Politics

April 8, 2024

60 Reps demand immediate resignation of PDP chair, Damagun

Umar Illiya Damagun

… accuse him of anti-party activities, serving interest of APC

… accused Damagun of plot to impeach Rivers State Governor, Fubara

… reject move to foist APC loyalist as rivers PDP caretaker committee members

By Gift ChapiOdekina, Abuja

60 PDP federal lawmakers under the aegis of opposition lawmaker’s coalition has threatened to quit the party if the alleged doctored list of Local Government Caretaker Committees of the party in Rivers and 10 other states which was filled with members and loyalist of the All Progressive Congress, APC is not changed.

This is as the lawmakers accused the PDP chairman of anti-party activities, alleging that he has plans to hand over the party PDP to the All Progressive Congress APC.

The lawmakers are also demanding resignation of the acting chairman of PDP, Umar Damagun to pave way for North central person to emerge as acting chairman of the party pending the conduct of convention as required by the party’s constitution.

Addressing newsmen at a press conference today, the spokesperson of the group and the Rep member representing Ideato Federal constituency, Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere who was flanked by other leading members of the G60 lawmakers in the coalition said that the members cannot be in a political party where the activities of such party are determined by another political party.

The group accused the Ag. Chairman of PDP,  Umar Iliya Damagun of working for APC alleging that the list of Caretaker Committee members in Rivers state was doctored in favour of former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the members of the Rivers House of Assembly who have defected from PDP to APC with card carrying members of APC emerging as would be officers of the PDP.

They also accused Damagun of approving the plot to impeach the Rivers State Governor, Similayan Fubara, saying that Damagun “is fully aware of the entire details of the plots to impeach the Rivers State governor and he gave his approval to the plot, yet he refers himself as a Chairman of a party”.

Ugochinyere insisted that going by the constitution of the PDP and in line with its zoning formula enshrined in the constitution, it was the turn of the North Central to produce the Chairman of the party and called on North central leader to meet and present a credible replacement for Sen. Iyorchia Ayu.

The opposition lawmakers stated that Damagun will fail in his plot to sell PDP to the highest bidder as his abdication of the responsibilities of the office of chairman of the largest opposition in the country coupled with the tampering of the caretaker committee lists Rivers and other 10 states has exposed the plot and it will fail.

They listed their demands as follows:  ” Immediate resignation of Umar Iliya Damagun as Ag. National Chairman of PDP for anti-party activities and allow North central produce the acting chairman as clearly stated in the pdp constitution or watch us reconsider our membership of the party in the months ahead if the right thing is not done.

“Or removal of Umar Iliya Damagun by the NEC of the Party with further sanctions against him for his anti-party activities.

“That the NEC of the Party should ensure that the list of party Caretaker Committees in Rivers State and all other 10 states tampered by Damagun and his APC Friends are reversed and announced as originally agreed, that is by extension of the tenures of the outgoing leadership.

“That the move to use serving APC Members in rivers state and 10 other states to lead our party caretaker at state, lga and ward level is the highest act of political provocation and impunity that we are going to fight with everything in us. PDP cant be handed over the APC. APC officers cant emerge our party officials in rivers or any of the 10 states with alleged imposition of APC interest.

” let the world know that why they are hell bent on imposing APC officials as our party caretaker members is to fulfil a planned bigger plot which will see so called PDP members who in reality are APC members decamping in mass into APC as PDP officials which will see the imposed executives of our party in over 11 states including rivers joining APC on their set date just to embarrass our party, hence our resistance that we will fight with every thing in us and to any length to resist that plan. God save the PDP. Just imagine imposing card carrying members of APC in the entire PDP structures in Rivers and 10 other states, God how did we get here..

“That NEC of PDP should review the sources of generating finance for the party to pay its National secretariat staff and to discharge all other responsibilities of the party and to investigate the allegation that pro APC supporters are funding the present PDP of today. this is the height of political treason.

“That PDP NEC sets up a Committee to investigate all continuing acts of anti-party activities from 2023 and mete out appropriate sanctions which will serve as deterrent and also encourage cleansing of the party.Ward executive of our party where people played anti party activities or still playing it like cross river, Rivers, benue, abia, ondo, kano, kogi ,edo etc should immediately announce the explusion of all those involved without fear or favour. This must be done immediately. Any executive that can do this should be removed by members in those wards and new officers who has the courage to enforce the provisions of our party constitution constituted to do the needful.

“That a credible party leader from the North Central be confirmed Chairman of the party in line with the zoning formula as enshrined in the Constitution.

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Where these demands are not met, we the Opposition lawmakers coalition from PDP in the National Assembly will be left with no other options but suspend participating in the party activities and seek new political relationship  where decisions in that party will not be taken in the Secretariats of another political party. But this is the last of the last paths where every other reasonable effort at resolution fails.

Speaking further on the plot to use the judiciary,  Ugochinyere said that “the desperation of these Abuja based former lawmakers and their penchant for any action that is illegitimate propelled us not to take the intelligence lightly hence the need to draw the attention of our respected judges to this alleged emerging development that must be crushed at all cost for the sake of image of our judiciary.

“For those who do not know both in the judiciary and the entire country, let us state it clearly. The crux of the matter is that the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly whose seats were declared vacant came out from the hiding one day and announced an illegal amendment to the Rivers State LGA laws unilaterally without the legitimacy carried an extension of tenure of the LGA Chairmen which is about to expire and said they can be in office as long as required without any tenure again or election process as the basis for holding such office.

“This is a legislative coup, legislative rascality and usurpation of the process for constitutional democracy. The law was dead on arrival as it was made by men and women unknown to law. It was made by people without the legitimacy to make such law and hence their claim of overriding the governor’s assent was the height of their legislative rascality and political hallucination.

“Now sensing that the illegal amendment is unenforceable, these men and their agents decided to drag the judiciary into this madness with the alleged application seeking to issue them exparte for the unenforceable to be enforced including an order to seize and hijack the LGA allocation due to Rivers State and be sharing it from the comfort of their hotel rooms in Abuja.

“This could lead to anarchy, this is a grand assault on democracy and rule of law and if our judiciary is ever dragged into this, our nation is would have been taken back to the dark ages, hence our call on the National Judicial Commission, the Federal High Court, Nigeria Bar Association and all relevant authorities to ensure that our courts are not used to carry out the infamous alleged act of using an exparte order to legalise the illegal tenure extension for local government chairmen in Rivers State whose tenure are about to expire.

“We are also calling on the Federal Government to be at alert including the judiciary as we have been informed about another prayer in the suit seeking to order the Accountant General of the Federation and  the Federal Ministry of Finance to seize the legitimate local government allocation of Rivers, deny the Rivers people access to their constitutional funds including LGA workers and primary school teachers who will not be paid while the money should be sent to the LGA Chairmen whose tenure will lapse in days who in their retirement will be sharing the allocation of the people based on the illegal law that claimed to have extended their tenure without any election producing them. Haba…even in Mobutu Sese Seko’s Congo or Nkurunziza’s Burundi, people could never have imagined these kinds of recklessness.

“We wish to state clearly that Opposition lawmakers will not take lightly any move to extend the tenure of the about to expire LGA Chairmen under any guise or scheme. The Opposition is calling on the President as a NADECO bred Democrat to call those pursuing their selfish greedy ambition but illegally using his name to carry out constitutionally destabilizing activities in Rivers State to order.

“They have breached the peace accord and carrying on as though they are the only ones that have monopoly for crisis and violence, they have no atom of respect for the President. The allocation of Rivers State LGA cannot be stolen using an exparte court order neither can LGA Chairmen whose tenures have expired be allowed a second in office under any circumstances.

“That the people of Rivers State have maintained peace in the face of all these evil provocations should rather be appreciated and not be taken for granted. Let all men of goodwill stand up and join us in saying enough is enough, the legislative recklessness in Rivers State must end now and the attempt to drag the federal high court into granting exparte order to seize the rivers LGA allocation and stamp the illegal extension of tenure of about to expire LGA Chairmen by a group of people impersonating as lawmakers after their seats have been declared vacant must end now.