Friday, June 28, 2013

Northern govs protest forces PDP to postpone convention


Protest  by governors  of  the northern  states  may have forced the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to  postpone its special national convention  from July 20 to August 20.
This  protest, which is hinged on the fact that July 2o falls  within   the Ramadan period, has also affected the South-West congress of the party initially slated for July 11. It may now hold  between August 13 and 17.
Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, showed that thegovernors were not happy with the decision to hold the congress and the convention when the majority of the delegates  might be fasting during the period.
Apart from this, the governors were also said to have protested thecomposition of the leadership of the convention committee, which is made up of mostly  Christians.
For example, the chairman of the committee, Prof. Jerry Gana;   his deputy, Governor Godswill Akpabio and the Secretary, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, are all Christians.
“You can see the insensitivity of those who put the committee together and that is why we are having this type  of embarrassment and uncaring attitude on the part of the committee,” one of the Northern governors told our correspondent in  confidence in Abuja  on Thursday.
The protest by the governors was  said to have been communicated to the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, who called an emergency meeting of the National Working Committee of the party onWednesday.
Investigations showed that the NWC agreed to shift the convention, but nodate had been picked.
Before the decision to shift the two events were reached, Tukur was said to have rushed to the Presidential Villa, where he briefed President Goodluck Jonathan on the governors’ observation.
A member of the NWC, who spoke with journalists on condition of anonymity,  said, “The NWC at its meeting is proposing August 20. This is on the understanding that the Muslim fasting will end between August 8 and 9 and therefore, the South -West  zonal congresses will take place between August 13 and 17, while the special   convention will take place on Tuesday, August 20,  2013”.
Meanwhile, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Tony Okeke, has confirmed the cancellation of the two events.
He said, “The NWC   wishes to announce that the South-West Zonal Congresses and the Special National Convention of the party have been rescheduled in view of the Muslim Ramadan fasting.
“New dates for the South West Zonal Congresses and the Special National Convention of the party will be announced.”
At least, 20  members of the  party’s NWC had last week resigned because of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s report, which voided their elections.
A former National Secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who was sacked a few months ago, had written the  party, saying his position was not vacant.
Oyinlola was not among the NWC members, whose elections were voided by INEC.
In spite of the former governor’s letter, the party, on Tuesday, in an advertorial announced the South-West congresses and the  special convention.

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