By Anthony Ogbonna
The non-elective convention of the country’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has kicked off at the Eagles Square Abuja on Saturday with close to 5000 persons in attendance. This is the first national gathering of the party members since the Supreme Court judgement that reaffirmed Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the Caretaker Committee Chairman after ousting the former chairman, Ali Sheriff.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye told newsmen on Friday that the PDP National Caretaker Committee extended an olive branch to Senator Sheriff because, the party adopted a policy of “no victor, no vanquished” in order to move the party forward.
Rising from the 75th National Executive Committee (NEC) Meeting held on Friday at the National Secretariat of the Party, PDP resolved that it would, on Saturday, look into some issues affecting the party especially in some states.
One of such issues is the proposal for the extension of the tenure of office of the National Caretaker Committee headed by former governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Makarfi to at least four months in order to allow time to prepare and conduct an elective National Convention to elect new officers for the PDP.
Another issues for treatment was the issues concerning some states in the South West zone, especially in Osun, Lagos and Ogun.
Senator Ahmed Makarfi had on August 10 said that efforts were ongoing to settle the dispute between two purported factions of the party in the south-west region – Eddy Olafeso led faction and Makanjuola Ogundipe’s faction.
The Olafeso faction is politically headed by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; while the Ogundipe faction has Senator Buruji Kashimu as its political leader.
Another item to be settled in today’s convention is the Anambra state Caretaker Committee. PDP’s NEC however, unanimously affirmed that the dissolution of Anambra state and the setting up of the State Caretaker Committee and all existing recognized states and zonal excos be referred to the Special Non Elective National Convention for affirmation.
The said solving the issues of parallel Congresses in some states of the federation was paramount as it resolved that all matters relating to such states should be referred to the Convention for final decision.
Chairman of the 2017 Non-Elective Special National Convention Planning Committee, Sen. Arthur I. Okowa had told the party members that all was set for the convention.
Senator Okowa and other party members reportedly set up “Another review committee to study the report of the constitution review committee and make recommendations as to how some positions would be zoned to the various regions.
The Friday’s Meeting was well attended and presided over by the National Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, CON. It had the former Senate President, Senator David Mark, GCON, former Senate President and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. Ayim Pius Ayim, Governor of Ekiti state and Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Delta state and Chairman of the 2017 Special Non-Elective National Convention Planning Committee, Sen. Arthur I. Okowa, former Governor of Akwa Ibom state and Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), Sen. Walid Jubril in attendance.
Also in attendance were Governors of River state, Chief Nyesom Wike, Taraba state, Arc. Darius Ishaku, Gombe state, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state, Rear Admiral, John Jonah, Deputy Governor of Cross River state, Professor Ivara Esu, Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, National Vice Chairmen, State Chairmen, Party stalwarts and other leaders of the PDP nationwide.