PDP DENIES ATIKU WAIVER, EKWUEME REPORT ALREADY DID THAT â€“ EX-VP
The return of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hangs in the balance, as he has not been granted waiver to enable him to lay claim to membership of the party.
Speaking with journalists yesterday, in Abuja, PDP national publicity secretary, Professor Ahmed Rufai Alkali, listed names of new entrants granted waiver by the PDP National Executive Committee, which met on Thursday, without including Atiku's. About 22 returnees were granted waiver.
The former vice president has been embroiled in a crisis with the Adamawa State chapter of the party, which had declared that it was not aware that he had returned to the party. However, Atiku claimed to have officially registered in his ward. He is expected to formally declare his presidential ambition tomorrow in Abuja.
Alkali claimed ignorance of a waiver for Atiku, saying that it was never discussed at the party's NEC meeting.
'Yes, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar came here to tell us that he has returned to the party and he showed us some documents. I am sure when he left, the national chairman called you to inform you. But the party told him to go back to his ward and register. That's the elementary thing. We cannot reject him, but the party national secretariat cannot give him membership card.
'We asked him to go back to Adamawa to continue with reconciliation with Adamawa PDP. By the time they sort it out, Atiku would be given waiver, just like others. Waiver has to come on the advice of the state chapter,' Alkali noted.
Articles 8.9 and 10 (b) iii of the PDP Constitution vests the PDP NWC and the NEC the statutory responsibility to decide the fate of new entrants to the party.
Article 8.9 reads: 'Persons who desire to rejoin the party after leaving it shall, unless exempted by the National Working Committee, be placed on probation for a period of time not less than one year.'
Article 10 (b) iii also reads: 'Any person who loses his membership for reasons other than non-payment of annual subscription may be readmitted on the recommendation of his state chapter of the party made to the National Working Committee, which is subject to ratification by the National Executive Committee.'
Reacting to the development, through his media aide, Alhaji Garba Shehu, the former vice president declared that he had since returned to the PDP, having been duly registered in his Jada 11 Ward of Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
He disclosed further that the National Reconciliation Committee by former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, had since granted him waiver.
He said: 'The Ekwueme committee recommended in its report, article 5.9.1 (pp.23) that 'the membership revalidation exercise should be revisited to allow for unfettered and unconditional return of all members of the party and access to new members.'
'This recommendation was adopted and included in the white paper from the National Working Committee (NWC) to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party in 'Recommendation 9' (pp.5).
'For the avoidance of doubt, please refer to the minutes of the 42nd NEC meeting of the party held November 23, 2007 at the Wadata Plaza wherein the White Paper sent in by the NWC for consideration was adopted and is listed as 'Approval' 1 (pp.7).
'We do not believe that the party is adopting a different sort of rules in the waiver for Atiku and his associates. We believe that the PDP will make a proper announcement on the issue when it deems fit, as we have been repeatedly assured.'
The PDP national publicity scribe also offered insight into why the party would conduct bi-annual conference and special national convention, even as he gave no date.
'As you are all aware, proposals for the amendment of the PDP constitution were earlier circulated to state chapters, in line with the outlined procedures for the amendment of our constitution. However, in view of current political developments in the country, especially the recently enacted electoral law, NEC considered the need to review some sections of the PDP constitution and align them with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.
'Consequently, Article 12.17, Article 12.40 and Article12.84, which confer status of automatic delegates to ministers, ambassadors, chairmen of boards, commissioners, special advisors and special assistants to party congresses and national conventions were recommended for deleting,' he said.
Alkali equally gave reason the orchestrated e-registration was shelved. He said: 'On the proposed online registration of members, NEC commended the idea of the project and the extent of work done so far by the NWC and the consultants and saluted the vision to modernize the membership register of the party.
'However, in view of time constraints and pressures anticipated from the forthcoming voter registration exercise, party primaries and the forthcoming general elections, NEC resolved to put on hold the exercise and resume fully after the general elections in 2011.'