Stop Harassing Our Leaders, PDP Warns Buhari, APC 

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• Ekweremadu, Secondus point way to victory
•Reconciliation panel set to meet Adedoja

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded a stop to alleged harassment and intimidation of its members by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The warning by the PDP came just as the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, said the new executive was poised to rediscover the winning magic of the party and to reignite the fire that once made Nigeria a shining beacon in Africa.

Similarly, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, has said the opposition would field a presidential candidate with popularity that would outmatch any candidate presented by the APC in the 2019 election.

Secondus, who spoke yesterday when members of PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) paid the National Working Committee (NWC) a courtesy call at the party national secretariat, Wadata House, Abuja, said the rate at which leaders of the party were being harassed was getting out of hand.

The national chairman was particularly  angry over the alleged hounding of the former Senate President, David Mark, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that, “there is no where in the world where a former Senate President has been harassed like this before.

“APC should stop intimidating our leaders,  we will no longer take it, enough is enough! They don’t need to attack us, they should fulfill what they promised us. Enough of this, we are not in a military government. What I am telling them is that God is not sleeping. When the time comes, the people will speak through their votes.”

Speaking at a two-day retreat for the newly elected NWC on the determination of the party to return back to power in 2019, Secondus said efforts will be geared towards repackaging the PDP and to unveil it to the Nigerian electorate so as to regain their confidence.
According to Secondus, PDP will be taking a cue from the International Republican Institute (IRI) which said the party lost the election because of its inability to recognise the power of social media and its failure to harmonise its communication channels.

“We must therefore begin to invest in our party with the aim of repackaging and eventually unveiling a reformed PDP to the Nigerian electorate, so as to regain their confidence. We must redefine who we are in the minds of Nigerians, down to the grass-root level,” he said”
Secondus said the two-day retreat is a self-reawakening; to give everyone a say in the outcome, a chance to fully participate in crafting the key strategies to move the party forward.

In his remarks, Ekwerenmadu said the emergence of Secondus as PDP’s national chairman has struck fear in the minds of the APC leaders who sees him as an experienced political tactician capable of swaying victory to his side
On the party’s presidential ticket, Ekweremadu urged the NWC to provide a level playing ground for all interested and qualified aspirants.
He said: “Of utmost importance in the build up to 2019 election year is our choice of presidential candidate. The fate and political fortunes of the party depend on the party’s presidential candidate.

“The party must therefore identify a candidate with the credentials, reach, charisma, competence and popularity to outmatch any candidate presented by the ruling APC and any other party for that matter.”
The Jostle for the PDP’s presidential ticket seemed to have taken off as one of the presidential hopeful and former Governor Jigwa State, Sule Lamido, yesterday stormed the national secretariat of the PDP with his supporters.

Lamido later met with the new leadership of the party behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the PDP has said the Anambra State Caretaker Committee led by Chukwudi Umeaba would remain in office until  a fresh state congress is held.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said the Anambra State congress would be held at a later date and time to be determined and announced by the NWC.
“That the Anambra State Caretaker Committee led by Umeaba continues to subsist and pilot the affairs of the party in the state until a state congress is held.

“The NWC of the PDP yesterday, December 19, 2017, reviewed the state of our great  party in Anambra State and resolved as follows:

“That the ward congresses as declared by the Appeals Committee are upheld. That the local government congresses as declared by the appeals committee are upheld.
“All members of the party, particularly in Anambra State should be guided by this resolution.”
Meanwhile, in a bid to forestall any relapse to legal tussle in the PDP, the Chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee, Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriaka Dickson, has expressed his preparedness to engage  the aggrieved chairmanship aspirants, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja.

Dickson who gave the hint at retreat for the newly elected national executive of the party, said the committee would meet with Adedoja with a view to persuading him to withdraw his suit against the party.

Adedoja, a former Minister of Youth and Sports, said he filed a suit at an Abuja Federal High Court to challenge the outcome the election which saw the emergence of Secondus as the national chairman.
The aspirant claimed that his name was wrongly spelt as “Taoheed Oladoja” thereby misleading delegates and robbing him of victory at the convention.