By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Vincent Eze Ogbulafor may have bowed to pressure yesterday and resigned his position as the head of the National Working Committee, NWC of the party.
There were very strong indications that he tendered his letter of resignation, though as at the time of this report, there was no official confirmation from the national leadership of the party that Ogbulafor had tendered his letter of resignation, just as he was not seen in the office throughout yesterday and his official aides were also not available to speak on the issue.
At Wadata Plaza, the National Secretariat of the party, Staff of the Party were seen discussing the issue in very low tune against the backdrop that they had not formally been briefed.
The PDP National Chairman had on Wednesday while answering questions from Journalists said he had no plans to resign and that he was still the National Chairman of the Party.
It would be recalled that some members of the party under the aegis of PDP Reform Forum with former Senate President Ken Nnamani, ex-Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari along side other stakeholders have been in the forefront calling for a better and more operational National Working Committee that would drive the PDP in line with the ideals of the founding fathers.
Also recall that the call for his resignation became heightened following his prosecution at an Abuja High Court along side three others by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC over a 16-count criminal charge involving N2.3 billion fraud. This, the party members and Nigerians are of the view that it became imperative for him to resign especially as the one presiding over a party that produced the government of the day which professes rule of law, transparency as its cardinal objectives.
Before the news of his apparent resignation, the National Chairman had got the support of the twenty-eight governors of the party, but as events unfold, they started dumping him gradually starting with Governors Ikedi Ohakim of Imo, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi and Sulivan Chime who had during their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan asked him to resign.
Also on Wednesday night, it was gathered that majority of the governors who had been his backbone at the end of the meeting held at Kwara State Governorâ€™s lodge decided to remove the ladder from his feet, leaving him to be on his own.
But answering questions from Journalists at the Party National Secretariat, the PDP National Secretary, Abubakar Kawu Baraje who noted that the National Chairman cannot resign as Chairman without his consent, was however selfish with answers, saying, â€œThe national chairman of a party like peoples democratic party cannot resign without you hearing. I cannot confirm that to you now but maybe in the next few hours I will be able to confirm yes or no.
On whether he can deny the rumour, he said, â€œ did you hear what I said I cannot confirm andÂ I am student of English too, I said in the next few hours.
â€œOn a serious note it is no longer news that three governors from the eastern state asked him to resign as a result of the case in court and you know the process of electing our chairman and various members of the executive party they come from the zoneÂ before they are now elected throughÂ national convention. So he has to go on consultations with his zone and presently he is doing a lot of consultation around from his zone and the outcome of the consultation is what will tell us whether he is going to resign or not that is why I tell you that presently I cannot confirm and I know that before the end of the day definitely you will know the out come of his consultation, today definitely you will know the outcome of the consultation.”
On what is the process of resignation and whom will he handover the letter of resignation to, the PDP National Secretary said, â€œthe process is very clear in the constitution.Â If he resigns then there is a vacancy and the constitution says that if there is a vacancy, he hands over to the Deputy National chairman pending the appointment of a new chairman from that same zone and the appointment will also have to be confirmed by the executive committee of the party.
â€œThe process is that he will resign handover to the deputy and the deputy will hold forte and the letter will have to be presented to the deputy who will present it to the NEC and at the same time approved.
Asked further the role of the NWC, he said, â€œwho is the deputy national chairman representing? It is the NWC.
When asked if the NWC members are happy with the present development, Baraje answered thus, â€œAny body can be accused of anything including you gentle men. If you are accused, it does not mean that you are already convicted.
You see you are all enlightened people at certain level. There are various kinds of behaviour. I read in one of the newspapers today that in Nigeria, we donâ€™t resign, even in the culture where they reside you resign base on various factors as a result of when people who elected you into position say they donâ€™t have confidence in you any longer you resign. Two, when it is proved that you have committed misconduct in your profession. And in this case of the chairman is being accused of wrong doing and the court process is on. He has not been convicted the only snag in this situation is that his zone that voted him to come and represent the party level said he should resign. He now says let me consult wider in that zone which is what he is doing. So the idea of whether we are happy or not has nothing to do with the situation.
â€œIf we are happy and the zone says they have rescinded their decision for him to resign fine he comes back whether we are happy or not he seats down as the chairman.Â If we are unhappy we cannot remove him because all of us come from different zones and states and like you know different states and zones make up PDPâ€.