• To meet Jonathan, IBB, Tukur today
•AD not in merger talks with PDP, says national auditor
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
In a bid to consolidate on efforts at re-building and rebranding its image, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has kick-started moves to hold consultations with key political leaders in the country most of whom were the founding fathers of the party.
THISDAY gathered that the Strategy Review and Inter-party Relations headed by Prof. Jerry Gana has been given an additional task of spearheading the moves to reach out to these elders and founding fathers of the party and to get them to understand the shape of things and for them to buy into it.
It was learnt that having successfully concluded its initial assignment, the Jerry Gana-led committee has been asked by the party leadership to go ahead mobilising support for the recommendations made by the committee.
According to an itinerary on the consultative visits issued by the party at the weekend and signed by the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on Publicity, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, the party is to kick-start its consultations with separate meetings with former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, ex-military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd) and former National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, today.
While confirming the move by the party, a former minister and a Chairman of one of the PDP’s syndicate committees, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, said it had become very necessary to consult with these political leaders to acquaint them with current developments in the party.
Adeniran, who spoke with THISDAY on telephone yesterday afternoon, said the idea was to reassure them of the resolve of the party to turn a new leaf and restore the party to its original vision and mission.
“We intend to meet the stakeholders, everybody, including the founding fathers of the party, to intimate them on the present situation in the party and the efforts being made to reposition the party.
“We intend to go back to the core values of the party, the mission and vision of the party so that genuine internal democracy can be restored. We want to make sure that thing becomes as it should. No doubts, some mistakes have been made in the past where due process was not followed in many things and then the triumph of impunity and lack of succession in leadership, all these things are to be corrected now.
“So we believe that the ways of doing things such that people’s confidence will be restored to the party and for the them to support the party and lift it up to take over power again. For us to achieve this, we believe that every stakeholder is important, particularly the founding fathers of the party,” he said.
The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, had while receiving the report of the Strategy Review and Inter-party committee last week, pledged that the leadership would work hard to win back the support of all those who might have been frustrated out of the party over past actions of the leadership.
In his speech, the former Governor of Kaduna State apologised and urged such party members to give the party another chance.
He said every effort would now be made to ensure strict adherence to the principle of internal democracy and that the days when impunity reigned was over.
Meanwhile, the National Auditor of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Mr. Ismail Ayodel, has disassociated the party and its leadership from the recent gathering of the main opposition party, the PDP and other political parties in Abuja, saying the party is not in any merger talk with any party.
He said this at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, while answering questions from journalists.
Ayodele who said his political party was never part of that gathering, said whoever must have gone there and claimed to be the national leader of AD is an imposture.
“The person does not have the position of a national leader; no one can claim to be the national leader of the party. As I speak to you now, the party is yet to constitute its Board of Trustees (BoT). If the party is yet to constitute its BoT how can an impostor claim to be the party’s BoT chairman,” he stated.
He said the party had strongly condemned the use of its name by an impostor to deceive the Nigerian public that the AD was in merger talks with the PDP and other parties.
He added: “ In time past, the Koleosho group then in AD wanted to merge with the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ANC) but we wrote the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and we were allowed to fill the vacancies they left behind through a convention. As we speak today, it is only the PDP and the AD that has not changed name or merged with any other political party since 1999.
“AD as a political party has no enemy but friends; it does not rule out possible alliance (s) with any other political party.
“AD as a political party is a friend to all political parties where it is necessary for us to go into an alliance with any other political party for the good of Nigerians and the good of democracy will go into an alliance or adopt another party’s candidate but not a merger,” he said.
He warned the public to stop associating the AD with any form of merger as the party will never consider merger as long as the country and democracy remain.
“The AD will never go into a merger even in the next 200 years if Nigerian remains in democracy,” he added.