By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may take a decision on the granting of waiver for returnees to the party at its meeting billed for Thursday.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the party is in the process of amending the constitution to reduce the waiver from two years to six months.
The move, it was learnt, is to pave way former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who left the All Progressives Congress (APC) and is poised to join the PDP soon to contest the presidency under the party platform.
But a chieftain of the PDP and Atiku’s former aide, Dr Umar Ardo, has objected to this, saying the former VP has no legal right to attend the December 9 national convention of the PDP in his capacity as former vice president.
He called on the party to maintain the current waiver period against returnees, even as he vowed to vote against altering the time frame of waiver.
Ardo, who served as senior special assistant to Atiku on research and strategy when he was vice president told LEADERSHIP yesterday that by virtue of his defection from the PDP, Atiku has lost the seniority and privileges conferred on him by his previous status in line with section 8 (18) of the PDP constitution.
The said section of the party’s constitution stipulates that a person who had earlier decamped from the party, but later decides to return to the party shall lose the seniority and privileges conferred on him by his previous status.
Ardo noted that said by this provision, Atiku cannot attend the December 9, convention as former Vice President if he ever returns to PDP before the convention.
Reacting to Atiku’s intended return to PDP, Ardo said, “It portends conflict and crises, because Atiku is not coming in to build the party; he is coming to further his own ambition, and that will be the source of the conflict. Already, the conflict has been sown in Adamawa State because we won’t accept the illegality he just created in the state, and it will blossom to the national level.
“In order to achieve his avid ambition he will still create more illegalities at the national level. For example, he will insist on attending the December 9 National Convention as a former Vice President.
“But he is ineligible because by virtue of section 8 (18) of the PDP constitution, any person who earlier left the party and later returns shall lose the seniority and privileges conferred on him by his previous status. That means he has simply lost the seniority and privileges conferred on him as former vice president.
“But knowing Atiku’s political psychology, he won’t take that and if the Makarfi-led CTC bulges to his pressure and allow him attend the convention as a former vice president in the guise of waiver, which there’s no National Working Committee to give, then that would set in another era of impunity that would ultimately lead to the final destruction of the party.
The PDP chieftain continued: “Besides, there are other members who have been faithful and loyal to the party and also have presidential ambition but bore with equanimity all the shortcomings of the party and refused to decamp.
“Will it be fair to such party members to be displaced by one who had not been loyal to the party and who the party gave everything? Wouldn’t that also be an act of injustice and thus create another basis for conflict?
“While we want everybody in the party, I however believe the party will be better off with few faithful and committed members than having a large conglomeration of all sorts of characters. We must learn to reward faithful and committed members.
“To this end, I call on the party to maintain the current waiver period against returnees. As a National Delegate, I will vote ‘nay’ against the waiver amendment at the convention.”
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