDP, which had been in power for 14 years, collapsed their structures in 2013 to form the APC.
However, the PDP said yesterday that rather than allow its name to be subsumed under a new party, it would seek to retain its name and absorb willing political parties and groups so that together they can confront the APC in 2019 elections.
Speaking at the end of the meeting of the Strategy and Inter-party Affairs Committee which took place at Ajuji Hotel in Abuja, a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said significant progress had been made in the areas of mobilising party members nationwide and realignment talks with other friendly political groups and individuals.
He said committee would meet in the middle of January to consider the final report which would be submitted to the party’s leadership by end of January.
On the progress of re-alignment negotiations, Gana said: “I would not like to give details of what is being recommended. But the PDP is desirous of attracting all lovers of democracy across the country as we move forward. But there are details I cannot divulge at the moment because the committee’s recommendation will be pass on to the party leadership. It will not be wise for me to disclose the details before we submit the report.”
Speaking further on the issue of the reported move to form a mega party, Gana said though his committee is not yet aware of plans to form a mega, it was ready to welcome all lovers of democracy for alignment talks.
“All we can say is that the party want to relate with lovers of democracy in all the parties. We have a syndicate committee working on this chaired by former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu. They are to give us the guidelines for any re-alignment plan and the number of parties that are willing to join us.
“Our engagement will be based on principle, clear guidelines. But that does not mean that we degenerate to what is happening to the ruling party. PDP wants solid and united party. PDP is the only party that can found in every ward, and it is the only party that has not changed it name, and we are not going to change the name of out party.
“There are 11 syndicates which were assigned different aspects such as mobilisation, congress and national convention committee, internal discipline and party democracy, constitutional review. The committee is making good progress,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in Abuja has postponed indefinitely further hearing on the appeal on the leadership crisis in the PDP.
Justice Ibrahim Saulawa who presided at the hearing yesterday said that further hearing on the appeal had been suspended to enable the Port Harcourt’s division to conclude hearing on a related appeal.
He said the Court of Appeal would await the outcome of the appeal before the Port Harcourt Division of the court.
The decision followed a motion that was filed by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party. The group had through its counsel, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), urged the appellate court panel to temporarily hands-off the suit filed by the Senator Ahmed Markafi-led faction of the party.
They hinged their request on the fact that the court in Port Harcourt had already heard the matter before it and reserved its judgment.
The three pending appeals that were put on hold by the Justice Saulawa-led panel yesterday were marked CA/A/402/2016; CA/A/402A/2016 and CA/A/402D/M/2016.
The appellants are challenging the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered on June 30, which recognised Sheriff as National Chairman of the party.
Justice Abang had in the said judgment, maintained that Sheriff has the authority to take decisions for the party, including briefing of lawyers to represent the interest of the PDP in court.
The Sheriff-led faction was in the three appeals, sued as the 1st and 2nd respondents in the appeal by two chieftains of the party in Ondo and Edo states, Chief Benson Akingboye and Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, respectively.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), was cited as the third respondent in the three appeals.