Apparently to end the perennial leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, the opposition party on Thursday zoned its national chairmanship position to the South.
The party, however, said its 2019 presidential ticket would remain reserved for the North in line with the Senator Ike Ekweremadu report which was adopted by the National Working Committee (NWC) and ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
It also fixed its national convention for August 17 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State
The PDP has been embroiled in leadership crisis since the exit of former national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu in May, 2015.
Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff who succeeded Muazu has also been locked in a battle that has pitched him against the other chieftains of the party.
No fewer than seven governors of PDP-controlled states failed to attend the party’s stakeholders meeting convened to review the situation in the party.
But the Chairman of the PDP Governors’’ Forum, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; the governors of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose; Rivers, Nyesome Wike; Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo and; Taraba, Darius Ishiaku were in attendance.
A known ally of embattled Sheriff and the Senator representing Ogun East, Prince Buruji Kashamu made a surprise appearance at party’s meeting.
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had, on Monday last week, upheld the removal of Modu-Sheriff and the dissolution of the National Working Committee by the Port Harcourt convention.
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday accepted the nomination of the candidate of the Makarfi-led PDP for the September 10 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
But the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, who spoke at the end of an Expanded Caucus meeting of the party yesterday in Abuja, said, “We discussed some programmes leading to the convention, meaning that the National Convention will hold on August 17 where we will elect new national executive officers of the party”.
Makarfi added that the party caucus also discussed and agreed on a new amendment to the party’s constitution in view of recent court judgments and in order to align the constitution with the judgments that had been delivered by courts of competent jurisdiction.
According to him, “We received reports of reconciliation. You can see by yourself, our brothers, friends and associates, Senator Buruji Kashamu. That is evidence the reconciliation is making progress and I can assure you that we will never foreclose full reconciliation with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and any other person that may still be associated with him.
“What we want is an all-inclusive PDP. An equitable, fair and just system in the PDP where the right of everyone is commensurate and their own level is protected and preserved”.
The former governor of Kaduna State further explained that the party had set up a special committee led by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to further cement the reconciliation within the South West and ensure that all issues that must have led to the division in the south west would be resolved accordingly.
Commenting on the zoning arrangement, Makarfi stated that within the next few days a committee would be set up on zoning.
“The convention set aside the previous zoning arrangement. So, a new zoning arrangement have to be made we have agreed that within the next 48 hours this committee should be put in place and given a week to come out with a new zoning arrangement.
He emphasised “But of course taking a cue from the decision taken at the PortHarcourt convention that the President will come from the north, of course, it is incontrovertible that the chairman of the party will come from the South and it will be open to all and not consigned to any geopolitical zone or state in the South”.
Other party chieftains at the meeting were Chairman of PDP Board of Trustee (BoT), Senate Jubrin Walid; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; former deputy national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; Senator Buruji Kashamu; former Senate President, Aldolphus Wabara; former deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu; former PDP national chairman, Ahmadu Ali; former deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; former governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswam and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
Also in attendance were Professor ABC Nwosu, Chief Bode George, former governor Jonah Jang; former minister of information, Professor Jerry Gana and former Senate Majority leader, Senator Abdul Ningi; Dan Suleiman; former Political Adviser to former president Goodluck Jonathan, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali; Chief Tom Ikimi, Senator Andy Uba, Jimi Agbaje, Remi Adikwu, Bola Shagaya, Ambassador Aminu Wali and Professor Tunde Adeniran, among others.