By Henry Umoru
Over 8,000 delegates from across the country are converging on the Eagle Square, Abuja today venue of the Special National Convention of the self acclaimed largest party in Africa where a presidential candidate would emerge for the party ahead of the Presidential election.
Matters arising as the PDP holds its national Convention include the issue of late composition of the Special National Convention Planning Committee. The National Chairman of the Party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo just on Monday inaugurated members of the committee which has a former Minister of Defence, Dr. Shettima Mustapha as Chairman.
Other Committees set up to organize a convention of this magnitude by the party would at a minimum have at least two weeks to carry out such responsibility, but the 2011 planning Committee has just three days to deliver from the date of the inauguration to when the Convention would take place.
Before now, the Committee which has just a day to the Convention ought to have met at least fifteen times, but it may not be able to meet more than four times as well as meet with other sub committee members.
Speaking while inaugurating the 36_member 2011 Special National Convention Planning Committee, Nwodo who admitted that the major problem confronting the party now was that of time said, ‘’ Indeed, our problem at this time has been time. Time has not been on our side because of the late release of the Electoral timetable, because of the late
release of the Electoral Act. All these have delayed operations.
Speaking on Tuesday with Vanguard, Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Mustapha who complained of time, stressed that his Committee was carrying out a job within a period of three days instead of at least two weeks, adding that open secret ballot system will be used to elect the presidential candidate, but he was however optimistic that he would deliver, how far he will go is the question
The various sub Committees include members of the National Working Committee, NWC as Chairmen and they are the Finance sub_Committee with the National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Tukur Mani as Chairman. Mobilization and Contact sub_Committee has the National Vice Chairman, South East, Chief Olisa Metu as Chairman; Security Committee is chaired by the National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke; Venue Committee has the National Auditor, Dr Samuel Ortom; and accreditation Committee is chaired by the National Organising Secretary, Prince Uche Secondus.
Other sub Committees are the entertainment and Welfare which is chaired by the National Woman Leader, Mrs Maryam Inna Ciroma, Publicity Committee is chaired by the National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali; Accommodation sub_ Committee is chaired by the National Treasurer, William Makinde, Electoral Materials will be handled by the Deputy National Secretary, Musa Babayo led Committee.
As they were about settling down for their assignments for the challenge ahead, the death of the National Youth Leader, Otunba Collins Muyiwa was announced and the National Chairman had mentioned his name as Chairman Protocol sub Committee, what a major setback for the party.
With the rush in the activities, the questions are delegates may not expect the best from the party in the areas of Organization, just as Eagle Square, venue of the programme has not really been decorated as a place where such a convention will take place which include seat arrangements, fixing of public address systems, among others.
Besides Dr.Shettima Mustapha as Chairman, the Planning Committee has governors Godswill Akpabio of AkwaIbom State, Adebayo Alao _Akala of Oyo, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Theodore Orji of Abia and Alh. Sule Lamido of Jigawa state. Other members are Senator Victor Ndoma_Egba, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Anyim Ude, Senator
Suleiman Adoke, Senator Anthony Manzo, Senator Umaru Dahiru, Honourable Patty Etteh, Honourable Nnenna Ukeje, Honourable Ajibade Babalade; Honourable Hembe; Honourable Jerry Manwe; Honourable Sada Sohi Jibia and former governor Ahmadu Adamu Muazu of Bauchi state.
Also in the Committee are Dr. Ombo Isokarari, Chief Bola Olu_Ojo, Chief Dan Orbih, Chief Mrs. Uzo Nwandu, Alhaji Yusuf Ayitogu, Bashir Ibrahim; Mrs. Laiyatu Danladi ; Chief Godwin Bozimo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu , Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, Engr. Abdulkadir kure , Hajia Zainab Maina, Alh. Aminu Wali; Dr. (Mrs.) Stella Effa_Attoe, Hauwa Musa kida while Chief Ojo Maduekwe is the Secretary.
Members of the Committee were at the Party’s National Secretariat Tuesday, same day the party screened the Presidential aspirants trying to brainstorm on the Convention, how far the Committee will go against the backdrop of its short time, Thursday will tell.