CHAIRMAN of the ratified 57-member steering committee of the Concerned Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Stakeholders and former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu has given hope of the re-unity of the two factions of the former ruling party.
Mantu left open the possibility of a reunion of the two factions when they were able to sort out their differences.
The former Deputy Senate President emerged as chairman of the ratified steering committee of the Concerned Peoples Democratic Party at the national convention organised by the faction of the party’s stakeholders in Abuja, on Saturday, to oversee the party’s affairs.
Mantu explained that rather than an elective convention, the stakeholders decided to make it a non-elective convention in deference to a court order stopping the national convention.
Mantu made it clear that the stakeholders had not left the PDP but keen to ensure that the right thing was done in the party.
He said: “Before I say anything, may I make this very important statement. Our brothers in Port Harcourt are still in PDP. We are also PDP.
“We only disagree on certain principles and I do hope that by the time we finish what we are doing, we met again to jaw jaw and perhaps by the grace of God reunite when they understand what we want them to under and we understand what they want us to understand.”
In his opening address to the delegates, Mantu observed that the former ruling party made mistakes in its 16 years in office culminating in its loss of power but the party elders were determined to correct that.
He gave reasons why the group had to embark on the course of action it had taken.
He said: “Mindful of our role as elders and conscience of our great party, we the elders in reviewing recent events have come to the painful conclusion that the culture of impunity, disdain for democratic norms and utter disregard of our party constitution, behaviours that brought us to the 2015 loss, are rearing its ugly head again.
“First, we view the purported extension of the tenure of the current National Working Committee of the Party as null and void as the National Executive Committee of our Party cannot grant any such extension under the Party Constitution.
“Therefore, all actions of the Ali Modu Sherriff led executive including the purported congresses and convention in Port Harcourt are null and void and an exercise in illegality.
“The action of the National Executive Committee of the party in selecting Sen. Ali Modu Sherriff as Chairman of the party was in gross violation of the established procedure for the selection.
“The selection of the Chairman for the unexpired term of the North East zone started with nominations from the States in the Zone. Senator Sheriff was not nominated by any state caucus and hence not qualified to be selected.
“The decision to go ahead with the illegal convention in Port Harcourt in disobedience of a valid court judgement stopping the convention signals a worrisome trend that would further weaken the party to the delight of the fifth columnists working hard to truncate the historic role of the PDP to provide viable and constructive opposition to a rudderless government.”
He said major stakeholders of the were united in the quest to renew the party and affirm its founding vision and ideals.
He added: “The ideals that made Nigerians in 1999 to break the yoke of ethnicity and divisive politics to unite under the PDP umbrella to elect the first Pan Nigerian President.
“As our country reel under a new regime of fear, division, disrespect for the rule of law and absence of economic direction, our teeming supporters are looking towards the party of inclusion, the party of economic opportunities, the party of freedom and the party of National Unity to rise from the ashes of defeat to the mountain of hope.
“Our people are looking with nostalgia to the freedom of speech, the respect for our courts and the sense of belonging that pervaded our country under the PDP.
“We the stakeholders of the PDP are resolved to rebuild, renew and rebrand our great Party to anchor the dreams of our founding fathers and give wings to the hopes of our citizens who live in uncertainty and surrounded by a growing culture of fear.
“We are gathered today to demonstrate our abiding faith in the ideals of our Party and to begin the process of charting a new course that will redefine our historic mission and restore the moral centre of the party that built the infrastructure for anti-corruption.”
Mantu called on those who persisted in flouting court orders and returning to the culture of impunity to have a rethink and return to the original vision of the PDP.
In her goodwill message at the convention, former National Woman Leader of the party, Inna Ciroma, said Borno state PDP suffered under Sheriff for 16 years and they were therefore not prepared to accept him as national chairman.
“We won elections and he scuttled it. Is PDP going to repay our suffering by imposting him on us? We will not accept it,” she declared.
Hajiya Mairo Habib from Kaduna state frowned at the labeling of PDP politicians as corrupt, noting that corrupt people existed in every group and therefore, PDP should not be singled out for condemnation.
“We are not looters in PDP. In every association there are corrupt people. Not just PDP,” she said.
In her message, Mrs. Remi Adiukwu pointed out that since inception of the party, the south west had not produced its national chairman and therefore demanded that the next party boss must emerge from the zone.
“South west has never been chairman of this party. We deserve it. We say give it to us,” she added.