How Police Cancelled PDP Convention | Independent Newspapers Limited
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How Police Cancelled PDP Convention

PDP, Convention
Posted: Aug 18, 2016 at 4:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


* Makarfi’s Caretaker Committee Gets One Year Tenure

*Wike, Fayose Made Saint Out Of Sheriff—Bode George

*Crisis Rocking PDP Is Godsend–Presidency

* Court Re-Affirms Sack Of Sheriff As National Chairman


Attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to elect a new set of party leaders at its planned convention was thwarted on Wednesday as armed policemen and soldiers took Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State by storm, sealed off all roads leading to the Sharks Stadium, venue of the convention, and prevented hundreds of party faithful from electing a new leadership for the party.

However, the party stalwarts somehow outsmarted the security operatives as they moved the venue of the convention to the state secretariat of PDP in Rivers State where a hurriedly held ‘convention’ was held and new lease of life given to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led caretaker committee.

The committee by the decision taken at the ‘convention’ will hold power for one year, during which it would be expected to have solved all the problems of the party and then conduct a fresh elective convention.

There had been an air of uncertainty around the convention when two courts of coordinate jurisdiction issued conflicting orders on it on Tuesday.

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ordered the continuation of the convention while a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang afterwards issued his own order that the convention should not be held.

He also issued an order on the police to ensure that no one is allowed to flout his order.

The police, however, decided to carry out the instructions of the Abuja High Court.

Signs of serious trouble had began to manifest as early as 10:00p.m on Tuesday night when allegations of bias against the convention planning committee headed by Governor Nyesom Wike started spreading among the various camps of the aspirants, most especially, the chairmanship aspirants.

The camps of Chief Olabode George, Prof Tunde Adeniran and Chief Raymond Dokpesi had alleged underhand dealings by the convention planning committee headed by Governor Nyesom Wike, who was said to be working in concert with Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, towards ensuring that Jimi Agbaje, their supposed anointed candidate emerged the winner of the chairmanship seat.

The trio had accused the convention committee of unilaterally doctoring the delegates’ list especially those of the South West states and the North with a view to decimating the support base of people who are against the ambition of Jimi Agbaje.

George, Dokpesi and Adeniran had planned to hold a press conference early Wednesday morning to announce their pull out of the contest in protest before the new development of police sealing off the convention venue came up.

Some delegates who had not heard the news of the bombardment by the security operatives had woken up early with a view to getting to the venue of the convention on time to avoid the sort of human traffic that nearly marred the May convention.

However, they got the shock of their lives as they were turned back by stern looking security operatives who barked at people who do not respond to their instructions on time.

News quickly went round that the security operatives were deployed on “orders from above” in response to the court order issued by Justice Abang.

The ugly situation threw all camps in the shenanigans being played by the stakeholders into panic as the implications of not holding the convention dawned on them.

The tenure given to the caretaker committee on May 20 was to run out on Saturday, August 20, which will invariably leave the party without any structure to run its day-to-day activities.

The only legal body as made provisions for by the PDP constitution would have been the Board of Trustees (BoT) which is not mandated to carry out day to day running of the party by any section of the party’s constitution.

To save the day, an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting was held in Port Harcourt where the decision to find an alternative venue for the convention was taken, and the extension of the life span of the caretaker committee taken, before it was ratified at the hurriedly held ‘convention.

Aside extending the tenure of the caretaker committee, the convention also expanded the membership of the committee while a decision was taken to bar all members of the caretaker committee from seeking any office in the next convention which is expected to be held within the next one year.

The party also expressed hopes that it will resolve lingering lawsuits within the one year extended time given to the caretaker committee.

The announcement was made Wednesday at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by the convention planning committee chairman, Nyesom Wike.

Speaking on the crisis that prevented the convention from being held as planned, the leading aspirant to the office of the chairman and former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, hailed the action of the security men, saying it saved the party from complete disintegration.

He noted that the unpalatable action though painful to all who had the interest of the party at heart, eventually emerged to be the saving grace for the party as he accused Governor Wike and Governor Ayodele Fayose of plotting to hijack the party through imposition of Jimi Agbaje as the party chairman against the wish of party members.

He accused the duo of engaging in manipulation of records, and flagrant disobedience to the wish of the people all in an effort at ensuring that their preferred candidate is forced on the party as the chairman.

Speaking on the shenanigans that played out at the party convention, Chief George in a chat with Independent said the actions of the governors have made a saint out of factional chairman, Ali Modu-Sheriff, who has been fighting against the duo since May.

Meanwhile, Garba Shehu, presidential media aide, said the crisis currently rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is part of the punishment from God for the wrongs they did to Nigeria.

He said the party should consider making amends by first apologising to Nigerians before trying to work its way back to relevance.

“The crisis in the PDP is a Godsend. They mismanaged this country, they had the chance to run this country, well, they failed to do it.

“The fact they are divided and broken, let them reflect on what they did in office and see whether they can make amends and the starting point will be for them to apologise to Nigerians for all of the things that they did, then they can work back to relevance or else God has a way of punishing you now or later. What they are seeing now is Godsend”, Shehu said.

Shehu was reacting to allegations that President Muhammadu Buhari was fueling the crisis in the PDP using the factional chairman of the party, Ali Modu-Sherriff, who is said to be his in-law.

Again, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has re-affirmed the sack of Ali Modu-Sheriff as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court, presided over by Justice Nwamaka Ogbonnaya, reaffirmed the sack on the ground that the judgment of Justice Valentine Ashi, which nullified his appointment on June 29 has not been set aside or vacated and is therefore subsisting.

The court further held that all actions taken by Modu-Sheriff are null, void and of no effect since the earlier order of Justice Ashi remains binding.

The court restrained Modu-Sheriff from further parading himself as the national chairman of the PDP.

Justice Ogbonnaya also ruled that Modu-Sherif should stop taking any action or convening any meeting in the name of the PDP, until the earlier judgment of Justice Valentine Ashi is set aside or vacated.

Justice Ashi had in his judgment nullified the 2014 PDP constitution amendment upon which Modu-Sheriff is said to have been appointed as PDP chairman.

The court described the amendment of the party’s constitution as illegal and a violation of the Electoral Act and, therefore, declared all actions carried out with the document, including anybody parading him or herself as officer of the party as illegal.