Wike triumphs, as PDP NEC endorses Damagum-led NWC

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
Nyesom Wike

The camp of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was in a joyous mood Thursday following the endorsement of the Amb. Umar Damagum-led National Working Committee (NWC), by the party’s second highest decision making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), at its 98th meeting in Abuja.

The camp of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, had moved to have Damagum return to his position as Deputy National Chairman (North) to let the North Central produce a substantive National Chairman to complete the truncated tenure of former Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.

It was gathered that the Atiku camp have returned to the drawing board to restrategize.

Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, while fielding questions from newsmen after the NEC meeting, expressed delight that, contrary to expectations of the party’s enemies, the meeting was held in s peaceful atmosphere.

He said, “ You can see there was no dissension or rancour. It was planned that the party will have an implosion. PDP is more than that, we have gone beyond all of these.

“This party is a united party that is guided by experience and constitutionality. There were a lot of permutations and mischievous thinking outside there. But we looked at all the issues, and we worked according to our guidelines and constitution. There is no problem, dissension, or problem among members.

“On the issue of a new chairman from North Central, the PDPGF Chairman said, “In the next two months we will see a lot of activities.

“Leadership is a responsibility. We said in September we would have come out from our congresses. We will look at the issue of leadership and the issue of our constitution, where it will be. And we will do it with no rancour.”

Also speaking shortly after the NEC meeting, Damagum told reporters that the position he occupies is not a matter of life and death for him.

He said, “This is not a matter of life and death. I am still an elected member of this NEC. Even If I revert to deputy national chairman, I’m still a member of NWC. The issue of surviving or not does not emerge.”

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, who read the communiqué after the NEC meeting, said, “

The NEC of our great Party, at its 98th meeting today, Thursday, April 18, 2024, thoroughly assessed the State of affairs of the Nation and the Party and resolved as follows:

“NEC commends all the organs of the party for their collective resilience, steadfastness, and commitment towards the unity, stability, and sustenance of our great party despite daunting challenges.

“NEC also commends members of the PDP, with particular reference to the youths and women for their courage in resisting the antics of the divisive and anti-people All Progressives Congress (APC), especially, its desperation to emasculate the opposition and foist a one-Party State on our nation.

“NEC expresses concern over the ill-implemented policies of the insensitive APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life, and pervasive misery and despondency across the country.

“NEC expresses serious apprehensions over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence, including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.

“NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration, which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.

“NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a One-Party state, which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation, as well as the development of Democracy and good governance in the country.

“NEC, after due consideration, demands that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on our national life.

“NEC also demands that President Tinubu immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias or vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.

“NEC further demands that the Federal Government review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies. “

According to him, it was also agreed at the meeting that all Organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and indeed all members of the PDP should close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the center in the interest of the Nigerian people.

Other key decisions taken include the consideration and approval of the Timetable for Party Congresses across the country.

It  also  approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the Party.

The body also approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by the NEC.

Ologunagba equally announced that “NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the party, including the new look of the PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.”

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the BoT Chairman, Sen. Adolphus Wabara, expressed concerns about the attitude of party leaders toward observing constitutional provisions and conventions with respect to party leadership positions.

He cited the controversy surrounding the position of the Ag. National Chairman as well as the National Secretary.

Wabara said, “We cannot ignore the fact that our party is facing internal strife, fueled by inactions, disagreements, and misunderstandings that threaten to undermine the very foundation upon which the PDP stands.

“The recent events have brought to light the urgent need for reconciliation, unity, and collective action to steer our party back on course.

“As the custodians of our party’s values and principles, it is incumbent upon us to address the crises that have arisen from the recent challenges surrounding the leadership and actions of the National Working Committee.”

In his opening remarks at the beginning of the NEC meeting, Damagum gave an account of his stewardship since he assumed office about a year ago.

He said, “Let me specially welcome you to this all important meeting, the first of its kind coming after the 2023 general elections. As you are all aware, the last general elections came with lots of unexpected challenges that robbed us of victories.

“These challenges were both internal and external. However, the outcomes of the general elections were appropriately challenged by our well selected legal teams in all the Election Petition Tribunals down to the final court, where the final verdicts were delivered.

“As a law abiding party, we accepted the verdict of the final court, but not without many reservations. However, we must give kudus to our legal team for their tenacity and professionalism while the case lasted and to our party faithful, who were always physically available during each sitting to give moral support to the party.”

He congratulated all elected governors and legislators of the party for winning their elections, especially those who were returned by various electoral tribunals.

Presenting his report on off-cycle elections under his watch, Damagum said, “NEC will also recall that there have been off-cycle elections that have been concluded.

“The outcome of the off-cycle elections in the trio states of Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi has come and gone with our party retaining Bayelsa state.

“Preparation is also on in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. With the support of all concerned, we are confident that soon we will congratulate ourselves.”

On the state of the nation, the PDP Acting National Chairman said, “It is no longer news that Nigerians are suffering under the hard and unfriendly APC-led government.

“The rate of unemployment, poverty, and insecurity is so high that most Nigerians go to bed without food in their stomachs. Our farmers can no longer go to their farms because of fears of being killed.

“ Industries are closing down and moving to neighboring countries as a result of unstable power supplies, unfavourable government economic policies. Young Nigerians and professionals of various fields now sleep in various embassies so as to procure their papers and “JAPA”.

He also spoke of efforts being made to reconcile and unite aggrieved members in the overall interest of the party.

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