- Sets up committee to reconcile members Nominal roll now 141 in lower chamber
James Emejo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives thursday extended an olive branch to all aggrieved members of the party as well as those who had defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during PDP’s leadership crisis which has now been resolved by the Supreme Court.
Addressing journalists after a meeting of the caucus, the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta), expressed satisfaction that the crisis which was a major issue in the party had now been laid to rest.
He said the party’s doors were now opened to as many that had left and those willing to join the party.
He warned the party could resort to legal actions against those who refuse to return and still hold on to the party’s ticket.
It further emerged that the crisis which rocked the party may have reduced its members in the lower chamber to 141 from about 154 members at the inception of the 8th National Assembly.
He said: “We’ve tasted two years of APC government and tasted almost 16 years of PDP government and I can tell you very clearly that this journey is a journey that nobody will want to start all over again.
For whatever has happened, we have put our differences aside. For those that are out there, their house is still open. They cannot abandon the house that they have built.
“These doors are still open to all of them and they must come back so that we can put our house together, reorganise the party, give the party back to the grassroots and give to the Nigerian people a government that’ll make sure there’s no hunger in the land; a government that’ll make sure there’s security for everybody and a government that’ll cater for the well-being of Nigerians.”
According to him: “We would wave the olive branch at them; the House itself has set up a committee to look into the subject matter where we know this umbrella is big enough to occupy everybody and the incomings. We’ve decided as a caucus to wave the olive branch and ask them to come back home because they are considered the prodigal son in this scenario and definitely they’ll come back home.
“And for those who do not, and decides to probably out of shame to stay back behind, you know the provisions of Section 68 of the constitution, the judiciary is there to pursue our case but I believe we are not going to get to that level.”
He said: “We’ll probably receive them because we consider them as our brother, our family and the ticket on which they stand is that of our party and is not an individual ticket.
“But I can tell you that all those people that left are on their way back. You know there’s no way they can run away because we gave them the ticket…and the door is already open for the APC members who really know that there’s no room in that particular sector are also coming back. We will not announce it but we know there are coming because they know APC is an amalgamation of strange bed fellows.”
The group, in its official reaction to the apex court’s ruling which affirmed Ahmed Makarfi as national chairman of the opposition party, described the contest as no victor, no vanquish urging that all hands must be on deck to rebuild the party ahead of the 2019 elections.
Ogor, flanked by party members said: “It’s important we acknowledge the fact that it was a clear family crisis and we need to point out that as dedicated PDP members (PDP marians) there’s no victor and no vanquish. We have leant our lessons, no matter how you look at them, we consider this victory for democracy, it’s gone a very long way in strenghtening democratic principles and ethos. It’s one great opportunity for us to congratulate all PDP-marians who stood firm in the midst of this crisis.
“This shows clearly that the party must be more democratic in its internal affairs. We want to sincerely from the bottom of our hearts appreciate the judiciary. We’ve always emphasised that this is one institution that we must all revere. What has happened today has shown very clearly that it’s not only justice for the PDP, it’s justice for democratic principles and ethics. It’s shown also clearly that we have great hope in our judiciary.”
He said: “It therefore means that for democracy to thrive, there must be viral opposition which the judiciary have acknowledged this fact. The PDP shall aspire for a more perfect union of the Nigerian people. You all have seen very clearly the challenges that have befallen us as a people. We must work to avert the confusion and crisis of the past two years of the APC government.
“It’s important we acknowledge the fact that we know very well that what we have been seeing is one step forward and almost six steps backwards. This is not our dream, for almost two years, we have not been able to take any major decision in the interest of the Nigerian people.
“I believe that what has happened from all indications has strengthened the PDP people and I consider this a quit notice not just an ordinary quit notice but to also tell the APC government that you must sit tight and prepare to do what you are elected to do.
It therefore beholds on every Nigerian to come on board because we must work together in the interest of the project called Nigeria. It’s also important that every Nigerian must adopt democratic institutions where our institutions will be given all legal framework deserved.
“So come 2019, we shall restore true democratic governance where power belongs to the people.”