Saturday, May 21, 2016 6:44 pm
* Senator Ali Modu Sheriff walks out
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Peoples Democratic Party plunged into deeper crisis on Saturday after the Port Harcourt group defied the party’s interim chairman and went ahead to hold its ‘national convention’.
Simultaneously in Abuja, old guards of the party, led by Professor Jerry Gana and Senator Ibrahim Mantu held their own ‘National Convention’ as well.
The Port Harcourt show was more dramatic as the party’s 12 governors and deputy senate president openly defied Sheriff’s advice that the convention be abandoned because of the court order stopping it and another order stopping the party from filling the positions of chairman, secretary and national auditor.
Apparently sensing his isolation, he walked out of the Sharks Stadium venue of the convention to hold a press conference, while the rebel governors went ahead to stage the much advertised event.
It smelled like a coup as the ‘convention’ proceeded to sack Sheriff and all the members of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the party.
Austin Opara, former Deputy Speaker House of Representative moved the motion for the dissolution of the National Executive Council of the party and the National Working Committee,NWC.Emeka Ihedioha, former Deputy Speaker House of Representatives supported the motion.
Dr Babangida Aliyu former Governor of Niger State also moved the motion that the Presidential Slot for 2019 be zoned to the Northern States.The motion was supported by Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa,Governor of Delta State.
The convention later swore in a caretaker committee.
Controversies have dogged the convention with stakeholders earlier locked in various meetings before it kicked off.
Governor Nyesom Wike, of Rivers State,the Chairman of the Convention planning committee has announced the presence of Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC in the Convention monitoring the Convention as required by law.
Its Committee had been duly served the court order barring the Convention from conducting election in various executive positions of the party.
The national chairman of the party, Senator Modu Sheriff was conspicuously absent at the convention.
It was learnt that the PDP Governors pulled the rug off his feet when it was learnt that he insisted that the convention be postponed based on court orders bugging down the convention.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko,the Chairman of PDP governors Forum had spoken on behalf of the 12 PDP Governors supporting efforts to rebuild the party and promote its resilience for a vibrant future.
Mimiko who went sarcastic said:”We,PDP,were clueless because we did not know how to use propaganda to take over power,conduct inconclusive election.Are we faring better than we were under PDP? The centrifugal forces tending to pull us apart are work.But PDP will do what it knows how to do-uniting the country together.”
Chairman of Board of Trustees Senator Wakil Jibril had earlier addressed the convention and declared it open on behalf of 97 Board of Trustees members.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu,Deputy Senate President, the most senior officer of PDP in government
noted that the convention was the first time the party was holding as opposition party.
He said the PDP chased the Boko Haram to Sambisa Forest before handing over to APC but today Boko Haram is everywhere.
He said “We left the economy at N165 to a US dollar but today it’s over N350 to a dollar.So you begin to see what PDP stands for.
“By 2019 we return the country to PDP.Those who voted for APC said I should apologize to you for the big mistake. We have forgiven them.They should sin no more.”