A former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu, has said that a group of founding fathers and elders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, decided to organise a parallel national convention of the party in order to restore the party to the path of integrity.
The faction organised the convention on Saturday, simultaneously as another convention, led by the party’s national chairman, Modu Sheriff, held in Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the opening of the factional convention which held in Abuja, Mr. Mantu said mindful of their roles as elders of the PDP, they reviewed recent events in the party and came to the “painful conclusion that the culture of impunity, disdain for democratic norms and utter disregard” for the constitution of the PDP” which he said led to the defeat of the party in 2015 are “rearing their ugly head again”.
Mr. Mantu, who co-chaired the convention alongside a former Minister of Education, Tunde Adeniran, said the group disagreed with the extension of the tenure of the current National Working Committee.
He said the extension by the National Executive Committee was “null and void” because the NEC cannot grant any such extension under the PDP constitution.
“Therefore, all actions of the Ali Modu Sheriff led executive including the purported congresses and convention in Port Harcourt are null and void and an exercise in illegality,” he said.
He also said the action of the NEC in selecting Mr. Sheriff as chairman of the party was in gross violation of the established procedure for the selection.
Mr. Mantu said the selection of the chairman for the unexpired term of the North East zone started with nomination from the states in the zone, adding that ” Senator Sheriff was not nominated by any state caucus and hence not qualified to be selected”.
The former deputy senator president said the decision by the PDP to go ahead with the Port Harcourt convention in disobedience of a valid court order stopping the convention “signals a worrisome trend that would further weaken the party to the delight of fifth columnists working hard to truncate the historic role of the PDP to provide a viable and constructive opposition to a rudderless government”.
A Court in Lagos had on Monday given an order of interlocutory injunction stopping the PDP convention until a suit instituted by some officials of the party is determined.
In line with that, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had told the PDP it would monitor the election at Port Harcourt convention, with the exception of the offices of Chairman, Secretary and Auditor due to the court order.
When it was time for the ” business of the day” at the Abuja convention, Mr. Mantu announced that the convention was non-elective in line with the order of the court.
Those who attended the Abuja convention included former acting governors of Adamawa and Taraba states, Umaru Fintiri and Garba Umar, as well as former Ministers, Tanimu Turaki, Bala Mohammed and John Odey.
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