By Henry Umoru
AHEAD of tomorrowâ€™sÂ National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where former National Secretary of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo,would be ratified as the party’s national chairman, the National Working Committee, NWC, will today meet to brainstorm on a memo recommending a waiver for him.
Vanguard gathered, yesterday, at the party’s National Secretariat that the last minute meeting and the waiver were to pave way for Nwodoâ€™s emergence as replacementÂ to Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, who resigned last month.
According to the source, NWC had prepared the memo to be presented before NEC’s meeting tomorrow, in line with the proposal of the South-East Executives of PDP seeking that Nwodo be granted exception to the rule which requires a candidate for any office to have spent two years continuously in the party.
It would be recalled that Nwodo only returned to PDP last June having left the party to contest the 2003 gubernatorial election on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and later joined the Action Congress, AC, before finally berthing in the Mega Party.
According to the source at the PDP, todayâ€™s NWCâ€™s meeting would among others, discuss with a view to approving it before presenting it to NEC which would ratify it without any hiccup tomorrow, adding, â€œWe have to approve the memo in line with the recommendation of the South East Executives because that is what they want. Since that is their position, we have to approve and pass it on to NEC to ratify. Nwodo will be announced at the NECâ€.
Also yesterday, there were very strong indications that the leadership of the party may have literarily begged the Convener of PDP Stability Forum, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere to withdraw his case against the party.
Ugochinyere was yesterday summoned to the National Secretariat of the Party to explain his recent activities to members of the National Working Committee, NWC especially the call on the partyâ€™s NEC not to ratify Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo whose name had been endorsed by both the National Caucus and the Board of Trustees, BOT of the party last week which culminated in the groups going to court.
Though, he never disclosed to Journalists the outcome of the meeting which lasted over one hour, Vanguard gathered that a suspension order is hanging on his head if he fails to withdraw the case before the Thursdayâ€™s NEC meeting where Nwodoâ€™s name is expected to be ratified, just as the leadership of the parry as gathered is jittery against the backdrop that if he fails to listen to them, making Nwodo the National Chairman of the Party will suffer a major set back. The NWC was led in the discussion with him by the Acting National Chairman, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed
It would be recalled that the PDP Solidarity Forum had gone to court in an attempt to stop the nomination of Dr. Nwodo as the National Chairman of the party.
Speaking with Journalists at the end of the meeting, Ugo Chinyere who noted that he was invited to what he described as informal meeting, stressed that had not made any promises to them, just as he alleged that since he dragged the party to court, his life has been threatened by unnamed party members, adding that what he is pursuing is to ensure that things were done in the PDP in the proper way.
According to him, â€œI want to tell you gentlemen of the press that the dimension it is taking I donâ€™t find it funny. You know people threatening me left right and centre putting me under pressure. I am not talking of those I met upstairs (party secretariat) but virtually my life has been in danger since the matter started.
â€œI have received phone calls telling me that if this matter is not resolved before Thursday, I will meet my waterloo. I want Nigerians to join me and make this point. What I am fighting for is not about Nwodo but it is about best practices in the parties.
â€œYes I understand that the party may be at crossroad right now, I understand that the party has a NEC meeting on Thursday. I understand that the party knows it canâ€™t go ahead with a pending matter in court and that they cannot discuss those issues in court. These are the issues, the party has no right to issue a waiver and this is going to be the bone of contention on Thursday.
â€œAre we going to give a waiver to somebody who is already a candidate inside that hall and then make him the chairman of the party?â€ he queried.