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PDP Governors Ask Mu'azu, Others To Resign

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THE internal crisis that culminated in the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the general elections has deteriorated.

This came as the party's caucus in the House of Representatives, yesterday, urged All Progressives Congress (APC) to be more tolerant of opposing views.

The PDP governors convened a meeting of party stakeholders in Abuja on Tuesday and asked all serving members of the party's National Working Committee (NWC) to quit.

A source within the PDP national leadership disclosed yesterday that the Chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum, Godswill Akpabio, convened the meeting during which a decision was taken that all NWC members must resign for being responsible for the dismal performance of the PDP in the last elections.

The governors were said to have resolved to overhaul the NWC with a view to ‎flushing out all bad eggs.

It was also gathered that the governors have decided to appoint a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party till next year when a national convention of the party would be convened to elect new national officers.

Another source stated that the PDP National Chairman, Ahmed Adamu Mu'azu and other NWC members who attended the meeting were asked to go out before the official end of the meeting.

He said: “They (NWC members) were invited to the meeting just to give them a fair-hearing‎ before a verdict is passed.”

But an NWC member, who preferred not to be mentioned, stated that it was the belief of the NWC members that the governors wanted to hijack the party.

“We are going to organise ‎a public hearing on the failure of our party in the last election. All those who contributed in one way or the other to the failure would be exposed and dealt with. This is why some people are jittery”, he said.

He also alleged that the PDP governors wanted to ruin the party in preparation for their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Those, who represented the NWC at the meeting, include Mu'azu, Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus and the National Legal Adviser,‎ Mr. Yusuf Kwon.

Meanwhile, the PDP Reps caucus, in a statement by the House Leader, Mulikat Akande, particularly expressed deep concerns over barring of the African Independent Television (AIT) from covering the activities of the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, at the Defence House in Abuja.

The caucus insisted that the measure negates democratic ideals, including freedom of expression and the holding of divergent opinions, adding that notwithstanding the hasty decision to quickly reverse the controversial decision, there were still signs that the worse could still happen.

Noting that it was deeply concerned about the anti-mass media disposition that culminated into AIT's ban, and its far- reaching implications for democratic freedom under the Buhari Presidency, the caucus assured that it would not toe the line of the APC by insulting or denigrating the office of the President.

It noted: “Except for the utterly obnoxious Decree 4, which the military dictatorship under the same Buhari once foisted on Nigeria, nothing in the laws of the federation and international protocols to which Nigeria has subscribed to, prohibits media freedom under any circumstance.

“While we do not hold brief for any media organisation, well-meaning people expect that rather than begin on a wrong footing by signaling a keenness to go to war against the mass media, even before being sworn in; the President-elect and the APC should be democratic, tolerant, non-impulsive and mature with the option of taking any media organisation that has committed any infraction or breach of professional ethics to the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) or the law courts for appropriate sanctions.

“A society in which any individual freely chooses to exercise far-reaching powers beyond the force of a court's summary trial, or one in which each angry person resorts to 'an eye for an eye' will only leave too many blind ones as the society degenerates into anarchy.

“Rather than steps that can only return Nigeria to the dark ages, the deepening of officials' tolerance for criticism and sustaining respect for the rule of law — as already exemplified by President Goodluck Jonathan — will help Nigeria's democratic growth and sustenance.

“The Defence House where the President-elect conducts his official business was built with Nigerian taxpayers' money and an administration that preaches CHANGE should also encourage transparency and tolerance of criticism.

“Although it could be understandable for the President-elect to feel aggrieved about particular activities of the AIT, there can be no justifiable basis for Buhari to ostracise the television station the way he summarily did. Even in the United States and other democracies that we seek to emulate, presidential fiat does not silence the critical press.

“While the APC appears to be doing well, albeit at grave costs, in reining-in the mounting excesses of Buhari, some have expressed amazement about how and why a political party should have cause to perfunctorily reverse a 'presidential decision.'

“More importantly, the question that lingers remains: are we all seeing signs of coming dire times of willful expression of autocratic tendencies in Nigeria?

“A very wrong step has been put forward and Nigerians and the international community had better prepare for a long-drawn battle to preserve the democratic gains of personal freedom and the rule of law of the Jonathan years. We sincerely hope Nigerians have not unwittingly shot themselves in the foot. Indeed, there is cause for deep concern.”