Warns against govs hijacking delegates
Urges PDP to zone chairmanship to south, Presidency to north
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AHEAD of tomorrow’s non-election convention of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has asked the party to ensure that the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee does not stay in office for more than three months.
According to him, the Makarfi committee should conduct a national convention on the expiration of the three months to elect new members of National Working Committee, NWC, and National Executive Committee, NEC.
In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, Clark also asked the PDP to adopt part of the Senator Ike Ekweremadu-led Reconciliation Committee by ensuring that the presidential candidate of the party for the 2019 election came from the north, while the national chairmanship position should come from the South.
The South-South leader equally warned the PDP against a situation where the governors would hijack delegates to convention, stressing that governors’ over-bearing influence on delegates from their state led the party to where it found itself.
He recommended that direct primary be done at the ward, local government and state levels to enable delegates vote directly without any influence or intimidation from the governors.
Clark asked the party to emulate the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, which zoned the Presidency to the entire north and the national chairmanship to the entire south, giving rise to emergence of Chief Adisa Akinloye from South-West as the national chairman and Alhaji Shehu Shagari from the North-West as presidential candidate of the party.
He said: “You will recall that I was one of the elders and senior members of PDP, the party in power at the centre from the return of democracy in 1999 to 2015.
“While I was in the party as a member, I paid my dues to the fullest until I retired from partisan politics in 2015.
“Though I have retired from partisan politics, but I remain a statesman and stakeholder in the Nigeria project and I have been contributing to the peace and development of our dear nation, Nigeria. This explains why I will advise on any subject that concerns the well- being of our country.
“It is on this platform that I am offering my well thought out counsel, especially at this time when the PDP is preparing for its non-elective convention.”
‘’I have observed the Constitution of PDP and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and wish to state as follows: Senator Ahmed Markarfi’s Caretaker Committee should be given at most another three months to allow new executives and other organs of the party to be elected to enable the Party move on.
‘’Any time longer than three months will not be in the best interest of the Party and its members.
“If Presidential election is to take place in February 2019, the minimum time required by an elected executive will not be more than 12 months to settle down.
‘’If there are interested members of the Caretaker Committee for elective positions, such as President, Senator or Governor, such persons should not remain in office as members of the Caretaker Committee for more than three months.
“Zoning of Presidency and Chairmanship of the Party. Part of The Ekweremadu Committee Report which zoned the Presidency to the North, and the National Chairmanship to the South should be adopted. Let all Presidential aspirants from the 19 states of the North be subjected to one Primary, whereas, all National Chairmanship candidates from the 17 States of the South be subjected also to one Primary to contest together, so as to produce the best candidate, to practicalize democracy.
“Nigeria’s Democracy, as a State Policy in Nigeria is expressed in Chapter 2, section 14 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and shall be stated based on the principles of Democracy and Social Justice.
“It is hereby accordingly declared that: Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom Government, through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority. The participation by the people in their government shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Governors and other functionaries of government should not impose Candidates or delegates from their States.
“This was my warning in 2014 , when I issued a Press statement that PDP will destroy itself through the imposition of candidates , and that was what happened, when the then National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu and then incumbent Governors imposed unpopular candidates on the electorate.
“A situation where governors, government functionaries and candidates provide Logistics and convey delegates to Abuja and other voting locations should be jettisoned.
“I strongly recommend that direct Primary election should be adopted where delegates would be made to vote at their localities, where no one will take advantage of and manipulate them.
“In order words, the recommendations of Professor Jerry Gana led Committee should be implemented. I wish you all a very successful convention which is a continuation of your victory celebration at the Supreme Court.”