Some governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have reiterated their insistence that party leaders must convene the meeting of the National Executive Committee without further delay.
The call for prompt convening of NEC, The PUNCH learnt, is to signal the governors’ resolve to battle with the party leaders over the suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Amaechi, who apparently defied the PDP handlers’ order not to contest re-election as chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, was on Monday suspended from the party by the National Working Committee.
The outcome of the election has been mired in controversy with both Amaechi and Governor of Plateau State Jonah Jang, claiming victory.
Already, one of the governors from the northern part of the country, who spoke in confidence to some journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, said he and his colleagues were not moved with threats to either suspend or expel them from the party.
He said it would be wrong for the leadership of the party to claim ignorance of the law as stipulated in the PDP constitution concerning the party’s NEC.
The governor said he and his colleagues knew that one of the problems Amaechi had with the party was his presiding over PDP governors’ meetings, where the state chief executives demanded the convening of the NEC meeting.
The governor said, “You know that at our meeting of Wednesday, January 9, we demanded the holding of NEC meeting of our party and that the meeting must be held as stipulated in the constitution.
“Twenty-one of us (governors) including those mobilising against Amaechi now, were at that meeting, which was held at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge at Asokoro, Abuja.
“What does the constitution of the party say concerning holding of NEC meeting? It says NEC meeting must be held at least every quarter.
“We held the meeting last when? More than 10 months ago and someone is there talking about someone breaching the party’s constitution.
“Tell me, those who have refused to call for NEC meeting or those who are subverting the provision of the party’s constitution, who will query them?”
The party’s last NEC meeting was held in July 2012.
Apart from the suspension of Amaechi, another issue the governors are insisting on is deliberation on the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission on the party’s national convention.
INEC, had in a letter to the PDP in March, declared that the election of 12 party officials at its 2012 National Convention was flawed because it did not follow due process.
INEC, therefore, voided the election of the affected 12 party officials.
Those whose elections were cancelled included the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Sam Sam Jaja; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; and Deputy National Organising Secretary, Okechukwu Nnadozie.
Others are the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh; Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Binta Goje; National Youth Leader, Garba Chiza; his deputy, Dennis Alonge; Deputy National Auditor, Umar Ibrahim; National Woman Leader, Kema Chikwe; her deputy, Hannatu Ulam; Deputy National Treasurer, Claudus Inengas; and National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon.
The four national officers whose election were considered to have met democratic standards are the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; former National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former National Auditor, Bode Mustapha; and the party’s Financial Secretary, Bolaji Anani. Curiously, Oyinlola and Mustapha have been pushed out of office by court judgments.
In March, Metuh had issued a statement, saying that the NWC was ready for the much-talked about NEC meeting.
Metuh had, in the statement which was silent on the expected date of the meeting, said the party’s leadership would present clean copies of the PDP amended constitution to NEC.
The constitution was amended at the party’s national convention, which held in Abuja in March 2012.
The inability of the leadership of the party to hold its NEC meeting since July 2012 due to its internal crisis has prevented the constitution from being fully accepted and circulated.
The few copies presented to NEC at its last meeting, was said to be full of errors, which necessitated its return to NWC for correction.
This, notwithstanding, the NWC had started implementing the constitution, a move the governors had complained about.
Amaechi also told an inter-party summit in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that only the PDP could suspend a governor without reason.
He said, “Any government formed without the people’s votes cannot be responsible to the people. The only way government or governors or presidents or whoever can stop corruption, can stop maladministration is when that government is put in place by you (the people).
“They know that if they don’t govern well, you (the people) will vote them out. So your first demand should be that all governments must be responsible enough to allow for a free and fair election.
“Indeed, it is only the PDP that has the guts to suspend a governor without a reason. I leave them to God and to you. We must come together to defend Rivers State. It’s not about me; I have served eight years as Speaker, nearly six years as governor.
“Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognise and remember me. If there is no history that I have made, the one God has helped me to make is the one that I stood out and fought for my right and became a governor.”
Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu, meanwhile, has said that he would not leave the PDP. Aliyu is the Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and major backer of Amaechi in the NGF.
Aliyu denied being a part of a splinter group ready to dump the PDP.
The governor said this in Minna, on Tuesday, while reacting to reports that he and some others were planning to dump the ruling party to protest the outcome of the NGF election.
Aliyu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, said, “The story of planned defection is a figment of imagination of persons who are either threatened by the successes the party has made in the last 14 years or are afraid of squaring up with the party in 2015 general elections.”
He noted that he remained “a committed democrat, principled politician and loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party.”
Meanwhile, the northern socio-political group, the Arewa Consultative Forum, has raised the alarm about the desperation of politicians ahead of the 2015 elections.
The ACF, which stated this in a communiqué at the end of its meeting in Kaduna on Tuesday, said that the undemocratic measures were contrary to the peace and unity of the country.
“Some politicians are already resorting to measures that are undemocratic and may run counter to the peace and unity of the country,” the forum noted in a communiqué signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Fati Ibrahim.