Tukur inaugurates National Convention Committee, retains.
In what appears a further confirmation of the concerns raised by Nigerians about the neutrality of the Nigerian Police Force in political matters, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday announced Mike Okiro, the chairman of the Police Service Commission, as chairman of a sub-committee of the party.
Mr. Okiro, a member of the PDP and former senatorial aspirant, was controversially chosen as the Commission, PSC, boss by President Goodluck Jonathan despite opposition and apparent constitutional violation of the action.
Several Nigerians including Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, had raised concerns when Mr. Okiro was nominated for the PSC position. The PSC is the agency that regulates the Nigerian police including promotion and discipline of officers.
“While the former Inspector-General of Police might have been qualified for the post on account of his experience in the Nigeria Police Force he is disqualified by virtue of his membership of the ruling party,” Mr. Falana had said.
Section 156 of the Nigerian Constitution requires that a member of bodies like the police commission “shall not be required to belong to a political party,” and Mr. Falana argued that President Jonathan, by appointing Mr. Okiro, flouted section 42 of the Constitution that provides that “no citizen of Nigeria shall be conferred with any advantage or privilege that is not accorded to citizens of other political opinions.”
The presidency and the Nigerian Senate ignored the concerns and the constitutional violations to confirm Mr. Okiro’s appointment in May.
On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Special National Convention Committee of the PDP named Mr. Okiro the chairman of its Security sub-committee for the planned mini-convention.
Apart from Mr. Okiro’s sub-committee, the Special National Convention Committee also announced the composition of 14 other sub-committees with the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP producing the chairmanship of two of them.
The convention committee chairman, Jerry Gana, announced the names of the chairmen of the sub-committees after the former was inaugurated by the National Chairman of PDP, Bamanga Tukur, at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
The subcommittees and their chairmen include Mr. Okiro for Security subcommittee; Contact and Mobilization, Haliru Mohammed, former acting National Chairman of PDP; Finance, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State; Venue, Bala Mohammed, FCT Minister; Accreditation, Walid Jubrin, Secretary PDP BoT; Screening, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Senate Leader; and Electoral subcommittee, Ken Nnamani, former Senate President.
Others are Election Materials, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State; Protocol, Mr. Beji, an NWC member; Publicity, Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives; Welfare, Florence ita-Giwa; Accommodation/Entertainment, Governor Ibrahim Shema of
Katsina State; Secretariat, Musa Babayo, a former acting National Secretary of PDP; and Medical subcommittee, Doyin Okupe, a medical doctor and Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs.
Mr. Okupe, according to Mr. Gana, was appointed in acting capacity as the Convention Committee was still waiting for the NWC to nominate the subcommittee’s head.
“We hope that the NWC will be able to give us somebody,” Mr. Gana said.
While inaugurating the committee earlier, Mr. Tukur canvassed free and fair national convention and congresses.
He said the national convention would hold on August 31 in Abuja while the South West congress comes up on August 24 as earlier fixed by the Gana Committee.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Gana, who lauded the leadership of PDP for giving them the opportunity to serve, assured that the committee would ensure a transparent process.