The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling Peoples Demo-cratic Party (PDP) yesterday met and resolved to indefinitely postpone its proposed December national convention and congresses which would have produced new national executives for the party.
The tenure of National Working Committee (NWC) led by Dr. Ahmadu Ali, billed to have expired by December 8 2007 was also extended indefinitely. Ali had been shortlisted and his name sent by President Umaru Yar’Adua to the Senate for an ambassadorial posting last month. But by extending Ali’s tenure as the national chairman of the party, his ambassadorial posting will have to be shelved
Addressing newsmen at the end of the 42nd NEC meeting in Abuja, the party’s National Secretary, Chief Bernard Eze said the executive committee of the party would meet again on January 31 2008 to fix the new dates for the national convention and congresses.
On the tenure of the Ahmadu Ali-led NWC, the National Secretary said, “the effective resignation date of the national chairman and members of the NWC was and is predicated on the date of the national convention.
Members of the NWC would have resigned by December 8 2007, if the convention were to have taken place. But now the resignation date would be based on the new date of the national convention, which will be determined after the NEC meeting on January 31, 2008.
“Members of the NWC including the national chairman were elected for four years. But for the zoning system, their terms of office would have been for four years. It was cut short to ensure a smooth zoning process in the party. The national chairman and the president of the country cannot come from the same geo-political zone.
The NEC meeting, he said also approved the re-admission of the governor of Rivers State, Chief Chibuike Amaechi, passed a vote of confidence on the Ahmadu Ali-led NWC and congratulated the new Speaker of the House of Representatives., Hon. Dimeji Bankole on his election.
Yar’Adua and Vice President Jonathan Goodluck were absent at yesterday’s NEC meeting. Only the governors of Niger, Kogi, Enugu, Oyo and Ebonyi were in attendance. Other governors and prominent members of the party stayed away.
No reasons were given for their absence, except for the president, who is away in Uganda for the Commonwealth heads of states meeting.
The national convention and congresses had earlier been terminated abruptly by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) because PDP did not give it the mandatory 21 days notice.
The PDP leadership subsequently hurriedly met and announced new dates of December 4 for ward congresses; December 8 for local government congresses; December 16 for state congresses; December 19 zonal congresses; and January 5, 2008 for the national convention. The latter dates were later said to have coincided with the dates for the Eidel Kabir and Christmas celebrations.
THISDAY had on Friday exclusively reported the plot to further postpone the convention and congresses in order to pave the way for Ali stay in office till 2009 under the guise that he was elected for four years in 2005.
It was gathered that the plot is two fold. The first aims to halt the special national convention using religious considerations as an excuse. The second method entails securing a court injunction as a ploy to get members of the NWC that were elected in December 2005 to complete their four years terms of office.
“What is on ground and would be presented to the NEC of the party today is the need to extend the date of the special convention till March or April 2008.
“This is aimed at taking care of the religious festivals, especially for Moslems who will be proceeding on Hajj and as well as Christians who will be preparing for the yuletide celebrations,” a PDP source said yesterday night.
It was gathered that plans are being perfected to ensure that there is a unity of thoughts and agreement on these measures.
Some of the documents circulated to newsmen by aides of some members of the NWC before yesterday’s decision read: “Airlift of Hajj has since commenced and majority of members of the party in the northern states are Muslims. The hajj is a religious obligation of all true believers. The Hajj cannot be stopped because it is a religious injunction and its timing is universal, but the timing of the convention could be stopped to accommodate the interest of both Christians and Muslims.”