Party crisis: PDP sets up reconciliation committee, names Gov. Dickson as head

By The Citizen

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State was on Monday named as the Chairman of the 30-man Peoples Democratic Party National Reconciliation Committee to resolve the lingering crises in the party.

Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr.   Tony Okeke, who   announced the setting up of the Reconciliation Committee, said its members would be inaugurated on Thursday.

Alhaji Asheik Jarma and Mr Umar Damagun, will serve as the Deputy Chairman and Secretary, respectively.

Other members include; Dr. I.A. Obuzor, Alhaji Salisu Suleiman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, Alhaji Bello Mohammed, Alhaji Niyi Fadimula Mr Jerome Eke, Mr Tijani Kiyawa, and Mr Chris Marizu.

Dr Christy Silas, Mr Jangwe Yusuf, Mrs Ngozi Olejeme, Mr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Yakubu Shehu, Mohammed Kuchazi, Mrs Adedeji Olarenwaju and Prince Arthur Eze, are also members of the committee.

The list also includes, Chief  Emma Iwuagwu, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, Sen. Umar Gada, Dosun Fatokun, Mr Harold Eze, Hajia Fati Sabo, Alhaji Wakili Mohammed, Alhaji Shittu Mohammed and Chief Dapo Sarumi.

Okeke, in a statement  said, 'In furtherance of the efforts to ensure comprehensive reconciliation among members and interests in the party, the National Working Committee of the PDP has set up a National Reconciliation Committee to harmonise all interests and achieve genuine reconciliation across board.'

But in Port Harcourt, the Chief of Staff, Government House,  Mr. Tony Okocha, expressed dissatisfaction that Dickson,  an interested party in the crisis rocking the party, was selected to lead the reconciliation committee.

He argued   that the PDP  should have nominated a Nigerian that had no  interest in the crisis affecting the PDP  so that  the committee would  appear genuine.

Okocha stated  that there were prominent Nigerians known for their ability to broker peace in crisis situations and wondered why none of them was selected to head the committee.

He added that bringing in those that were the  masterminds of  the NGF crisis to head such a committee would not help to achieve the reconciliation, which the party was seeking.

Okocha said, 'That committee headed by Dickson has a script to act out. When you are out to make peace, you must try as much as possible to isolate interested parties. Seriake Dickson is one of the hatchet men of the President.

'There are Nigerians who are peaceful. They (PDP) should look at them in selecting those that would reconcile aggrieved members of the party. What has just happened is like appointing (Godswill) Akpabio to head a committee to reconcile aggrieved members of the party that include Governor Amaechi.

'You can't bring those that were the  masterminds of  the crisis in the NGF to head the reconciliation committee. It  will not help any reconciliation effort. I can sit here now and tell you the outcome of the panel's efforts. Like I said; they are only acting a script.'

Gov. Dickson is one of the 16 governors backing the Governor Jonah Jang-led faction of the Nigeria Governors' Forum. Dickson's  headship of the committee has already  been  faulted by  the Rivers State Government which  described  him as one of President Goodluck Jonathan's 'hatchet men.'

The  PDP became more polarised since the conduct of the NGF election, which the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi,  won with 19 votes.

Few days after the  forum's election, the PDP  announced the suspension of Amaechi, claiming that the action was taken  because  he  declined  to reconstitute the   executive of Obiokpor Local Government council of the state.

Even though Amaechi is currently challenging his suspension in court, there has been a series of crises in the state.

Few days ago, four governors elected on the PDP platform  were in the state to see him  but  were reportedly   molested by  youths said to have been sponsored by those opposed to the governor.

The setting up of the committee came few days after some PDP  governors visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo  in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where they complained about happenings in the party.

Meanwhile, the   Presidency  has said  that Amaechi   misfired  by accusing the President  of turning the PDP into a 'one-man-show.'

Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, said this in an interview in Abuja on Monday.

Apart from accusing Jonathan of  running a 'one-man-show' in the PDP, Amaechi had in an interview granted the Financial Times of London,alleged that Jonathan was condoning 'impunity and authoritarianism' in an effort to ensure re-election in 2015.

But Gulak said there was nothing farther from the truth than the governor's statement.

He said  the President   does not only abide by the constitutions of the country and the  PDP, he  consults robustly before party decisions are taken.

The presidential aide added that  contrary to Amaechi's claim, all constitutionally recognised party organs take part in decision-making.

He cited an example of a recent decision to hold the party's special convention, saying that resolution was taken by the party's National Executive Council.

Gulak said, 'That statement credited to Ameachi is very wrong; it is not true that the President is running the PDP as a one-man show.

'I can tell you authoritatively that every senior stakeholder in the party is consulted before decisions relating to the party are taken. All constitutionally recognised organs of the party such as the National Working Committee, the NEC  and the Board of Trustees take part in decision-making processes.

'For example, it was the NEC that recently decided that the party should hold a special convention. The President is a man that abides by the constitutions of the country and the party. He consults robustly before taking decisions.

'If it is true that Amaechi made that statement, he misfired.'