The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party got messier on Friday with the ruling party asking the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, to write a formal letter to the Dr. Bamanga Tukur-led National Executive Council for his suspension to be lifted.
Amaechi, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH, over the weekend has, however, vowed that he would not write the letter.
The lifting of Amaechi’s suspension was one of the conditions given by a faction of the party, New PDP, for reconciliation to take place in the troubled party.
The party, which spoke through the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Abdullahi Jalo, told one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Friday that only the NEC could decide Amaechi’s fate.
He said the Dr. Bamanga Tukur-led PDP was not averse to making peace with all aggrieved members of the party but that the decision to suspend Amaechi was not taken by an individual.
The party chieftain, however, said the embattled governor also had a role to play in speeding up the process of his recall by writing to Tukur, the National Chairman of the party, requesting for his suspension to be lifted.
He further explained that it was the NEC which Tukur heads that would make recommendations to the National Executive Committee.
He added that it was when the NEC was satisfied with the explanations and the recommendations made by the NWC that the suspension would be lifted.
Jalo said, “To suspend a governor and recall him is an issue that can only be handled by the National Executive Council which is the highest ruling body of the party.
“It is beyond an individual to sit down and say okay, Amaechi, we have lifted your suspension. The NWC has to sit down to access the conditions given to Amaechi before they take it to NEC.
“The NEC is the one to decide the fate of Amaechi after he must have settled all the issues.
“No individual can decide that he be recalled. It is the National Working Committee that will make recommendations which will be taken to NEC; the NEC is the final body that can recall him.
“It is only the NEC that can decide his fate. The NEC will say whether they are satisfied with what he has written to them or not.
“You know the President and the Vice-President are seated in the NEC with the national chairman of the party. The governor has to approach the party through the national chairman.”
Amaechi, who spoke through the Chief of Staff, Government House, Mr. Tony Okocha, however, said he would not write such an application.
According to him, his suspension was in contravention of the PDP constitution.
He said, “There will be no such thing. He will not write any application to any person or group. We have approached the court for a proper interpretation of the party’s constitution.”
The governor expressed fears that the PDP might expel him if he withdrew the cases he had filed against the party.
Amaechi had gone to court to stop the PDP from expelling him from the party.
The governor had also approached the court to stop the State House of Assembly from impeaching him.
The governor’s aide said, “You know that emancipation is not a gift of an oppressor. We are Nigerians and we know the legal system.
“That the matter is in court does not remove the possibility of an indoor settlement but we fear that the moment he (Amaechi) withdraws the matter in court, the PDP will leverage on that to expel him.
“It is a booby trap that nobody will want to fall for, given what we know the PDP for. The PDP does not stick to agreement.
“You know that they (PDP) cannot expel him now that the case is in court.”
Jalo however insisted that Amaechi had offended the party and that the party sanctioned him accordingly.
“In any case, these are purely issues within the PDP. Amaechi is part of us, part of us in the sense that he has not left the party for another party.
“He is still a member of PDP; we are still in the same family. In this regard, there were series of meetings between the aggrieved governors including Amaechi and the leadership of the party including the leader of the party that is the President.
“You can now say without mincing words that it is highly possible for the sanctions on Amaechi to be lifted.”
Further investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH, however, showed that reconciliation might still be a little far away from the cards with respect to Amaechi’s case.
The Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, is expected to lead a delegation of party leaders to the state any time soon.
His mission is to meet with all warring factions in the state chapter of the party with a view to reconciling them.
A source privy to what is going on confided in one of our correspondents that the Presidency appeared at a loss on how to achieve a truce without losing face.
The source said, “What happens to politicians in Rivers State, people like (Nyesom) Wike who have staked all in pursuit of the President’s cause? What about other interests at stake. It is complicated.
“I am afraid, it is not as easy as people think. What kind of power-sharing arrangement will assure Rivers people that all is well in a state so deeply divided?”
The PDP’s NWC, at its emergency meeting on May 27, 2013, had announced the suspension of Amaechi.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said Amaechi’s suspension was to enforce discipline in the party.
It had stated, “The National Working Committee at its emergency meeting on Monday, May 27, 2013 considered the petition submitted by the PDP Rivers Executive Committee against Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Executive Governor of Rivers State for violating Articles 58 1 (b), (c ), (h) and (m) of the PDP Constitution following his refusal to obey the lawful directive of the Rivers State Executive Committee to rescind his decision dissolving the elected Executive Council of Obiokpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“The National Working Committee after preliminary hearing, in exercise of the powers conferred by Articles 57 (3), 59 (3), 59 (5) and 29 (2.b), hereby suspends Amaechi as a member of the PDP and refers the matter to the appropriate disciplinary committee of the Party.”
But at a meeting between the President and the aggrieved governors on September 15 in Abuja, both sides were said to have agreed on some issues.
As part of the terms for truce, the PDP is expected to recall Amaechi from suspension.
However, the governor, as a condition, for his recall would withdraw all cases he filed against the party.
The two sides agreed that Jonathan would decide the fate of the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, who the aggrieved governors are kicking against.