FORMER ministers, who served under the Peoples Democratic Party-controlled Federal Government, have convened an emergency meeting, where the plan by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to stay beyond May 21 will be discussed.
Also, elders of the party have called another meeting where they will also discuss the implication of Sheriff not honouring his words to leave office on the agreed date.
Investigation by our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday showed that the former ministers had initially agreed to meet on Thursday this week in Abuja, but shelved the meeting in order to allow the elders meet first.
Apart from this, it was gathered that the Chairman of the former Ministers’ Forum, who was also a Minister of Special Duties, Mallam Taminu Turaki (SAN), also asked that the meeting be shifted to give the members an opportunity to attend.
The meeting, it was gathered, would hold next week.
A member of the forum, who is a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, confirmed the former ministers’ meeting.
He said it was almost certain that Sheriff was hell bent on perpetuating himself in office, adding that the former governor of Borno State had tried in vain to infiltrate the forum.
Suleiman added, “We were to meet this Thursday, but the meeting was shifted due to logistic issues. We are now meeting next week Thursday.
“We will deliberate on the plan by the chairman of our party to hold on to power despite the assurances given to us by the (former) governors that he would hand over on May 21 during the national convention and other issues.
“He knows that the former ministers are men and women of integrity and that we are not shifting our opposition to his continued stay in office; that’s why he has tried to divide the forum, but he has failed because we are still one.”
It will be recalled that the former ministers had opposed the emergence of Sheriff as the national chairman of the party, claiming that he did not have the experience and ability to lead the party.
The zoning committee is expected to allocate national offices to all the six zones in the federation and later submit its recommendations to Sheriff, who, in turn, will submit it to NEC for approval.
When our correspondent asked the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, about the deadline for the zoning committee, he said the committee would submit its report in 10 days from Tuesday’s inauguration date.
“The zoning committee, because of the urgency of the job, will submit its report to the NWC in 10 days’ time,” Metuh said.
However, Sheriff later overruled him, saying the committee was free to submit its report anytime it wished.
Our correspondent gathered that the decision of the leaders to convene the emergency meeting was informed by Sheriff’s latest position.
Among those expected at the meeting are a former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; a former Minister of Transport, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bunu Sheriff, and Alhaji Adamu Ciroma.
One of the governors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least, “five of us are now regretting that we didn’t allow the BoT and the former ministers to have their way now.”
He added, “We won’t kept quiet, because this was how we kept mum when (former) President Goodluck Jonathan refused to abide by the one-term agreement he had with us. That action led to where we are today.
“If we need to be taken seriously in 2019, we need to have a credible party now and a credible presidential candidate that can match President Muhammadu Buhari in terms of integrity and so on. For now, we don’t seem to be serious.”
The governor said the antecedents of Sheriff did not portray him as someone who could be relied on.
He said, “When he was in the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party, he was working for former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Later, he also worked for President Jonathan in the same party. We can’t be sure that come 2019, he won’t be in PDP and be working for President Buhari.”
Sheriff’s Media Adviser, Mr. Inusa Bwala, said his boss had said he wouldn’t stay beyond the date permitted by the party’s constitution.
Meanwhile, leaders of the PDP from Kwara State have protested to the national leadership of the party over the non-inclusion of any party member in the state on the membership of the four committees set up by PDP recently.
The committees are those on zoning, finance, reconciliation and national convention.
It was gathered that no indigenes of the state was among the 250 members of the four committees.
Two members of the party from the state, Suleiman and a former Special Adviser to Jonathan on National Assembly, Sen. Suleiman Ajadi, faulted the omission.
Suleiman, who confirmed the protest, said, “Kwara PDP feels marginalised. We have protested to the office of the National Organising Secretary, who promised to make amends.”
When contacted, Metuh expressed surprise that the state was omitted on the list.
He said, “Are you sure that the state is not represented on the list? If that’s true, then it must be a mistake which we have to rectify. We will look into it.”