PDP National Chairman: Sheriff Set To Succeed Self | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP National Chairman: Sheriff Set To Succeed Self

Posted: Apr 30, 2016 at 3:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Augustine Adah

Lagos- With the ratification of zoning committee of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by its National Executive Committee (NEC), the stage appears set for Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff to emerge as the National Chairman of the Party. The NEC meeting of the party, which held in Abuja on Thursday, approved the recommendations of Emmanuel Udom led committee on zoning. The zoning, as released by the party is: National Chairman (North-East), Deputy National Chairman (South-South), National Secretary (South-West), Deputy National Secretary (North-Central), National Organising Secretary (South-East) and Deputy National organising Secretary (North-Central).

Other elective offices zoned include: National Treasurer(South-South), Deputy National Treasurer (North-West), National Legal Adviser (North-West), Deputy National Legal Adviser (South-South), Woman Leader (North-West), Deputy Woman Leader(South-South), Financial Secretary (North-Central), Deputy Financial Secretary (South-East), National Auditor (South-West), Deputy National Auditor (North-East), National Youth Leader (South-East), Deputy National Youth Leader(North-West, National Publicity Secretary (South-West) and Deputy National Publicity Secretary (North-Central).

Observers believe that the decision to zone the National Chairman of the party to North-east was a deliberate attempt to pave way for Ali Modu Sheriff, present acting chairman of the party to be elected chairman in the May 21 National Convention of the party slated for Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

  Doyin Okupe, former director of publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation while speaking on the recent decision said the party had “entered the road to perdition” with the decision.  Okupe, who has become one of the most vociferous voices against Sheriff in recent weeks, had said he and other party leaders from the southwest agreed to defect if the southwest is denied the chairmanship position.

“The PDP has now entered the road to perdition with the appointment of someone whose only known public image is that he’s a Boko Haram sponsor,” Mr. Okupe said. “This is shameful, and I hope all Nigerians, especially loyal members of the party, reject this unfortunate development.”

Mr. Okupe also added that the decision of the PDP’s NEC, which is the party’s highest decision-marking organ, to circumvent the zoning arrangement of the party in order to impose Mr. Sheriff on the members is another slippery slope that the party is unlikely to escape.

 Apart from Okupe the emergence of the former governor of Borno State as acting national chairman of the party in February has continued to unsettle many leaders of the party with many vowing to quit the party if he refuses to vacate the position on May 21. Some leaders of the party are worried over Sheriff’s double ambition of wanting to be the national chairman of the party and its presidential candidate at the same time.

A chieftain of the party in Imo State who did not want his name mentioned in the press, told Independent that it is in the interest of the party for Sheriff to choose between the position of national chairman and presidential tickect because it is not good for him to think of occupying the two positions. He said, “We learnt that he wants to be national chairman and presidential candidate of the party in 2019, it is better he chooses between the two positions.”  The decision of the zoning committee to concede the position of national chairman to the north is in disregard to the clamour for equity in the zoning arrangement of the party. These groups of people have argued that since the Ike Ekweremadu Post Election Committee recommended that the presidential candidate of the party in 2019 should come from the north, equity demands that the position of national chairman should be given to different political zone of the country.

For instance, the leadership of the party in the south-west has appealed to the zoning committee to consider the zone for the position of national chairman of the party considering that the zone has not been able to produce the number one position since the formation of the party about 17 years ago. Apart from south-west, the people of south-south have also indicated interest in the chairmanship position. Engr. Sunday Ekanem, Chairman, PDP South-South Forum, Lagos, maintained that south-south remains the strong hold of PDP judging by the result of last general elections. He stated though he desired the zone to produce the chairmanship position of the party, the decision of the committee to take it to North-east is in the best interest of the party. He said, “I would have loved the south-south to be chairman of the party but since the zoning committee headed by a governor from south-south has recommended north-east, it is in the best interest of the party.”  Ekanem urged those  whose interest and aspiration felt betrayed by the new zoning arrangement to accept the decision in the interest of moving the party forward instead of thinking to quit the party.  “For me I cannot consider leaving the party because the whole of south-south is PDP. I would also advise those who are not satisfied by the new arrangement to remain in the party and work toward the victory of the party in coming elections.’

    However, the Acting Chairman of the Board of Trustees, (BoT) of the party Senator Walid Jibrin has given assurance that despite some disagreements in the party zoning arrangements, the leading opposition party will not die.

Jibrin who was reported to be the only member of BoT that attended the meeting, gave this assurance during the party’s 70th NEC meeting in Abuja.

 The BoT Chairman who promised to remain in PDP advised those who are thinking of leaving the party because of the present condition of things to further consider their decision because there is no association without misunderstanding. “Whatever mistake that is there in the party, we must be there to correct it and make our contribution, leaving PDP is not the answer.

“I will like to appeal to everyone who intends to leave PDP to stop that, we must unite and all work together in order to build PDP.

“PDP is within a very good marking and I do not think I see anything wrong with PDP. Every party has its own problems and we should use our own problems positively. I am sure soon, the whole problem in PDP will be resolved,” Jibrin said.