In what signals its direction in a post-Iyorchia Ayu dispensation, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has reversed the referral of Benue State Governor, Sam Ortom, to its disciplinary committee.
Similarly, it has quashed the suspension of former governors Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) and Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) as well as that of former Senate President, Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State), Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State) and Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).
The decision was announced in a statement issued on Thursday by Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary of the party.
It said it was the outcome of the committee’s meeting Thursday, where it “extensively discussed recent developments in the party.”
The statement affirmed: “The NWC recognized the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among Party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.
“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.”
According to the statement, “This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the Party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our Party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity and harmony in our Party at this critical time.
“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our Party and Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.”
The decision came two days after the embattled party boss was forced to step aside after being suspended by his Igyorov Ward of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State and restrained by court from parading himself of the National Chairman of the party.
Recall that the NWC under Ayu-led NWC had announced the referral of Governor Ortom to the disciplinary committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities and also suspended the affected party stakeholders.
Apart from being the chairman of the G5 Governors of the PDP, Governor Ortom,
fell out with the party’s national leadership for openly supporting the Labor Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in the just concluded election.
In Katsina, Shema was said to have worked against the governorship of the main opposition party, Senator Lado Damarke, who lost to his APC counterpart, Dikko Radda, in the state election.
Fayose also pitched his tent with the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and now President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Ayim supported the APC governorship candidate in his state, Ebonyi, Francis Nwifuru, against the PDP candidate, claiming the need for equity.
“I believe in the rotation of the gubernatorial seat to the three districts for equity and justice. I have long believed in this principle and cannot back down on it. I fought for it at the national level in the PDP and have to do so in my state,’’ he had rationalized his position.
A statement issued on Thursday by Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary of the party, said the decision to take action against the party leaders was reached “after very extensive review of the affairs of our Party in the country and pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).”
The PDP had urged all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of across the country to remain united and focused “at this critical time.”
But in a prompt response, Governor Ortom had accused the PDP of acting in contempt of a subsisting Court Order by referring him to the disciplinary commitee of the party for alleged anti party activities.
A statement issued by Nathaniel Ikyur,
Chief Press Secretary to the governor said it is contemptuous of the leadership of the PDP to disregard the Court Order which, it said, barred the party or any organ of the party from issuing any disciplinary measure against him.
The statement quoted the Governor as saying: “The case is pending in court and there is an order of injunction restraining any organ of the party from carrying out any disciplinary action against the governor. This Case is adjourned to 18th April 2023, so it is baffling to see such a statement coming from the party’s national leadership.
“I think the national leadership of our great party is losing its sense of direction. Instead of the leadership to sit back and think of ways on how to rebuild the party from the ruins of the defeat from the just concluded elections, they are going about chasing imaginary shadows.
“In any case, the first person the party should refer to the disciplinary committee should be the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. The national chairman lost his polling unit, lost his ward, local government, and even the state.
“As if that is not enough, there are strong indications that the national chairman was involved in anti-party activities in Benue State by working for the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, just to get at me because of my principled stand against certain aspects of the decisions of the national leadership of the party.”
The Governor advised that the party should not be allowed to be ridiculed by “some individuals who are bent on destroying the party for their selfish gains.”
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP on Thursday announced the setting up the Katsina State Caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the Katsina State chapter for a period not exceeding 90 days.
Ologunagba said in a separate statement that the NWC approved the committee on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC), pursuant to Sections 29(2)(b) and 31(2)(e) of our the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017),
Headed by Dr. Abdulrahman Usman as Chairman, members include Hon. Nura Shehu Giwa, Hon. Haruna Jami, Lawal I Safana, Sanusi Audu Fari, Nura Ahmadu Kurfi, Sani Abdullahi Daba, Magajiya Lawal Matazu, Ado Dan Turai, Hon. Hamza, Yunusa Jibia, Abdulhamid Danbatta, Aisha Medinat Ibrahim, and Halima Zubairu Abdulhamid who is Secretary of the committee.
The NWC had urged all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of the party in the state to remain united and continue to work together for the task ahead.
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