PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC), yesterday, met with the deputies that resigned their offices on Tuesday over claims of being forsaked by the party leadership.
At the meeting presided over by Secondus, he charged the aggrieved deputies to at least conclude their tenure, which they all started together in 2017 before considering the option of quitting.
But a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP, and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Kaduna State, Mark Jacob, said, there was no way Secondus could be bullied out of office, except he chose to resign.
Also, a former governor of Bayelsa State, Sierake Dickson has sued for caution, even as he warned that the party could not survive the risk of a caretaker committee in the face of the 2023 general election.
In their separate letters addressed to the National Secretary of the party, Senator Unaru Tsauri, the seven national officers of PDP that resigned Tuesday had alleged being sidelined and unfairly treated by Secondus.
Those who resigned were the Deputy National Financial Secretary, Deputy National Organising Secretary, Deputy National Legal Adviser, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Deputy Woman Leader, and Deputy National Auditor.
National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said after Secondus had addressed the deputies, they were allowed to meet among themselves and consult before a final decision was taken.
He said that the meeting was a one item agenda, and which was to dismiss claim that Secondus was shut out of the meeting, reiterating that the party had already activated its crisis resolution committee to handle the issue.
While denying reports that Secondus was not allowed to preside over the meeting, Ologbondiyan said the party told the aggrieved members that their issue could only be resolved through an amendment of the party’s constitution.
“By the PDP constitution Part xiii Article 29 (1), establishment and composition of the NWC, there shall be a National Working Committee of the PDP, which shall consist of the National Chairman, two deputy national chairmen, the National Secretary and the Deputy National Secretary.
“Other members of the NWC are the National Treasurer, the National Financial Secretary, the National Organising Secretary, the National Publicity Secretary, the National Auditor, the National Legal Adviser, the National Youth Leader, the National Women Leader, and the six national vice chairmen from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“The functions of the NWC consists of the day-to-day administration of the party, and shall be responsible only to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. In the case of emergence, it can act on behalf of NEC subject to the ratification by NEC. It can perform such other functions as approved by the NEC,” he said.
On the quorum of the NWC meeting, Ologbondiyan said, “The NWC shall meet not less than once every fortnightly at the instance of the national chairman or two-thirds of members of the NWC.
“The quorum of the NWC shall be two-thirds of the members from the two-thirds of the six geopolitical zones of the country and a simple majority shall pass any motion.”
But Jacob, who was furious about how the chairman of the party was being haunted, maintained that there were laid down constitutional provisions to remove a national chairman and that they would stick to in any eventuality.
Speaking on the ARISE News Television yesterday, he said, “The conditions for the national chairman that is duly elected to be removed is stated in the constitution, except when the national chairman in question decided to resign on his own volition. He cannot be bullied out of office.”
Jacob said under the circumstances, any NEC official, who had any grievances against any NWC member must bring it to the NEC for attention, adding that, “In this case of deputies that resigned, they never complained or brought any issue to the NEC for any attention or for it to be addressed.”
Corroborating Ologbondiyan, Jacob said right from the inception of the party, the said deputies were not members of the NWC of the party and weren’t attending leadership meetings, except the NEC.
He described their resignation as highest point of selfish and personal interest, asking: “They have been in that position since their election in 2017, what made them to hurriedly resign now?”
Dismissing claims that an individual could control the party, Jacob said it was not possible as there were organs within the party that served as checks and balances.
On his part, Dickson, who said the party could not stand the risk of a caretaker committee ahead of 2023, stated: “We have observed for some time the growing tension, recriminations and outright attack on the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee by some leaders of the party.
“One has refrained from making statements, because we believe that the party has internal mechanisms and levels of leadership that will handle it and I was in fact, aware that BOT members, governors and other elders, reconciliation committee, collectively and individually, have been making efforts to resolve some of these disputes and challenges affecting the stability of the party.
“As we are all aware, some officers of our party, resigned yesterday (Tuesday) and we should thank them for their services but if their resignation is aimed at causing crisis in the party, then, we should all condemn it and those behind it.
“By the party’s constitution the appropriate authority, the NWC is empowered to make replacements. I, therefore, call on the national chairman and other members of the NWC in accordance with the constitution of the party to immediately make appropriate consultations from the states and zones from which these officers have resigned and forthwith, make those replacements subject to ratification by the NEC.
“An emergency NEC meeting should be convened which should take appropriate decisions to stabilise the party. And if there is any member of the working committee, who wants to resign, such a person should consider the overall interest of the party and have a rethink. If, however, any NWC members goes ahead to resign, the resignation should be accepted and consultations be made by the Chairman and NWC to fill those positions as temporary vacancies subject to ratification.
“The National Chairman and NWC members should utilize their powers under the constitution to discipline erring members involved in the nefarious plot to destroy the party. PDP is bigger than any individual and should no longer tolerate people with inordinate ambitions to destroy the party, which belongs to all Nigerians. People with ambition must know that unless the party is stabilised and strengthened, their ambition will be of no consequence even if they pocket it.
“If the PDP shrinks from a party for all to a party for a few, it would lose its selling point and many members and leaders will have no option than to review their membership.
“We are not a ruling party at the centre. We don’t have the time, resources and mechanisms to resolve problems that will arise from a caretaker committee, which will throw up more problems before the party convention and primaries at the centre and across the states.
“I caution all those behind this crisis not to leave any opening to the APC to exploit with their control of the resources and machinery of government. We should all learn from the challenge the APC has found itself with the appointment of a caretaker committee, which is still unfolding. With only four months to the end of the tenure of the current working committee, it does not make sense to either push for and force a resignation, or to force the appointment of a caretaker committee on a party with officers, who have a constitutionally guaranteed tenure.” he said.
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