As the leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, assumes a conflicting turn, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party has said it will take over the national leadership of the party.
The BoT said it will swiftly roll out policies and programmes aimed at electing credible officers to reposition the party, which has experienced one form of internal wrangling or the other since finding itself in the opposition for the first time in 16 years.
Notable among the crises currently bedeviling the former ruling party is the status of its leadership as there are two conflicting court judgments as to who between Senators Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi, should pilot the affairs of PDP.
While a federal high court sitting in Lagos recognized Sheriff as the PDP national chairman on Tuesday, another federal court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State same day, upheld the dissolution of the Sheriff-led National Working Committee, recognizing the Makarfi-led caretaker committee instead.
Wading into the crises that is threatening the existence of the party, the BoT Secretary, Ojo Maduekwe, at a press conference last night in Abuja, said the board could not sit back and watch the PDP go into oblivion as a result of internal wrangling.
He said that the BoT, also known as the “conscience of the party”, was consulting with the PDP governors and the Makarfi-led caretaker committee to save the party from “imminent collapse”.
Maduekwe, who was Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Canada and a former national secretary of the party, also said “the current crisis is too useful to be wasted”, adding that the party elders have decided not to allow the embattled Sheriff to “burry the party”.
The BoT scribe said the party lost valuable time since its defeat at the 2015 general elections because of “impunity” pointing out that the party needed to learn from its past mistakes in order for it to regain power at the centre in 2019.
Mr. Maduekwe further said the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, was in need of a very strong opposition that would keep it in check, adding that if there are two conflicting judgments, the BoT must wade in.
“We wish to appeal to our members who as a matter of ensuring their morale and political health of the party will be in receipt of announcements by the BoT of programmes and policies that will see to the election of credible officers and reposition the party to meet the yearnings of millions of Nigerians”, he said.
The BoT’s position tallies with that canvassed by the Prof. Jerry Gana-led Concerned Stakeholders, which rejected both the Sheriff-led NWC and Makarfi caretaker committee.
The Concerned Stakeholders had after their parallel convention in Abuja last Saturday, held that in the event of crisis, the legal thing to do was for the party’s BoT to take over the affairs of the party.
Co-chairman of the Concerned Stakeholders and former Deputy President of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu, who addressed journalists after the parallel convention in Abuja, said “There is a body that is constitutionally mandated to take over the affairs of the party. And that body is the conscience of the party called BoT. It is the only legal organ that is constitutionally empowered to actually takeover the affairs of the party”.
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