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Ogbeh shuns successor’s inauguration •Oyinlola report shelved

Posted by Yusuf Alli and Musa Simon Reef on 2005/03/06 | Views: 450 |

Ogbeh shuns successor’s inauguration •Oyinlola report shelved


Barely 48 hours after leaving office, the immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Wednesday shunned the inauguration of his successor, Col. Ahmadu Ali (rtd).

Barely 48 hours after leaving office, the immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Wednesday shunned the inauguration of his successor, Col. Ahmadu Ali (rtd).

But the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, said the party would no longer tolerate indiscipline.

Also, the party’s National Executive Committee has deferred discussion about the report of the Oyinlola Committee on the crisis in Anambra State.

Although the meeting started at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja, at about 2.35pm, the past chairmen of the party, except Ogbeh, were there.

The former chairmen in attendance were Chief Solomon Lar and Chief Barnabas Gemade.

Article 16(ix) of the PDP constitution makes former national chairmen automatic members of NEC.

But the past chairmen, who can attend any NEC meeting as members of the Board of Trustees, have no voting rights.

It could however not be ascertained why Ogbeh was absent but his action may not be unconnected with his forced resignation from office.

The PDP had been polarised since the sudden exit of Ogbeh and the crisis of confidence has created a division among the 28 governors of the party.

It was learnt that some of the aggrieved governors might either defect to another party or form a new one.

Some of the governors who have sympathy for Ogbeh shunned the meeting.

The affected governors are Chief James Ibori (Delta), Chief Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), Rev. Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Mr. Bonnie Haruna (Adamawa), Chief Lucky Igbinedion (Edo) among others.

A party stalwart who spoke in confidence said, "We were all expecting Ogbeh because he has been a committed party man and he has assured the party of his continuous service.

"We were eager to see Ogbeh and hear his valedictory comments but he did not come. Up till now, we do not know why he was absent."

A member of the Board of Trustees said, "I think he (Ogbeh) wanted to allow a smooth take-over by the new chairman of the party.

"Some of us see his boycott as a reasonable step to avoid any friction. We believe that he is a democrat and at the appropriate time, Ogbeh will pay obeisance to Ali."

When contacted, the Special Assistant (Media) to Ogbeh, Mr. Thompson Abu said, "I have not been able to contact the former chairman on why he could not attend the meeting.

"I hope to get in touch with you as soon as I have his words."

In spite of the boycott by some members, the one agenda NEC meeting was without any hitch.

In his address, the Deputy National Chairman (North), Alhaji Iro Safana, apologised for delaying the meeting by over one and a half hours.

He explained that the delay was to allow President Obasanjo to attend the meeting.

The climax of the meeting was the administration of the oath of office on Ali at about 3.57pm.

President Olusegun Obasanjo however urged PDP members to give Ali a chance to prove his mettle.

"I have known Ali since 1975. We all joined Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s government on January 25, 1975. From what I know of the new chairman, I believe he is up to the task.

"The only bad days was during the days of Ali must go. But this time around, Ali must stay now and Ali must not go. I wish you a successful tenure."

The NEC meeting was attended by Obasanjo; his deputy, Atiku Abubakar; the President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari; the Deputy President of the Senate, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu; and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Austin Opara.

The governors in attendance were Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Mohammed Makarfi (Kaduna); Abdulkadir Kure (Niger); Olusegun Agagu (Ondo); Peter Odili (Rivers); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Joshua Dariye (Plateau); and George Akume (Benue)

Others were Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun); Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); Chris Ngige (Anambra); Bukola Saraki (Kwara); and Donald Duke (Cross Rivers), among others.

Meanwhile the party’s Board Of Trustees on Wednesday confirmed Anenih as its chairman.

Anenih had been acting chairman of the BOT in the last one year.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Venatius Ikem, said the confirmation was approved Tuesday night after a meeting of the BOT.

But in his acceptance speech, Anenih has vowed to instill discipline in the party.

In another statement, the National Secretary of the party, Chief Vincent

Ogbulafor, quoted Anenih as saying, "I have aspired to occupy this position. I will improve on what I did as the acting chairman of the BOT.

"I believe in discipline. I believe that if the answer is yes, I should have the courage to say so. As far as PDP is concerned, there will be no compromise on discipline.

"I will not use my position to attempt to wear the crown. Rather, I will help other people to wear the crown."

It was however gathered last night that the party has deferred its discussion on the report of Oyinlola Committee on Anambra crisis till a later date.

The Anambra crisis is a major disciplinary problem confronting the party.

Although the report was initially part of the NEC agenda on Wednesday, it was dropped at the last minute to allow the new chairman, Ali to consolidate.

A top party source said, "We have deferred the consideration to a new date because Ali is just coming on board. We want him to take stock of the state of the party before any disciplinary action.

"The NEC will meet soon on the report but I cannot give you the exact time."

The PUNCH, Thursday, March 3, 2005

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