After the “war” that ravaged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party, which is the biggest political party in Africa has resolved to hold a special convention in Abuja next month to officially begin to draw the blue print that would enable them walk their way back to power come 2019. The incumbent party in power, the All Progressive Congress (APC) have been disappointing to Nigerians because the high expectations they promised while campaigning has shown that talk is cheap indeed.
The special convention, we gathered is meant to allow for the extension of the tenure of the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee for a period within which the party would plan another convention to pick its national officers. The caretaker committee was first set up to work for 90 days on May 21, 2016 at the party’s Port Harcourt national convention where the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led National Working Committee was dissolved. Its life span was later extended by 12 months in another convention that held again in Port Harcourt on the 17th of August, 2016.
At its 74th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting yesterday in Abuja, the party explained that the holding of the special convention would be crucial since it would be practically impossible to conduct an elective convention before the expiration of the tenure of the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee on August 16, 2017. Briefing journalists after the NEC meeting, the spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, said: “We have been in court since May 2016. So, the prolonged litigation over the national leadership tussle ended only last week when the Supreme Court gave judgement in favour of the National Caretaker Committee, leaving barely one month for the conduct of proper elective national convention. Taking into account the relevant statutory notice that we need to give to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the requirements of the PDP Constitution 2012 (as amended), practically, it is going to be impossible to have an elective national convention before August 16. Our own constitution has some special provisions that we have to meet and there’s no time to meet up with those provisions.
“Therefore, NEC took a decision that in view of all the circumstances, NEC invoking the powers conferred on it under Section 31 (2a), decided to convene non-elective national convention on August 12, 2017 in Abuja.” Adeyeye also disclosed that the party has dissolved the parallel caretaker committees set up in Jigawa and Benue states by the Supreme Court-dethroned leadership of Ali Modu Sheriff. According to Adeyeye, those parallel caretaker committees were appointed against the constitution of the party and in conflict with already existing state executive committees which were validly put in place. The NEC meeting also resolved to establish a standing disciplinary panel as well as another standing committee for reconciliation.
With the setting up of the standing committee for reconciliation, the earlier national reconciliation committee headed by the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, stands dissolved. It was also learnt that the setting up of a standing disciplinary committee was informed by the need to address mounting pressure by key party leaders to sanction all those who played negative roles during its prolonged crisis. Adeyeye said that the no-victor, no- vanquished declaration by the party was still valid. On constitution amendment, the party during the NEC meeting directed that draft copies be circulated to members to study before the non-elective convention.