By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- STRONG indications emerged yesterday that crisis looms in the family of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as the leadership of the party and some Stakeholders from the North East geo- political zone of the country over the National Chairmanship position.
Yesterday at the party’s National Secretatiat, former Political Adviser to immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak submitted a letter of intent to the PDP National Working Committee, NWC to inform the party of his intention to contest election into the office following the resignation of Ahmad Adamu Muazu as national chairman in May.
Gulak who declared that the constitution of the PDP provides that election be conducted to fill the vacancy created by Muazu’s resignation, however drew attention to the dangers that the failure to elect a new chairman would create in the party, stressing that the era of impunity in the party was over.
He faulted a statement by the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, which canvassed the appointment of a caretaker committee chairman to run the affairs of the PDP till March next year when the tenure of the current NWC would lapse.
It would be recalled that Muazu who came on board in January 2014 when he replaced the former National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who assumed office March 24, 2012 as the position was zoned to North East.
Following Muazu’s resignation and in line with Sections 45 (2) of the PDP’s Constitution as amended in 2012, the Deputy National Chairman, Secondus, would step in, in acting capacity, until Muazu’s zone, the North East, brings in a replacement.
Barely five minutes after the departure of Gulak from the PDP national secretariat, there was a mild drama as a delegation of NWC members led by the PDP national secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, addressed a press conference dismissing Gulak’s mission as fruitless stating that there was no vacancy in the office of the National chairman.
Flanked at the briefing by the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, and the PDP national legal adviser, Victor Kwon, Oladipo explained that there were specific decisions to be taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) before arriving at a conclusion that a vacancy had existed in the office of the chairman and none of such decisions had been taken.
Oladipo said, “I am not aware of any vacancy in the chairmanship seat.
There is an acting Chairman and the party is waiting for the report of the Ekwerenmadu committee before the decision to appoint a replacement as the national chairman.
“PDP is always guided by two major documents, one, the country’s constitution and then the party’s constitution. Concerning the office of the national chairman I think there are clear constitutional provisions; I am not aware of any vacancy,”
Also speaking on the development, PDP National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon said: “PDP is a party that follows the provisions of its constitution to the later. We are aware of the circumstances under which the acting national chairman assumed office when the then national Chairman resigned, chief Uche Secondus was asked to step in and act in line with the party’s constitution particularly section 45 which says that when the chairman resigns, the deputy national chairman will assume office pending the appointment of another chairman.
According to him, there are relevant sections of the PDP constitution (section 47 subsection 6) which empowers NEC to convene and appoint a replacement at the instance of the NWC. But there are no time limit provided in the constitution within which the acting chairman is expected to serve. It is only the prerogative of the party leadership to decide on when to choose someone from the appropriate zone to effect the replacement. But like I said there is actually no time limit under section 47 subsection 2.”
It would be recalled that Governor Ayodele Fayose, who had said that appointing a new chairman for the PDP was a waste of time, argued that what the party needed was a caretaker committee, just as he urged notable PDP leaders in the South-West to prepare and contest for the national chairmanship position next year.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Sunday the governor had said “since the PDP will pick its presidential candidate from the North in 2019, the South-West that has not produced the party’s national chairman should take the position next year.”
The governor, who maintained that installing a new chairman from the North-East for the party at this time was a waste of time and advocated the appointment of a caretaker committee to pilot the affairs of the party at the expiration of the tenure of Chief Uche Secondus as the Acting National Chairman.
He had continued saying, “I think the party needs a caretaker committee by November rather than a substantive chairman. It will be more desirable that a caretaker committee is put in place by November to pilot the affairs of the party and organise a national convention that will usher in a new National Working Committee early next year. What can anyone achieve as national chairman in less than five months?
“The time and resources being devoted to securing the party chairmanship position for just less than five months should rather be devoted to getting the presidential ticket.”
On why the South-West must produce the next chairman, the governor said, “Since the presidential candidate will come from the North, the chairman will naturally come from the South. The South-East already had its tenure as the party chairman and the South-South just left the Presidency.”