Supporting Sheriff Is One Of My Worst Political Decisions – Wike

Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has said assisting Ali-Modu Sheriff to the position of the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one of the worst decisions he has made in his political career.

Wike and Ayo Fayose, his Ekiti state counterpart, had backed Sheriff, but they soon fell out with him.

This degenerated into a series of lawsuits that culminated in the recent affirmation of Sheriff as PDP chairman by an appeal court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

Reacting to the development during an interview on Sunday Politics, which aired on Channels Television, Wike said he regretted bringing Sheriff into the fold of PDP.

The governor said the PDP would file for a stay of execution on the appeal court’s decision, adding that afterwards, an appeal will be filed at the supreme court.

The governor said he was shocked by the ruling and maintained that Sheriff had no good intention for the opposition party.

“I do believe that even in life, even as human beings, there are times for setbacks, and challenges. What has happened to us is a temporary setback,” he said.

“I will not support anything that has to do with Sheriff. I know that he doesn’t mean well for the party.

“He’s a mole in the party. His antecedents tell you that there are people behind who are not members of the party, who do not want PDP to exist.

“I’m not new in this game. Even the characters around him, they don’t augur well for the party.

“That is one of the worst political decisions I’ve ever taken. In life, when you take a decision and you realise that you made a mistake. In that decision you made, there is nothing stopping you from saying, ‘I’ve made a mistake, I think we can correct it’.

“Frankly, I have never regretted any decision I’ve taken than this decision. Politically, we have seen his conduct. It has shown that he does not mean well for the party. It will be difficult for me to work with him. That is clear. I don’t have that confidence that he can lead the party.”

Jonathan Endorse Sheriff As PDP Chairman Amidst Protest By Makarfi’s Faction

Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday endorsed Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the National Chairman of the troubled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But the party’s key stakeholders, including governors, Board of Trustees (BoT) members, National Assembly Caucus and former ministers, passed a vote of confidence in the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee.

Jonathan’s endorsement came amid protests by the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee and other critical organs of the party against the Appeal Court’s ruling that affirmed Sheriff’s chairmanship.

Receiving Sheriff and members of his team at his Maitama, Abuja residence  yesterday, Jonathan, who kept addressing Sheriff as “my chairman”, said there were no factions in the party.

Speaking after a closed door meeting with Sheriff and his team, Jonathan said: “We are not factionalised. We are one. There are bound to be differences in politics. We cannot run away from that.

“It is the way we resolve these differences that makes us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will still meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party.”

Also speaking after the meeting, Sheriff said his mission was to unite the party and place it on a sound footing to provide credible opposition to the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.

Saying he was still consulting, Sheriff stressed that there could be only one national chairman, adding: “We are putting everything together to ensure that the party is united.”

“We are not fighting and this is no time to join issues with people. We want everybody to come back to the party. Very soon I will get back to you when I finish my consultations. I won’t tell you anything before I finish consultations.”

He added that the constitution of the party does not recognise a caretaker committee.

“There is only one PDP and there is only one national chairman. A group of people has the right to sit and discuss as only a group of people but not as PDP. If I go down to their level to exchange words with them, then I would not be different from them.

“We don’t have anything like caretaker committee in our party. As father of the party, I will make sure everybody is united. I will make sure that everybody gets what they want in PDP.

“By the time I finish my convention, Nigerians will know that we mean well for the party,” Sheriff said.

At the enlarged stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Caretaker Committee, party chieftains took turns to denounce Sheriff, vowing to pursue the leadership tussle to the Supreme Court.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu decried what he described as the manipulation of vital institutions of democracy and radical decline of democratic freedoms in the country.

Ekweremadu, who also attended the meeting of the Makarfi camp, said the solidarity of all key organs and bodies of the PDP towards the Makarfi-led PDP National Caretaker Committee showed that “it is not the hood that makes the monk”.

Peeved by the sealing of the International Conference Centre (ICC) , the venue earlier announced for the meeting, Ekweremadu said “such flagrant manipulation of critical institutions of democracy was not only dangerous, but bad news for the nation’s democracy”.

He said: “We are aware that all the institutions of democracy are being manipulated and harassed in this country. The National Assembly and the press are not left out.

“The INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) has been captured and now a part of the All Progressives Congress. Our judiciary is being insulted and assaulted everyday. Their houses are being attacked very late at night and the judges are being harassed.

“So, we are not surprised at what we are seeing today (sealing of meeting venue). But what remains is for us to remain resolute.”

He expressed displeasure at what he described as the rise in political persecution in the country and enjoined PDP members to remain strong, as the party would work with Nigerians to restore true democracy and hope to the people.

The lawmaker urged party members to remain resolute and protect the soul of the PDP and the nation’s hard-won democracy, insisting that the party leaders were made by the party faithful, and could never be imposed from outside.

He continued: “If you look around this room, you will see a lot of people who are being harassed, persecuted, and taken to court. What is their offence?

“They claim they allegedly received stolen property, yet nobody has been arraigned for the actual stealing. As a lawyer, I know that if you are being arraigned for receiving stolen property, you must first of all arraign the man who stole the property. That is not so in our own case. Is that democracy?”

“We have heard there was a judgment in Port Harcourt. Now, those who benefitted from the judgment, where are they? Are they with our former ministers? Are they with our National Assembly members? Are they with our governors? Which organ of the party are they with or is with them? The truth is that it is not the hood that makes the monk”.

“I believe that with determination and sticking together, we will triumph and Nigeria will be better for it”.

Ekweremadu also decried the worsening economic conditions in the country, noting that all APC promises had been kept in the reverse order.
“They told us that one U.S dollar would be one naira when they take over. Has that happened? Today, our currency is the worst currency in the whole of Africa.

“Is that the type of democracy we looked forward to? I can see a situation where the price of oil is going up and the value of naira is going down. What type of economics is that?”.

Makarfi vowed that Nigerians had not seen the end of the matter, adding that the Court of Appeal judgment that affirmed Sheriff as chairman was faulty.

“As it happened in Port Harcourt, so it happened here. This is not the last. It’s an aberration to stop people from associating. When PDP was in power, it could have stopped the formation of the APC. The principle that people should be given a choice to participate in democracy should be encouraged.

“We know what happened in Port Harcourt when the court gave its verdict. The type-written judgement is the main judgement but the hand written judgement, we don’t know what happened.”

Makarfi said the Caretaker Committee had approached the court for an injunction to allow the committee to continue pending the determination of the cross appeal at the Supreme Court.

A communique issued at the end of the meeting stated that while the party held the judiciary in the highest regard, the decision of the Court of Appeal was greeted with consternation, not only amongst leaders and members of the party in Nigeria, but also true lovers of democracy in Nigeria and the world over.

Among the resolutions reached at the meeting was that the PDP remained united, strong, resolute, steadfast and solid under the leadership of the National Caretaker Committee, in view of the fact that the Court of Appeal is not the final court on the matter.

The communique added: “All members, leaders and organs of the party, including but not limited to the Board of Trustees, the Governors Forum, the National Assembly Caucus, PDP Former Ministers Forum, National Vice Chairmen, State Chapters represented by the Conference of State Party Chairmen, Leadership of State Assembly Caucuses and teeming members nationwide, stand resolute that authority to lead the PDP, and indeed any party, solely and exclusively derives from the consent of members at plenary.

“PDP members freely and clearly expressed themselves on the 21st May 2016 at the Port Harcourt National Convention and we stand by the decision given that the National Convention is the highest decision-making organ of the party.

“That we fully endorse the prompt and proactive decision of the National Caretaker Committee to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the decision of the Court of Appeal as well as filing an application for injunction pending appeal of which was done in the morning of Monday 20th February 2017.

“Our abiding faith in the capacity of the judiciary to protect Nigeria’s democracy and political aspirations of the Nigerian people, particularly at the level of the Supreme Court, proven repeatedly over time, is aided by the profound, fearless, irrepressible, comprehensive and insightful minority decision of T. N. Orji-Abadua, J. C. A. in CA/PH/349/2016 SHERRIF & ORS. VS. PDP & ORS., whom we salute for doing the judiciary proud in spite of the predatory interferences of anti-democratic forces and state actors.

“That having duly filed both an appeal to the Supreme Court and an application for Injunction Pending Appeal in the morning of Monday the 20th February 2017, we pass a resounding and unqualified vote of confidence in the leadership of the Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party and pledge our unalloyed support to it as it pilots the affairs of the party in this critical transitional period of the party’s life.

“To this end, we are not at all deceived by the supposed olive branch being offered by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, knowing that the only thing that can come from traitors of his ilk is nothing but a poisoned chalice and a Greek gift.

“The meeting reiterates that the party’s Constitution stipulates the process of democratically electing officers of the party and therefore emphatically rejects any imposition such as those being illegally paraded as officers of the party by Sen. Ali Modu Sherrif.

“That stakeholders and leaders of the party are enjoined to return to their geopolitical zones, states, local governments  and wards to convene meetings of the party and disseminate the foregoing to members.

“True party men are urged to remain calm, steadfast, loyal even in the face of wanton provocation of sealing off the venue of a peaceful assembly of stakeholders. We remain committed to the ideals of the party which stands us out as democrats.

“The meeting agreed to appeal to all Nigerians to fully support the Peoples Democratic Party, a genuinely democratic party that is people oriented and a great defender of equity, justice and fairness to all in its commitment to eradicating poverty, hunger and under-development from our country.”

2019: Atiku Care Foundation Embarks On Enlightenment For Kaduna Electorates

The Atiku Care Foundation, Kaduna office has vowed to carry out enlightenment in the 7,485 polling units in the state before the 2019 general elections.

According to a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the foundation, Jacob Onjewu Dickson, already two-third of the polling units have been visited and the electorates welcomed the team with enthusiasm.

The visits which primarily aims at educating the people on basic democratic principles, is also an avenue to convey goodwill message of the grand patron to the masses.

In every stop, the good people echo the voice of the previous, calling on Atiku to come and continue the good work of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Atiku Care Foundation Kaduna team led by Comrade Ibrahim Danfulani while on the visits, distribute educational handbills which illustrate how to participate effectively in an electoral process to the masses as well as stage drama.

In one of the wards visited, one of the youth Ibrahim Maska requested that the foundation makes forms available in all the wards in the state for members to willingly register and join in the advocacy.

Comrade Danfulani told him that his suggestion would be channeled to the national office in Abuja and he would be communicated with in due course.

This keys into other advocacy groups with similar aims and objectives like the Global Support For Atiku Abubakar  (GSAA) that recently transformed from Turaki Vanguards.

Police Stop Makarfi’s Faction Of PDP From Meeting At ICC

Nigerian Police High Command on Monday afternoon prevented a faction of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Ahmed Makarfi, from holding its stakeholders meeting at the International Conference Centre,  ICC,  Abuja.
The meeting was summoned to discuss the way forward for the faction sequel to the ruling of the Federal Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt,  which ruled that Ali Modu Sheriff is the authentic national chairman of the Party.
But, the meeting could not commence at 2.00pm as scheduled because a detachment of policemen has been deployed to barricade the entrance to the ICC.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the faction,  Dayo Adeyeye, said the meeting would still hold, asking those invited to move to Ekiti Governor’s Lodge at Asokoro district.
According to him, “Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in collaboration with the All Progressive Congress (APC) led Federal Government has barricaded the International Conference Center, ICC, venue of the scheduled Stakeholders Meeting of the entire organs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“This is a very sad development in our democratic history where there is no longer free association and movement of citizens of this Country.
“Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his APC collaborators cannot stop the will of the people. Nigerians can now confirm that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is a mole in PDP to destroy the only strong opposition in the Country.
“All invited members of the Party for the scheduled Stakeholders Meeting are hereby directed to proceed to will the Ekiti State Government Lodge on T. Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, Abuja by same time, 2:00Pm” the statement said .

PDP Court Ruling: No Victor, No Vanquished- Prof. Wale Ladipo

The National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Prof. Wale Ladipo, has declared that the February 17th judgement of the Port-Harcourt Appeal Court on the party’s leadership tussle is “a case of No Victor, No Vanquished.”

He made this assertion while addressing party faithfuls and leaders at the Ife-East Local Government of Osun State, few hours after the Friday Judgment was delivered.

The National Secretary stated that “the PDP is one big, indivisible family where, as human beings, we may disagree only to agree on organizational issues”

According to him, “It is only among angels that you don’t have squabbles”, adding “of course, we are not angels”.

Prof. Ladipo noted that the PDP as a political party, has once again proved to Nigerians and the international community that “the party is a law abiding political entity and that anarchy and impunity has no place within the PDP”

Prof Ladipo, a professor of Nuclear Chemistry, also used the opportunity to commend “the Judiciary for living up to its mandate of dispensing justice within the ambit of the law, with fear of God and with service as the last hope of the common man”

He prayed that God would continue to uphold judicial officials in their humanitarian task.

The National Secretary explained that the PDP, under the leadership of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has a mandate to return the party to the people in conformity with the party constitution, among other things.

He therefore implored party faithful and leaders across board, to earnestly get back to work and listen to the clarion call of ensuring that PDP reclaim the mandate of steering the socio-economic and political affairs of Nigeria at all levels of governance, through the polls.

He  admonished all PDP members to embark on genuine reconciliation of all aggrieved members of the party, warning that “this is not the time for vengeance, revenge and  trivialities” even as he expressed deep-seated appreciation to all PDP leaders and members, for standing by the leadership of Sen. AliModu Sheriff, through the thick and thin of the political impasse.

In an equivocal terms, Ladipo said  what played out at the Port-Harcourt Appeal Court cannot be said to be a judgement per se, but a crystal clear explanation of what “ought to be “and what “not ought to be”, as captured in the party constitution, which is supreme and  sacrosanct as the grand norms of the party.

The PDP National Secretary finally assured all party faithful and leaders that, by the grace of God, PDP would form the government of Osun State, through the polls, come 2018.

Present at the event are the PDP Senatorial Chairman for Ife/Ijesha Senatorial District, Barr.Wale Ojo(OJO-POWER),PDP Local Government Chairmen of Ife-East,(Hon.Durojaye Isaac);Ife-North(Dauda Shittu),and Ife-South(Com.Joel).

Notable elders and leaders also present include, Elder Layi Falaju,Alh.Razak Atitebi,Hon.Kola Adewusi, Hon.Jimoh Adetoro, Osun State House of Assembly Minority Leader, Hon.Akinwole Safiriyu Akinwale(OMILAJ),among others.

PDP Crisis: Makarfi’s Faction Summon Emergency Meeting

The Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has summoned an emergency meeting of stakeholders of the party scheduled for Monday, February 20, 2017.

According to the spokesperson of the faction, Dayo Adeyeye, the meeting is summoned to discuss the decision of the Appeal Court which favoured the Ali Modu-Sheriff’s faction of the party.

Those invited to the meeting are members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), members of the Board of Trustees (BoT), National Assembly members, former governors of PDP, former ministers under the platform of the PDP, former National Assembly members and party elders.

Adeyeye enjoined all those invited to attend “unfailingly as crucial party matters will be discussed.”

It will be recalled that the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, Ekiti state Governor Ayodele Fayose, had descried the Appeal Court ruling as a rape on democracy, saying that the faction would appeal.

Makarfi’s PDP Rejects Sheriff, Says APC Wants One-party State

The Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its loss of the party’s leadership to Ali Modu Sheriff.

On Friday, the Port Harcourt division of the appeal court declared Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of the PDP.

But the Makarfi faction has rejected the decision of the court,  vowing to challenge it at the supreme court.

In a tweet on Friday, the PDP faction alleged that the judgment of the appeal court showed that the APC was out to create a one-party state.

Court Declares Ali Modu Sheriff Authentic Chairman Of PDP

The factional PDP chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff has won his case at the Appeal Court. As a result of this latest development, the caretaker committee may have been nullified by the court, upholding Justice Abang’s judgement.

Recall that the power tussle between Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi have been ongoing for a very long time now.

It was gathered that the three judges of the court in a unanimous decision agreed that the Modu Sheriff is the chairman of the PDP.

Chieftains of the party from the two sides had at various fora expressed readiness to abide by the outcome of the appeal court verdict with a view to bringing lasting peace in the party.

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had last year given legitimacy to Makarfi as the chairman of the party, while another court of coordinate jurisdiction in Abuja, headed by Justice Okon Abang, had ruled that Sheriff should be recognized as the chairman.

The PDP has not been able to play the role of leading opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the crisis ravaging it from within.

An appeal court in Abuja had on December 16, 2016, adjourned indefinitely, the separate hearing in the leadership tussle so as to pave way for the Port Harcourt division of the court to exhaust the case before it.

Both Makarfi and Sheriff have been operating from satellite offices following the closure of the national headquarters of the party, at Wadata Plaza in Abuja.

The crisis in the PDP is also raging in many states where Makarfi and Sheriff share the loyalty of members.

APC Moves To Resolve Crisis Rocking State Chapters

The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress says it will set up peace and reconciliation committees to address conflicts in affected states.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, in a statement on Monday in Abuja said the decision followed reports of internal crises rocking some state chapters of the party.

He said, “Recently, some state chapters of the APC have been engulfed in internal crises, leading to suspensions of party leaders and other members.

“Concerned by this ugly trend and as part of preparation for its non-elective National Convention expected to hold not later than April 2017, the NWC has decided to set up the committees.”

He added in the statement that the committees would be expected to resolve all outstanding issues to enable the party have a united front ahead of the convention.

The APC spokesman said the committees would be made up of senior members of the party and some members of the National Executive Committee.

He added that the committee members would have the mandate to investigate all issues with a view to finding lasting solutions and reconcile members in affected states.

He further added that where actions had been taken and disciplinary measures applied, state chapters should be strictly guided by the relevant provisions of the party’s constitution on disciplinary procedures.

He said, “Therefore, where those actions have been taken in breach of the processes and procedures that are laid down in the party’s constitution.

“Such actions should be reversed and the status quo maintained pending the intervention of the peace and reconciliation committees.”

The APC had on January 25, constituted a 10-man committee to review its constitution ahead of its mid-term, non-selective national convention.

The party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, while inaugurating the committee, said the decision to review the party’s constitution was taken at its last NEC meeting.

He explained that the decision was particularly taken to review aspects of the party’s existing constitution which did not really address issues of disciplinary measures to be taken against erring members as well as membership requirement.

(NAN)

Despite Losing Power, PDP Remains The Biggest And Strongest Party – Jonathan

Iyobosa Uwugiaren and  Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has said the loss of the presidential election in 2015 did not in any way diminish the grassroots popularity and size of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Also, two of the founding fathers of the party, its former National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, both shared similar view on the electoral strength of the PDP when they spoke yesterday.

Against the background of complaints about the performance of the party, the former president said for the country to grow there is need to ensure strong institutions that can stand the test of time.

He warned against the weakening of institutions of democracy such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Ex-President Jonathan made the remarks while receiving a delegation of the PDP Strategy Review and Inter party committee who visited him yesterday to give him their report.

While commending the committee for doing a good work, an obviously impressed Jonathan said the PDP was still the biggest and the strongest party in the country despite the loss of the presidential election in 2015.

“PDP is still the biggest and the strongest party,  irrespective of what happened in 2015 general elections. Yes, we lost the presidential election but that doesn’t diminish us. Every other party still know that PDP is a leading party. Lossing the presidency is something temporary. We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our  a it together. I am happy that you people are working towards that,” he said.

The former president expressed optimism that the PDP will bounce back to reckoning by 2019, adding that the party still has the most penetrating structures in every part of the country today.

Speaking during the brief meeting with Jonathan, the leader of the PDP delegation  Professor Jerry Gana expressed worry over the conduct of elections under the present INEC, lamenting that the electoral umpire is losing the independence that it gained under the Jonathan-led PDP administration.

Gana took time to explain some details about the work done by his committee of Strategy Review and Inter party affairs. He told the former president that as part efforts to rebuild and refocus the party the committee has recommended amongst others the need to mobilize the youths and women folks through empowering the formation the of youth wing and women wing.

He also briefed the former president on the progress being made to align forces with other opposition parties which he said included SDP, AD, Accord Party and some groups in APGA and Labour Party.

Jonathan, who saw the intervention made by the national caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi to set up the committee as a welcomed one, also noted that the best way to check imposition of candidates on the party is to make sure that delegates are not controlled by few individuals.

“The best way to stop imposition is to make sure that people don’t control the delegates. If we go by delegate election, it would be easiest to manage. How to select delegates is that at least 70 per cent of the delegates should not be under the control of anybody.” he said.

He said that the direct primary option which the committee recommended is ultimately the best form of election but cautioned that that it is difficult to manage as compared to the indirect delegate method.

He said one of the greatest challenges facing the party is the issue of imposition of candidates and lack of internal democracy, hence the move to adopt direct primary.

He suggested that the party can come up with an initiative that will ensure that people that had held certain offices in the past are made statutory delegates.

According to Jonathan, this will reduce the level of manipulation because such statutory delegates who are prominent individuals will be difficult to manipulate or hijack.

Among those that accompanied Prof. Jerry Gana to the consultative visits, were two former governors, Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Achike Undenwa (Imo), Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Rufai Alkali, Chief Roymond Dokpesi, Hon. Shehu Garbam and Senator Stella Omu.

At Alhaji Bamaga Tukur’s residence in Abuja, Jerry Gana told him that the PDP delegation had come to intimate him about the report of the Strategy Review and Inter party committee.

He described Tukur as one of the key owners of the PDP, adding that he still remains a major stakeholder despite his retirement from politics.

He said some of the key recommendations of the committee, include the introduction of direct primaries,

He said apart from the interferences in the conduct of election by INEC, the present APC administration has been associated with oppressive tendencies which has led to political prisoners which never reared its ugly head during the entire 16 years of PDP administration.

Another port of call for the PDP delegation was the house of the former chairman of BoT, Chief Tony Anenih, who lamented that the party would have gone beyond the stage it is now but for selfishness of its leaders.

Anenih advised the party leaders to support Jonathan in the task of reorganising and strengthening the party.

He said he would show more than a passing interest in issues affecting the nation even though he had last year announced his withdrawal from active partisan politics.

He said the PDP and its leaders should not be embarrassed if they see him embark on visits to either President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in order to meet minds on issues of national interest.

The former BoT chairman restated his position, which he made last year at the public presentation of his book, that he would no longer be available for night political meetings but would not be hesitant to offer advice to the PDP if the party leaders decide to tap from his wealth of experience.

He, however, had harsh words for the party leaders whom he accused of promoting their selfish interests, saying: “PDP is where it is today because of selfishness on the part of its leaders, a vast majority of whom want to be either presidential candidate or national chairman of the party.”

Anenih also slammed those who benefited so much from the party and later defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that was not the best way to reward a party that offered them its platform to actualise their aspirations.

“I believe in consistency.  I joined party politics in 1978 and since then, I have never left any party that I joined for another. It is very shameful that people would do that, particularly those who had benefited so much from the PDP,” he said.

In her remarks, a member of the delegation, Senator Stella Omu, said the party had realised that for the party bounce back and to perform well in the 2019 election, peace and unity were very critical.

The committee comprises former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu; Senator Ibrahim Idah, Professor Rufai Alkali, Dr. Bawa Kasali, Senator Stella Omu, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, former Imo State Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa; Jide Adeniyi, Hon. Shehu Gabam, Hon Auwal Tukur and Hon. Margareth Itche

Jonathan Expresses Happiness That PDP Is Planning To Retake Presidency In 2019

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday described the loss of the 2015 general election as a temporary setback for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking when he hosted stakeholders of the party at his Abuja residence, Jonathan said he was happy with the plans of the party to regain the presidency.

He said the PDP remains the strongest political party in Nigeria, and that every other party knows that “PDP is leading”.

“Yes we lost the presidential election but that doesn’t diminish us. Every other party still knows that PDP is a leading party,” he said.

“Losing the presidency is something temporary. We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our acts together.

“I am happy that you people are working towards that.”

He said he had the strong belief that for a nation to grow, its institutions must be very strong.

Making reference to the court’s rejection of President Donald Trump’s executive order, Jonathan said such a measure is needed in Nigeria at the moment.

“There is no way a nation will grow with weak institutions, because everything about politics is about the people, not about the individuals,” he said.

“As long you are interested in the people, you are interested in the growth of the society and the development of the nation.

“The only thing that will make this possible is that the institutions must be strong.

“As powerful as America is, President Donald Trump took a decision and the court said `No you can’t do this’ and of course, they have to shut down the decision to move forward.

“That is the strength of an institution. That is the only way individuals could be regulated so that you can grow.”

The former president also said direct primary, especially under presidential system of government, was the ultimate and best way of selecting candidates for elections.

However, he said the greatest problem was how to manage the direct primaries.

Jonathan said for a party like PDP, with true membership across all polling units, it meant that voting would take place at wards or local government levels.

“The best way to stop imposition is to make sure that people don’t control the delegates,” he said.

“How to select delegate is that at least 70 percent of the delegates should not be under the control of anybody.”

Jonathan said if the party could not do direct primary, it should make sure that it increased the number of statutory delegates with people who had held elected or party offices at different levels.

He said the party could come up with criteria where its national chairman, state chairmen, senators and others in offices that controlled the government were made statutory delegates.

“All these group of people if they are still in the party should be automatic delegates,” he said.

“These are people that are known by everybody and nobody can go and manipulate them or their names.

“By the time we have a reasonable number of statutory delegates who are more than 75 per cent of total delegates that will vote, then, it will be difficult for somebody to go and manipulate the list.”

Jonathan commended the committee for the report as well as the caretaker committee under the leadership of Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor.

“This is the only way to strengthen political parties. It is a clear sign that PDP will win in 2019,” he said.

Presenting the report earlier, Jerry Ghana, chairman of the committee, said they had submitted the report to the party leadership on Tuesday and were directed to submit a copy to the former president.

Gana said the report contained thoughtful recommendations that would help PDP to be strong and win future elections.

Six Lagos Assembly PDP Members Set To Defect To APC

Six of the eight Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly are set to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Sources close to the lawmakers said the planned defection is a done deal, after months of horse trading and negotiations.

The members of the PDP in the Assembly include Minority Leader Hon. Akeem Bello (Amuwo Odofin y 2), Minority Whip Hon. Mosunmola Sangodara (Surulere 2), Hon. Dipo Olorunrinu (Amuwo Odofin 1) and Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo 1).

Others are Hon. Akeem Shokunle (Oshodi/Isolo 1), Hon. Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/Isolo 1), Hon. Dayo Famakinwa, (Ajeromi/ Ifelodun 2) and Hon. Oluwa Fatai (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1).

The lawmakers are also complaining about the crisis in the party at the state and federal levels.

“I can confirm to you that six of the PDP lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly will soon defect to the APC, but the status quo will remain as they would not want to stop holding their present positions in the House until further notice.

“What I know is that a lot of things are going on in the party and things would never remain the same,” the source said.

Hon. Jude Idimogu could not confirm the defection but said “it is not an impossibility.”

“We have not defected yet. We are all still in the PDP to the best of my knowledge. I know there is crisis in the party, but we are yet to move. We are all still here. If we want to move, it will be done on the floor of the House or through a news conference,” he said.

It will be recalled that there was no PDP lawmaker in the Seventh Assembly as all the 40 members were from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the parties which formed the w APC.

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