By Henry Umoru & Demola Akinyemi
THE Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led group of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has shunned the warning by the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, that it should cease to hold meetings, after it concluded arrangements to hold a national caucus meeting with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the G7 Governors to attend.
The G7 Governors are Sule Lamido of Jigawa State; Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara; Aliyu Babangida of Niger; Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto; Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano; Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that also to attend the meeting are former governors in the group; senators, members of the House of Representatives and states Houses of Assembly and members of the faction’s National Working Committee, NWC, among others.
The meeting, it was learnt, will have in attendance all the seven governors opposed to the PDP leadership at Sokoto State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, just as challenges confronting the PDP and how to receive more governors who plan to join the group, among others, top the agenda of the meeting.
A source said, “Note that the caucus meeting of our party comprising our governors, senators, former governors, stakeholders, few of our NWC members comes up on Sunday 8pm at Sokoto Lodge to discuss the challenges of the Baraje-led PDP, strategise on how to receive more governors and map out how to move the party forward.” The national leadership of the PDP, had, on Friday, warned the Baraje-led `New PDP’ to stop making utterances, issuing press statements or hold meetings or be treated as impostors and criminals.
In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the ruling party had noted that following the judgment of the Federal High which upheld the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee as the authentic one, the Tukur-led PDP remains the only recognised PDP.
It warned that the Baraje-led, `New PDP’ must not rear its head again or do so and be crushed.
Metuh said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the ruling of the court in this regard is absolutely clear, direct and unambiguous. The PDP has only one duly elected National Executive Committee under the National Chairmanship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
”We wish therefore to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of this organ of our party are impostors and must be treated as criminals by all and sundry.
”Henceforth, the leadership of the PDP will no longer tolerate or condone any meeting, utterances, press statements and/or activities whatsoever under the name, flag and colour of the PDP by any unauthorized person or group(s) under any guise.
”As a law abiding party, the PDP remained calm in the face of the unwarranted attacks of the last few months. Our leaders chose the path of caution and decorum but our reconciliatory moves and offer of olive branch were treated with the highest disdain and viewed as signs of weakness.
”The National Working Committee has therefore directed that the name, colour, flag and the provisions of constitution of our party must be held sacrosanct by our members.
The PDP has adequate internal mechanism for resolution of disagreements and members are advised to express their grievances through such.
”We thank all members who kept faith and remained loyal to the constitution of the party through this trying time. Our party remains one big family and the preeminent party, commanding true and genuine followership among Nigerians across the country.
”The challenges of the last few months instead of detracting us have indeed better positioned our party to continue to win elections at all levels in our country.”
In a related development, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje has said that more than five governors will soon join his group in the struggle against the Tukur leadership even as he said that the lingering crisis in the PDP will end when arbitrariness and impunity in the party are stopped.
Baraje said this, yesterday, in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, after his accreditation at Magaji Ngeri Baboko Central Ward in the local government elections that took place in the state .He said that end to the protracted crisis in the PDP will be decided by the powers-that-be when impunity, lawlessness, arbitrariness and the like are stopped.
”The end to the crisis will be decided by the powers-that-be when there is no more impunity, lawlessness and arbitrariness”, he said.
Baraje disclosed that more than five governors will soon join them in this struggle adding that the crisis in the party should be a concern to anyone who means well for Nigeria.
On their rumoured plan to join All Progressive Congress, APC, he said Nigerians should wait for that time, stressing that he could not say anything on that now.
He also reiterated that the local government election was long approved and even screened by the national headquarters of the PDP before the current crisis started.