2019 Tops PDP Stakeholders’ Parley Thursday

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has scheduled an important meeting of an enlarged national caucus to discuss options to deal with the crisis in the party as well as map out strategies for the 2019 general election.

The meeting, which is scheduled to hold on Thursday this week, will have prominent PDP leaders, including governors, National Assembly members, members of the Board of the Trustees, National Executive Committee members and other key stakeholders of the party in attendance.

It was learnt that the meeting will also consider aspects of the recommendations of a special committee on strategy and inter party affairs set up late last year.

Although the report of committee is yet to be officially submitted to the party leadership, THISDAY gathered from reliable sources that it contains among other recommendations issues relating to reforms in the party, proposals for constitutional amendment and terms/forms of re-alignment in the event of unfavorable judicial pronouncement on its leadership crisis.

For instance, one of the syndicate committees headed by Prof. Tunde Adeniran was mandated to work out election-winning strategies and measures to adopt in the wake of alleged bias of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
As part of consultations with key organs of the party, the leadership of the National Caretaker Committee led by its chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi met with the representatives of the PDP Governors’ Forum and National Assembly caucus last Thursday night.

Spokesman of the PDP, Dayo Adeyeye who confirmed the agenda of the meeting in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday, said the meeting will focus on strategies to rebuild and reunite the party ahead of the 2019 election.

“Thursday’s crucial meeting is meant to strategise and chart a way forward for the party. Among those being expected at the meeting are elders of the party, governors, National Assembly caucus and NEC members,” he said.

Speaking on the state of affairs in the party, especially with the atmosphere of uncertainty brought about by the pending Appeal Court judgment of the PDP crisis, Adeyeye said there is some measure of optimism that the judicial pronouncement will put an end to the dispute.

“I would say we have started the year with a lot of optimism with the hope that all our issues will be resolved by both Court of Appeal sitting both in Port Harcourt and Abuja; we hope that the decision of the court will lay to rest all the disputes in PDP and from there we can move forward.

“We don’t know what the judgment would be like but whatever the case may be as far as we are concerned whether we win or lose we believe that a clear pronouncement will remove the indemnity that persist in the minds of people right now as regards that state of affairs in the PDP.

“If the judgment is against us, fine, we will move to the next step and take a decision on what to do and if it is also in our favour we will also take the next step and see how we can move forward. But we don’t like the present state of ambiguity where people aren’t very sure because of conflicting pronouncements of the High Court both at the federal and state level regarding dispute between the PDP and the rebellious group that is challenging the authority of the National Caretaker committee.

“Once the court makes a fundamental pronouncement we hope that we can then proceed to working with all our organs and states to organise a hitch free convention this time around that will elect the executives that will work to produce the next government of the federal republic of Nigeria.”

The PDP Spokesman said majority of the PDP members who are in solidarity with caretaker committee will not want to be caught napping in the event of any court ruling that tends to put the future of the party in jeopardy.

“Of course we shouldn’t find ourselves completely helpless in a case of an unfavourable judgment which I am hopeful that by the grace of God the court being very reasonable and straightforward I believe that we are going to win in the Court of Appeal by the grace of God all things being equal and from there we would proceed.

Our hands of fellowship will still be open to all the people who are rebelling and agitating as you have said and who have cause extreme pain to the party,” he said.

Makarfi had said during an interview shortly after a meeting with PDP governors at the Asokoro residence of the Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose that the meeting of enlarged national caucus of the opposition party will be summoned on Thursday to further discus on the way forward for the party.