After four hours of intense deliberation over the leadership tussle within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it’s Board of Trustees (BoT) yesterday resolved to setup a peace panel to address the grievances.
The committee which is to comprise of governors, members of the BoT, members of the National Assembly, all the members of the National Working Committee, former governors, former ministers, is mandated to meet within 72 hours and give a direction for the party.
The BoT had summoned the emergency meeting as part of measures to intervene in the battle between the PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and his erstwhile ally and governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
Although Secondus is a known member of the BoT, Wike emergence at the meeting sparked surprise even though it was later gathered that he is a member of the party’s advisory body.
Wike is said to be spearheading Secondus’ sack accusing him of mismanaging the fortunes of the party. Secondus on the other hand has alleged plots to hijack the party through the use of caretaker committee.
It was however gathered that the move against Secondus is also aimed at stopping him from constituting the national convention committee which is billed for December this year.
However at yesterday’s meeting, LEADERSHIP learnt that BoT resorted to setting up of a peace panel as part of measures to broaden the reconciliation process.
A source at the meeting told LEADERSHIP that the governor complained about the reference made to him by the national chairman’s aide as a father Christmas bent on hijacking the party through a caretaker committee arrangement.
The source also added that BoT members cautioned against the use of unsavory expressions by the two party leaders.
The meeting which held at the national secretary of the party, started at 11.30am and ended at 3:30pm.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, said, “We resolved at the meeting to set up a committee that will look at the situation. The committee is made up of the governors, members of the BoT, members of the National Assembly, all the members of the National Working Committee, former governors, former ministers, so that they can wholistically resolve the problems.”
On whether it will stop the constant defection and resignation of members, Mark said, the panel will not only stop the current crises adding “it will lead into providing a better environment to make us far more United and make us stronger as a party.”
He denied claims that Wike was summoned to the meeting noting that he is a member of BoT “and he came as a member of BoT.”
Speaking also, former Senate President Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said “We all came together to addresses some issues and because of the urgency of the matter, we agreed to set up this committee urgently and within the next 48 to 72 hours, they will meet and at the end of that meeting, the country will see where the direction the party is going. The commitment of everybody to attend that meeting and subject themselves to the decision of that meeting shows the interest of everybody.
“The presence of all of us here is because this meeting of today was important in addressing some of those issues.
“My own message to Nigerians is that we know the importance of this party to this nation in addressing the challenges ahead of us. So let us come together as a party and salvage this country.”
Addressing chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, described the meeting as coming at a crucial time because of the numerous problems in the party.
He however said the time is the right time for the party to set its house in order to prepare for the next coming Elective Convention to elect our National Party Leaders, and preparations for the coming 2023 General Elections.
He decried the history of the party not allowing it’s national chairmen finish their tenures in office.
“Please let us examine why many past National Chairmen did not complete their tenure successfully for example: Chief Audu Ogbeh, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Alh. Bamanga Tukur, Alh. Ahmed Mua’zu. Alh. Sheriff and now the Deputy National Chairmen resignation with a threat of dissolving the National Working Committee and dismissal of the National Chairman with strong expectation of the NWC members tendering their resignation.
On his part, Secondus who also described the meeting as critical to the entire party, said the issues must be table, discuss and come out with solutions.
“This is the first time in the history of our party, regardless of divergence opinion that this current NWC have been in office and nearly 3 months to the convention that we will be ending this regime in a smooth transition that will be taking place without rancour or problem.”
Also, former deputy governor of Sokoto State, Murtakr Shagari has called for calm. He said “It is imperative that we put the interest of the party, our teaming supporters and that of the nation over and above personal interest.
“At this critical moment of national pain, horror of insecurity and economic crisis, Nigerians are looking up to PDP for rescue.
“Let us unite and and take over power in 2023 for without power in our hands we cannot do much for the nation. Please put the nation and the people first,” he said.
Present at meeting of the party are BoT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki, ex- Osun state governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, amongst others.