Published On: Thu, Jun 13th, 2013

Jonathan Sets Up Secret Committee to Resolve PDP Crises

President Goodluck Jonathan

There were indications in Abuja on Tuesday that the Presidency had set up a secret committee to look into the crises rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and proffer solutions to them.
It was gathered that the idea was mooted by some close aides of President Goodluck Jonathan, who advised him to take keen interest in the crises because of his political career and the determination of opposition political parties to merge and wrest power from the PDP in 2015.
The President was said to have also been told by the aides that the gale of suspensions in the PDP was capable of derailing the party.
Those believed to be in the committee are the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadohme; the Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak; and some governors.

A Presidency source said the committee would pay specific attention to the suspension of two governors – Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Aliyu Wamakko(Sokoto) – and the effect of the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission, which queried the manner majority of members of the PDP National Working Committee emerged.
Before the committee was raised, the President was said to have also been told that the suspension of the governors within a spate of two weeks was an indication that the party was not healthy.
Amaechi was suspended because of his refusal to intervene in the State House of Assembly decision to suspend the executive council of Obiokpor Local Government Council of Rivers State. Wamakko, on the other hand, was suspended because of his alleged insubordination to the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur.
A governor, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said the leadership of the PDP might have been advising the President wrongly on how to enforce discipline among members.
He said the President might have realised that and that that could be the reason why he set up the committee.
The governor said, “There is no President who fights during his first tenure. Not even former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who we all knew was a ‘strong man.’
“Obasanjo did not fight even when his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was almost snatching the PDP ticket from him. He did not fight until he got the second term ticket of the party and was also elected.
“The fear among the governors is that if the President could do this to some of us when he is still seeking our cooperation for a second term ticket, what will he do when he gets it and he is eventually elected?
“We have let the President know this and he is acting on it.”
The governor particularly frowned on the reasons adduced for the suspension of Amaechi and Wamakko, saying they were not convincing enough.
He said that the suspension of Wamakko could also send wrong signals to the governors in the North-West, adding that “we all knew what Obasanjo did to bring the zone to the PDP.”
The governor said it would be wrong to allow the zone, which has the largest number of states in the country, to be snatched by the opposition again “due to the misadventure of few people in the party.”
It will also be recalled that the INEC report on the PDP convention, which produced the national officers of the party, had become a source of worry to the Presidency.
Those whose elections were ratified by affirmation instead of election as expected by INEC were the Deputy NationalChairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Youth Leader, Alhaji Garba Chima; Deputy National Youth Leader, Dennis Alonger; and Acting National Secretary, Solomon Onwe.
Others were Senator Umar Ibrahim (deputy national auditor); Hanatu Ulam (deputy national woman leader); Kema Chikwe (woman leader); Okechukwu Nnadozie (deputy national treasurer); Victor Kwom (national legal adviser); Olisa Metuh (national publicity secretary); and Binta Goje (deputy national publicity secretary).
Eight of these officers are members of the NWC, which sees to the running of the party on a day-to-day basis.
The President was said to have been advised by the governors that it might not be wise to allow these officers to conduct the next presidential primary of the PDP as its result could be a subject of litigation.
This problem, it was also gathered, was one of the reasons why it had been difficult for the PDP to hold its National Executive Committee meeting.
The last meeting was in July 2012, whereas the party constitution stipulates that NEC meeting must be held at least in every quarter.
When contacted, Gulak told one of our correspondents that he had yet to be informed about the workings of the newly constituted committee.
He said, “Where did you get that from? I am yet to be contacted. I do not know anything about it. If I am a member, I should be contacted.”
Meanwhile, the party has described as a basket of empty shells, the unfolding of All Progressives Congress blueprint by a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the British House of Commons in London on Tuesday.
A statement by Metuh described the agenda as grossly lacking in essentials, in fundamentals; deep in cosmetics and devoid of originality.
According to him, the blueprint is laced with half truths and outright lies and grittily divorced from the substance and incidentals that ginger national growth.
Source: Punch

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