- The Bamanga Tukur’s Connection, How He Plotted The Sack Of PDP NWC
- Security Beefs Up At PDP National Secretariat
Security has been heightened at the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in what is being seen as an effort to discourage attack on the edifice due to the ongoing crisis in the party.
Workmen were seen on Sunday frantically building new security barriers, including loads of sandbags around the entrance of the Wadata Plaza secretariat located on Michael Okpara Street in Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.
Before Sunday’s development, security has normally been tight at the secretariat with a joint detachment of men of the Nigeria Police and National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on guard in and outside the premises.
The mounting of high sand barriers on Sunday may not be unconnected with the recent sack of some national officers whose election the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said did not not follow due process.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP had approved July 20 for a mini convention to elect new officers to fill the vacant positions, but this has now been put off owing to the upcoming Ramadan fast.
Many aspirants are said to have sensed a plot to scheme them out of the race for the positions.
The Nigerian Tribune gathered also that tension has since risen in the party following protest by some northern governors elected under the PDP umbrella who are said to have questioned the composition of the Professor Jerry Gana-led committee set up to organise the convention.
How Tukur plotted sack of PDP NWC
More facts emerged at the weekend as to how the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Tukur reportedly plotted the removal of members of the erstwhile National Working Committee (NWC) allegedly to stabilise his hold on office.
A dependable source at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), told the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja that the commission actually received an official letter from the office of the national chairman of the PDP in the heat of the party’s crises demanding for the commission’s official report on the conduct of its 2012 National Convention.
The source said: “The truth of the matter is that we got an official letter from the party demanding for the official report on the conduct of the national convention and we have to release it based on the Freedom of Information, (FOI) Act, and since we have nothing to hide, we have to grant the request.
“Usually we do monitor the congresses and conventions of all the registered political parties and at the end of the day we have to write our report as a commission, that was exactly what we did in the case of PDP, not that we released it to the press or any individual for any purpose, but it was released to the party officially on request.”
According to him, “we have no intention to use the report to destabilise the PDP. It is just for record purposes. We as a Commission cannot be seen meddling in the internal affairs of the political parties, how they conduct the congresses and conventions is not our business, it is their internal affair, but they must follow due process in line with the 2010 electoral act, as amended, and the constitution of the land.”
It was gathered that Tukur engineered the use of the INEC report to dissolve the NWC.
In the said INEC report, which was reportedly leaked to the press, the commission upheld the elections of only four national officers namely, the national chairman, national secretary, national financial secretary and national auditor and declared that the elections of others including deputy national chairman, national publicity secretary, national legal adviser, national woman leader, national youth leader, national treasurer and deputy national secretary did not follow due process.
Initially, the NWC had rejected the report, describing it as “a baseless and satanic plot by INEC and the opposition to discredit the ruling party ahead of 2015 general elections.”
Some members of the PDP, however, headed for the courts to compel the party to implement the report.
Relevant organs of the PDP including the Board of Trustees (BoT), the National Caucus, the NWC and the National Executive Committee, (NEC) met at different times and jointly advised that NWC members affected by the report should resign to allow for a mini National Convention to fill the vacancies which they complied with.
Consequently the NEC of the party at its 61st emergency meeting approved a mini national convention and zonal congresses in the South West for July 20 and 21 respectively which had now been put on hold because of Ramadan fasting and the protest by some Northern governors.
A former member of the NWC who spoke with Nigerian Tribune in confidence said that the ousted NWC members knew that the controversial INEC report on the 2012 National Convention was actually the handiwork of the national chairman.
The source further stated: “One day the truth will prevail and the devil will be ashamed, we conducted a very credible and transparent national convention at Eagle Square in Abuja unlike other political parties which would meet in the comfort zone of the rooms of their leaders to pick their national officers, nobody will see anything bad in that, but it is only in the PDP that leaders of the party will be plotting against other members on flimsy excuses.”
But Tukur, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Electoral and Inter-Party Relations, Alhaji Shittu Mohammed, said on Sunday that the decision to sack some members of the NWC was aimed at saving the PDP from future embarrassment.
According to him, the report from INEC stated categorically that the election of the officials except that of the chairman, national secretary, financial secretary and national auditor was defective and that there was no balloting in accordance with the party’s constitution.
“The NEC and other organs of the party decided to fix the lapse because the said officials were elected by affirmation rather than ballot. It would be disastrous for the party to wait till the last minute and get embarrassed by INEC. The national chairman did not engineer anything against his colleagues at the NWC,” Shittu said.
He declared that the national convention ordered by the NEC was to ensure the officials are properly elected through balloting rather than affirmation.
“What happened at the national convention in 2012 was that most of the NWC members except four who were earlier adopted at the zonal levels had their candidature affirmed. There were no ballots for their offices. So INEC recognised this and declared that it was against the constitution.
“The party needed to take quick steps so that its correspondences will not be rejected by INEC in future on the basis of illegal executive committee.
I assure you that the chairman enjoyed working with members of the dissolved NWC and he is looking forward to their return to the committee.”
PDP can’t hold Southwest Zonal Congress – Oni
The planned South-West congress of the PDP has run into yet another hitch with former governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni saying that the party cannot conduct another congress in the South West zone.
Oni had written to the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who doubles as the Secretary of the PDP special convention planning committee, saying the party should “perish the thought of holding a fresh congress in the South West to elect new zonal executives of the party.”
Oni, in a letter dated June 26, 2013 and signed by his counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, said he relied on “the pendency of an action in Suit No: AB/58/2013, challenging the dissolution of the Chief Segun Oni-led South West Zonal Executive of the PDP.”
According to a statement by Oni’s media aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, “in the suit, there is a subsisting motion on notice seeking a prayer of the court for ‘an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves, agents, officials or privies from interfering with the performance by the claimants of their duties as the South West Zonal Executive Committee of the 3rd Defendant or in any other manner howsoever giving effect to or acting upon the decision of the 3rd defendant purporting to dissolve the South West zonal executive committee of the 3rd defendant pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”
Olayinka said “the letter, which was sent to the deputy Senate President on Friday read in part: “We wish to humbly advise your distinguished self of the position of the law that when a motion on notice is pending before a court of law and same has being served on all parties, all the parties are expected to fold their arms and refrain from doing anything capable of overreaching the pending application. EZEGBU vs. FATB LTD (1992) 1 NWLR Niki Tobi JCA (as he then was) stated: ‘Therefore once a party is aware of a pending court process, and whether the court has not given a specific injunctive order, parties are bound to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the court process.’
“You will agree with us sir, that holding a zonal congress during the pendency of this action and motion on notice would tantamount to ‘giving effect to or acting upon the decision of the 3rd defendant purporting to dissolve the South West zonal committee of the 3rd defendant…’ which would be unlawful and illegal.
“The sustenance of the rule of law is the cornerstone of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and same has over the course of time been imbibed by the PDP.
“It is therefore our humble expectation that having been properly advised, you and the other members of the committee and indeed the PDP will refrain from proceeding with the South West zonal congress pending the outcome of this action and other actions on the same issue at the Court of Appeal.”