There’s palpable tension and sudden cessation of activities in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the feasibility of its proposed national convention earlier scheduled for this weekend in Abuja, as the much anticipated ruling in a suit filed by its suspended national chairman, Uche Secondus, in lieu of his tenure, has been moved to today.
Thus, the usual pomp and celebration often associated with the party’s convention, lost its steam, when news filtered that the ruling on whether or not the convention would hold has been shifted to noon today.
First to reschedule meeting was the party’s National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC), which moved all meetings to today, Friday.
A statement by the Oyo State State Governor and Secretary of the committee, Seyi Makinde, stated: “As part of our preparation for the forthcoming Saturday October 30 to Sunday 31, 2021 Elective National Convention of our great party, the PDP, all members of the NCOC (Main Committee), are hereby invited to a meeting as follows; Date: Friday October 29, 2021. Venue: Legacy House, Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama, Abuja, Time: 3:00Pm”.
Also, the accreditation sub-committee, headed by the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said his committee would also meet today.
Okowa, in the statement, said, “Ahead of the Saturday October 30 to Sunday 31, 2021 Elective National Convention of our great party, the PDP, all members of Accreditation Sub-Committee are hereby invited to a meeting as follows: Friday, October 29, 2021, Venue: NEC Hall, PDP national secretariat, Abuja. Time: 10:00Am.”
Earlier, the meeting of the PDP Governors scheduled for 1pm at the Akwa Ibom State Government Lodge was initially shifted, but it was later learnt that the governors still met later last night
At the national secretariat of the party, Wabara Plaza, the usual drama of dancing, music and general merry-making gradually died down, at the news from court.
Although the sharing of party’s esoebi (dress code for the convention) was still going on, while delegates were still arriving.
Also, venue of the convention, which is the Eagle Square, is wearing a new look as it was being decorated with the party’s colour of White. Green and Red
Speaking after a meeting with members of his committee, Governor of Adamawa State, Ahamdu Fintiri, said a successful national convention would pave the way for the PDP to take over government at the centre in 2023.
He also said a successful convention would equally pave the way for many politicians from other political parties to defect to the PDP, adding that everything would be done to ensure a transparent convention.
Meanwhile, the Senator Ike Ekweremadu-led appeal screening committee has not released the final list of the aspirants qualified for the national convention.
Some aspirants have also started to accuse the appeal committee of delaying the release of the final list, to stall their seeking legal action against a possible disqualification,.
Prominent candidates for the National Working Committee (NWC) posts, including Ambassador Taofeeq Arapaja and Senator Sam Anyanwu, have their fates hanging in the balance as petitions have emerged against their presence in the race.
Arapaja is bidding to be elected national deputy chairman (south), while Anyanwu is seeking the post of the national secretary of the party. But a petition against Arapaja before the committee claimed that he did not resign his post as the national vice chairman (South West) of the party before filing his papers to contest for the national deputy chairman.
Similarly, Anyanwu, who had emerged a consensus candidate of the southeast for the post of the national secretary is being accused by a petitioner of dragging the party to court in the past.
Both are infractions frowned at by the electoral provisions of the main opposition party.
Briefing reporters before the commencement of the committee sitting in Abuja, Ekweremadu confirmed the receipt of the petitions against both aspirants and others.
“On the whole, we received about five appeals, one is in respect of the non-clearance of the deputy national secretary, by the aspirant himself, Hon. Akintan Kareem. There is also a petition in respect of clearance of the deputy national youth leader from Edo State for not being a party member.
“One of the petitions is in respect of Usman Sani Shehu as aspirant for national youth leader for forgery of certificates and age falsification. We also received an appeal in respect of another aspirant for youth leader, Mohammed Usman, for non resignation of current position as a youth leader in his ward.
“We also received the petition against the clearance of Ambassador Arapaja as deputy chairman for south for non-resignation of his existing position.
“We received three petitions, two of those petitions were in respect of the clearance of Senator Sam Anyanwu as aspirant for national secretary, claiming he had taken the party to court previously, against the party’s constitution without exploring the internal mechanism of the party for complain.
“There’s also a third petition actually in support of the disqualification of Dr Eddy Olafeso for aspirant of national publicity secretary,” the committee chairman, said, while assuring that irrespective of the feelings by members, they would treat the appeals and petitions dispassionately.
He urged party members to continue to support the PDP as it aimed to come up with a new NWC that would help to deal with issues confronting the country.
His words: “But no matter what is our feelings about those appeals and petitions, what we intend to do as a very responsible body is to listen to all those that have written to us and hear from them, look at the document before us and possibly, we reconvene to look at the presentations and document before us and be able to drop a report, which we’ll send to the party as soon as possible. When we are done, we’ll also invite you again to brief you on outcome of our assignments.
“I urge that you continue to support the PDP and be able to support our convention to ensure that it is successful, because we look forward to a very responsible National Working Committee that will help us to deal with issues that are confronting Nigeria and especially, the part of 2023 elections, where the PDP hopes to win the national election and continues to give Nigerians responsible governance.”