Aggrieved former ministers, who served under the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government, have said that the forthcoming national convention of the party may turn out to be used as a burial day for the former ruling party.
They said that unless the National Chairman of the party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff retraced his steps from contesting at the convention, the coffin of the party would be nailed at the event.
The convention, which is slated for May 21 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is to be used to elect national officers of the party.
At the last meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee, the offices were shared among the six geo-political zones.
However, of all the offices, party members are miffed that the office of the national chairman was zoned to the North-East where Sheriff hails from.
Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, is the only formidable candidate for the position from the North-East.
Apart from the anger that the office was primarily zoned to Sheriff who is a new entrant to the party, majority of the members of the party are also complaining that the same North-East has produced the last two national chairmen of the party.
These former chairmen are Bamanga Tukur and a former Governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu.
The former ministers said that Sheriff must drop his ambition or he would be the last national chairman to lead a united PDP.
Spokesperson for the ex-ministers, who is also a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, said this while speaking with two journalists in Abuja on Saturday.
He argued that any attempt by Sheriff to consolidate his position at the convention would spell doom for the party, adding that most stakeholders would dump the PDP and “allow it to continue to swim in impunity.”
He said concerned PDP members and stakeholders would not keep quiet and allow Sheriff to hijack the party because of his ambition, adding that the right thing needed to be done for the party to regain power at the centre in 2019.
He said, “Ali Modu Sheriff is there to perform the final funeral rites of the PDP. The May 21 national convention will mark the lying in state of the PDP which will be forever. We will not stop talking until the right thing is done.
“With what he is doing now, I think he is on a mission. The national convention must not hold on May 21. If it must hold, it will be the day of celebration of funeral rites of the PDP.”
Sulaiman added that it was “the impunity” in the PDP that led to the party’s defeat at the 2015 general elections, and urged party members and leaders at all levels to end impunity and re-position the party for future victory.
He described as political fault, the zoning of both the chairmanship and 2019 presidential ticket of the party to the North, claiming that “it is the work of Ali Modu Sheriff and his cohorts.”
Meanwhile, the members of the Board of Trustees are meeting Abuja on Monday to deliberate on the crisis rocking the party.
Our correspondent gathered that the board would also review the plan by Sheriff to amend the party’s constitution and make it almost impossible for the BoT to meet without his approval.
The National Working Committee of the party led by Sheriff has inserted a clause under the yet-to-be approved amended constitution, that the chairman of the BoT must inform the national chairman of the PDP before calling for the board’s meeting.
The majority of the members of the board have decried this aspect among other ones, as undemocratic and an act aimed at reducing the powers and influence of the board.
Efforts made to get the reaction of the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, were not successful. Calls made to his mobile telephone indicated that it was switched off. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.