Governor Godswill Akpabio
*Adamawa stakeholders fault Dickson’s chairmanship of reconciliation committee
*Tukur flays enemies of party
By Chuks Okochaand Daji Sani
As part of the ongoing reconciliation moves within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the chairman of the party’s governors’ forum, Godswill Akpabio, will today host a meeting of all PDP governors.
This is coming as Adamawa State PDP stakeholders have faulted the appointment of the governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson as the chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee, stating that he was too inexperienced to head such a strategic committee.
Also, investigations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that Kano State was not listed among states that the delegate election to the PDP convention was not properly conducted. According to a copy of letter written by the INEC secretary, Abduallhi Kaugama, dated March 5 2012, listed the states that the delegates were not acceptable to include Sokoto, Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Lagos, Anambra and Katsina. Inside sources said the inclusion of Kano State delegates in the list was an error.
According to a governor that spoke to THISDAY in confidence, the agenda of the PDP governors’ meeting is three fold: the ongoing reconciliation within the party, the planned August 31 national convention and the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.
“The Anambra State governorship election is important to PDP, as it is strategic to the 2015 presidential campaigns. We the PDP governors want to meet to ensure that there is transparency in the emergence of the governorship candidate. It is the belief of the PDP governors that if the PDP will win the presidential election, then it must start with the Anambra State.
“The South-east must be made to return to the PDP one hundred percent,” the source said.
The Adamawa State PDP in a statement signed by Dr. Umar Ardo, in faulting the appointment of Dickson as the chairman of the PDP Reconciliation Committee, said: “I should have thought that such an important committee would be better handled by more experienced hands such as members of the Board of Trustees of the party or by the eminent 50-member Advisory Committee constituted by Bamanga himself last year when he came into office. If one may respectfully ask, of what significance is this Advisory Committee headed by no less a personality than Chief Alex Ekwueme, if it cannot handle issues of this nature?
“For the party to bypass such eminent personalities within its fold and go and pick Gov. Dickson who is hardly known outside his governorship office is to me a clear indication of how far alienated the PDP is in the national support reckoning. It is sending a wrong signal across the country on the current popularity and moral standings of the party capable of irreversibly destroying its electoral fortunes in 2015. This is counterproductive and undesirable.
Ardo stated that: “Other than the fact that as a governor, Dickson would have little time to devote to such an onerous and time-consuming task, I also think that he is eminently unqualified to handle such an assignment. In the first place Dickson lacks the national exposure and experience." that such a task requires. Secondly, Dickson himself is a subject of conflict within the party apparatus and membership. The way and manner in which he was brought in as governor, and the furor and controversy that it generated across the country, drain him of all moral standing to undertake a reconciliatory mission.
“Also, as a governor of the president’s own state, and a number one hatched boy of the president, Dickson cannot be objective and fair in his judgment.
"Given that one of the most central causes of the present disputes within the party is the inordinate ambition of the president for 2015, I cannot see how Dickson can depart from this goal should it be imperative for the committee to do so in the course of its assignment."
According to Ardo Umar, “In fact, Dickson’s appointment will only be seen as an act of nepotism aimed at satisfying the impulsive determination of the president to achieve his aspiration. This perception will automatically estrange most aggrieved members and stakeholders of the party. The committee will thus be dead on arrival”.
In the same vein, the Adamawa State Secretary of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP), in the Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama led- faction, Mr. P. P. Elisha has criticised the Dickson-headed committee, describing it as useless and baseless.
Elisha argued that five other committees have been set up by the party and President Goodluck Jonathan in the past to resolve the party crisis but none of them has been able to deliver on the peace and reconciliation mandate.
"Let Tukur, explain to us what happened to Chief Tony Anenih's committee report, Pius Anyim Pius Committee report and others” he said.
Elisha added that the present 30-man committee would make matters worse in the PDP crisis. He claimed that the PDP National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur know what to do to end the party wrangling rather than deceiving the PDP stalwarts with another committee.
"How many reconciliation committees we are going to have before we put our house in order?, he asked rhetorically.
According to him, the problems of the party was the National Chairman's despotic style of leadership which almost wants to impose issues on the members of the party.
Elisha said President Goodluck Jonathan, in his wisdom set up Sule Lamido Committee, to look into Adamawa State PDP crisis and submitted its report to the national chairman of the party with facts that touched core matters affecting the party across the country. But because the committee’s report was not in favour of Tukur”s existing faction in the state, he destroyed the committee.
In his word" Now I tend to wonder if Mr. President is heading a Committee for reconciliation in the PDP, and the National Chairman set a parallel one indicating a wrong signal that the national chairman is above Mr. President. As a party faithful, we believe that any other committee set by whoever in Nigeria cannot be above the one Mr. President is heading which we are yet to know what time it will commence work"
But as if he was responding to the tirade launched at him, the national chairman of PDP, Bamanga Tukur lambasted those he accused of fanning and funding the crisis in the party. He said, “those found to be funding reports on crises within the party, particularly on issues of mini convention, to me, are enemies of the party, our reconciliatory plans as well as our focus on 2015. And I dare say that they will always fail”.
According to Tukur, the media should have realised that the National secretariat of PDP is the only body constitutionally saddled with the task of resolving issues about dates of congresses and National Conventions by the party. He said any Committee set up for that purpose should naturally be answerable to the party.
The Chairman made this known in a statement he personally signed, as he stressed that since the PDP constitution lays emphasis on party supremacy, the National Secretariat would not shirk its responsibilities in taking appropriate decisions in the interest of all members.
He said President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP leader, acknowledges the powers conferred on the party by the constitution and has always been encouraging the dispensation of party supremacy for shaping the good conduct of PDP while strengthening democracy, all the same.
He said, “We are one as a people and as a party. The people who say there were wranglings between us as leaders on convention matters are mere rumour peddlers. We have been meeting and taking decisions on how to move the party forward. And the good thing is that we are all experienced members to know the right thing to do.
“All of us in PDP know that the party is supreme. I am aware like other well meaning founding members that without party supremacy, the flock would only be floundering, and so there must be control. Authority must flow from one direction, which is the party.
“From day one that I was elected as chairman, I have been committed to the vision and best wishes of the founding fathers of which I am one. I did not come from any party to join PDP. So I appeal to our members to give us the space and the support to do the job for which we are elected and that includes taking the right decisions for the party’s progress.
Tukur, however, appeal to party members nationwide to continue to repose confidence in him and his ability to Sheppard the PDP towards the right direction. He stressed that the decisions he had taken so far as the Chairman had been tested by time, while he was all along vindicated.
He stressed, “What we need as a party is full concentration and the focus to do the unthinkable in a manner that would leave our enemies and opponents dumbfounded. I have an unshaken belief that the PDP remains a family with an umbrella to contain all interests.