….It is a welcome development, Nnamani
By Henry Umoru
THE National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Wednesday swallowed its pride and lifted the suspension it slammed on former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, ex-Speaker, House, House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari and the immediate past National Secretary of the Party, Bernard Eze.
The party has also as a prelude to the reconciliatory drive, set up a five memberÂ Committee with the partyâ€™s National Secretary, Abubakar Kawu Baraje as Chairman saddled with among others, the responsibility of looking into all the issues raised with a view to recommending a way forward for the party.
Others whose suspension were lifted were former Presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha, immediate past Minister of Commerce and Industry, Achike Udenwa, former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, the PDP Abia governorship candidate in the 2007 governorship election, Onyema Ugochukwu, former transport Minister, Abiye Sekibo, one time Health Minister, Professor Alphonsus Chukwura Nwosu and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume.
Also affected by the sledge hammer of the out gone National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor and who got the pardon from party were Chief Tony Ukasanya, Chief Sunny Iroche; Senator Emmanuel Agboti; Senator Sylvanous Ngele; Chief Chris Ekpeyong, former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State; Hon. Auwal Tukur, Former Chief Whip, Bawa Bwari, Kelechi Igwe.
Meanwhile, the former Senate President Ken Nnamani while reacting to the action of the party,has described the move as a welcome development, just as he stressed that he was delighted hearing that the suspension was lifted.
According to him, â€œIt is a welcome development, Iam delighted to hear that the suspension is lifted. Iam also happy that the party is also looking into the issues we raised. Any organization that does not allow for reform is heading into doomâ€.
In a statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, the Party said, â€œthe National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting held on the 2nd June, 2010 considered and reviewed the report of the meeting held with some members of our Party operating under the aegis of the PDP Reform Forum.
â€œThe meeting which was held under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria looked at some of the issues constituting a challenge to the unity and cohesion of our great Party, the PDP.
â€œAt the meeting, the NWC also received submissions from the group containing details of their observations and recommendations.
â€œConsistent with the deep commitment of our great Party towards reconciliation, deepening internal democracy and openness, the NWC set up a five member committee under the Chairmanship of the National Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje to look at all the issues raised with the view to recommending a way forward.
â€œIn order to facilitate the reconciliation process and confidence building, the NWC also reviewed the suspension of 19 members of the Party who where suspended on the 22nd of April, 2010. Accordingly, this suspension is hereby lifted. This will also give them equal opportunity to join members of the Committee set up by the NWC to speed up the process of addressing the issues raised in their submission to the Party.
â€œThe NWC wishes to commend His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, The President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the keen interest he has been showing in resolving issues within the Party. The NWC also thanks the Vice President, His Excellency, Arc. NamadiÂ Sambo, GCON for the patriotic and matured manner he presided over the meeting.
â€œThe NWC hereby reiterates its commitment to long lasting reforms which has been a consistent agenda since assumption of office in March 2008.We wish to use this opportunity to appeal to all PDP members to always channel their grievances through the appropriate organs of the Party and refrain from undue sensationalism in order not to send the wrong signals to the electorate.
It would be recalled that the Nnamani led PDP Reform Forum had described the Prince Vincent Ogbulafor led National Working Committee, NWC as lacking in leadership, just as they stressed that there was the need for a holistic reform of the party, adding thatÂ that the ideals of the founding fathers must be brought to bare if there must be meaningful progress in the party.
Members of the forum also noted that there was absence of internal democracy in political parties in the country, just as the decried the state of the current ineffectiveness of the PDP NWC which it said is neither imaginative nor creative in generating ideas to reinforce founding ideals of the Party, adding that the party must review its activities and take full advantage of the yearnings of Nigerians for a true and sustaining democratic culture.
For this reason, the leadership of the Party invited the members of the reform group and failure to attend on the ground that they were not properly invited, the PDP leadership suspended them.