The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party took a new turn on Tuesday as one of its factions said it had scheduled a national convention for Abuja on May 21.
It is the same date that the party under the leadership of Ali Modu Sheriff has picked for its own national convention, which will hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The Abuja convention is being planned by a group known as The Concerned PDP Stakeholders.
The group is made up of 12 other groups within the party.
They are the PDP Former Governors’ Forum, the Northern Elders’ Forum, the Concerned PDP Elders, the PDP Think Tank, the PDP former Ministers’ Forum, the PDP Reform Group, the PDP Patriotic Movement, the South-West PDP SSGs Group, the PDP National Vanguard, the PDP Youth Democratic Movement and the PDP National Rebirth Group.
Members of this group met at DAAR Communications, Abuja on Tuesday where they strategised on the convention.
Those at the meeting include former ministers, former governors, former members of the National Assembly and former presidential aides.
A former presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe; a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman; a former President of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu; a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, and a former governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa attended the meeting.
Also sighted at the meeting were a former Minister of Police Affairs, Maina Waziri; a former Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Mrs. Esther Audu; a former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki (SAN), and Mrs. Adiukwu Bakare.
There are 12 former governors in the group.
The former governors, who formed the breakaway group, are Lucky Igbinedion(Edo), Bonnie Haruna (Adamawa), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Donald Duke(Cross River), Attahiru Bafarawa(Sokoto), Mahmood Shinkafi (Zamfara), Abdulkaldir Kure (Niger), Mohammed Makarfi(Kaduna), Achike Udenwa(Imo), Babangida Aliyu(Niger), Okwesilieze Nwodo(Anambra), and Gbenga Daniel (Ogun).
They have been joined by 14 former ministers who served under the PDP-led Federal Government when the party held power at the centre.
The former ministers are Prof. Tunde Adeniran (Education), Inna Ciroma (Women Affairs), Adamu Maina Waziri (Police Affairs), Jerry Gana (Information), Dr. Abubakar Suleiman(National Planning), Tanimu Turaki (Special Duties), Ishola Sarafa (Solid Minerals), Zainab Maina (Women Affairs), Joseph Anenin (Women Affairs), Ojo Maduekwe (Transportation), Prof. ABC Nwosu (Health), Dubem Onyia (Foreign Affairs), Bala Mohammed (FCT) and John Odey (Environment).
One of the attendees at the meeting said that Gana was appointed as the national coordinator for the convention.
It was also gathered that contact committees and state coordinators were also appointed.
The source, who was a former governor, said that the convention would be attended by delegates from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
The source said, “When I told you that we were planning our convention, some of you thought we were joking. We just appointed some coordinators now. Before the end of the week, I think by Thursday, we would address a press conference to announce all the state coordinators.
“Whatever Sheriif and his co-jesters are doing would soon become a nullity and I can tell you that illegality would soon jam illegality.”
At the National Executive Committee of the party under the leadership of Sheriff, the party decided to go ahead with the convention.
The meeting, which was slated for 11am, did not start until 4pm as its leaders were said to be having meetings with different interest groups over the crisis in the party.
The meeting, which lasted till 5.30pm, was poorly attended as only four governors and about five members of the Board of Trustees were in attendance.
Sheriff, who spoke with journalists after the NEC meeting, said that the NEC had agreed that the convention would pass a resolution that the presidential candidate of the party in 2019 would come from the North.
He said, “As a result of all the resolutions we have reached with the Board of Trustees, the NEC agreed on three major items. Our convention will take place in Port Harcourt as scheduled.
“…All the states where congresses had problems, which are seven states in all, will have their congresses revisited, except the leaders decide they are now satisfied with the congresses, otherwise those congresses will be repeated.”
He listed some of the states as Sokoto, Zamfara, Lagos, Yobe and Anambra.
“Everybody now are (sic) together and one and we are now going to have a wonderful convention,” Sheriff added.
Also, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that the national convention of the partywould hold on Saturday, May 21, 2016, as scheduled.
He argued that shifting the convention would be dangerous as there would be no national working committee after the fixed
The governor, who spoke during his appearance on a television programme, Sunrise Daily on Channels Television aired from Port Harcourt, pointed out that the right processes had been followed and congresses held at different levels, leading to the national convention.
Wike, who is the Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, disclosed that he had not been served any court order stopping the convention.
He added that the said suit was filed on the premise of impersonation, hence the national chairman had written to the court informing it of the fraud.
“There is no valid court order stopping the PDP National Convention. The suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos was filed by an impersonator. As a chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, I have not been served any court order.”