The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is gradually getting complicated as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said due process was not followed in the suspension of the four chieftains of the party.
INEC in a letter signed by its Secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, dated November 25, with reference number INEC /EPM/PDP/02/024/Vol.T/161 and titled: ‘Re: Suspension of Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ambassador Ibrahim Karaure from the PDP”, said no notice of meeting for the suspension was provided to the commission.
The letter, addressed to the National Chairman of the PDP, read in part: “This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated November 12, 2013 informing the commission on the suspension of four members of your party.
“The commission notes that some of the individuals so suspended held positions covered by the provisions of section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and that no notice of the meeting which approved their suspension was provided to the commission.
“Accordingly, the records of the commission does not reflect the process and composition of the meeting that approved the suspension of the individuals, as such, the commission cannot establish an informed position on the matter
“Please accept the commission’s highest regard and consideration.”
Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) stated thus, ‘Every registered political party shall give the commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this Act.’”
When THISDAY visited the INEC website at 9.10p.m., the website displayed the name of Charles Akitoye as the national secretary. It was silent on the name of Prof. Olawale Oladipo as the national secretary.
Oyinlola was reinstated by the Court of Appeal, but PDP instead of reinstating him hurriedly suspended him with three others for anti-party activities.
To make matters worse, the National Disciplinary Committee led by Dr. Umaru Dikko, also recommended their expulsion.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has said the party would field President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general election, adding that the president would be re-elected for another tenure.
Tukur said this yesterday at the inauguration of the pioneer national executive council and state chairmen of the National PDP’s Councillors’ Forum in Abuja.
He noted that the PDP remains the strongest party in Nigeria as it registers its presence in every part of the country.
He explained that only a strong party can liberate the nation and ensure economic development.
“A strong party brings strong government, a strong government brings strong economy, a strong economy brings development for everybody,” he said.
Tukur added that the PDP believes in justice and fairness and everyone is a stakeholder in the party.
He, however, urged the councillors to remain resolute in their mobilisation and support for the party, as he said they remain the engine room of the party at the grassroots.
The chairman also enjoined the councillors not to feel jittery about the recent exit of some state governors from the party.
He said those who defected were mere individuals whose exit would mean little or no harm to the success of the party.
“Our party believes in justice and fair play, our party believes in reconciliation without any confrontation, our party believes in rebuilding based on equity and justice, consensus not imposition, each an every one of you here is a shareholder in our big party.
"Go back to your own village or council, don’t be deterred by some people saying that they are leaving the party, those people leaving the party are individuals, it doesn’t mean that if you leave the party, the party dies, the party is there, it is the only party that gives a candidate in every election, in anywhere in Nigeria, you find a member of the PDP don’t be deterred,” he added.
When asked to give comments on the 18-page letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Tukur said the letter was not addressed to him an as such should not attract his response.
“I don’t need to say anything, because Obasanjo has not written to me, go and ask him,” he said.
The PDP chairman insisted that the Jonathan would be returned come 2015 general election.
“He will be returned, This is a ruling party and he is our president, he is the president of PDP, the Nigerians are here, over 6,000 from the local councils, this is the first tear of the PDP family, and I can assure you that in every vote in the country, the PDP is the only party that field candidates in all these votes,” stated.
At the event, the chairman of the occasion and former governor of Bayelsa State Diepreye Alameyeiseya stated that the PDP councillors should work assiduously to ensure victory for President Jonathans, come 2015. According to Alameyeiseya there was no greater task for the forum that to ensure victory for the president.
He said the councillors with their good conduct, possess the capacity to ensure victory for the PDP.
“My grandfather in the village does not know the president or the governor, but they know you, with your good conduct people will follow your party. And if you refuse to deliver the party, you will be out of job for 4 years and for been out of job, your wife can even divorce you,” he said.