PDP summons emergency meeting over court's ruling

By The Citizen

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party,  Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, on Friday summoned an emergency meeting of the party chieftains in Abuja following the ruling of an Abuja High Court that stopped the party's special convention.

Sources at the meeting, which was hurriedly convened to discuss the implication of the court's ruling, told our correspondent that the leadership of the party was still confused and yet to arrive at the next line of action.

A member of the NWC of the party told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the ruling took the party by surprise.

He said, 'We did not expect the ruling, not now that we are facing a lot of challenges in the party. We are indeed devastated and I can tell you that the ruling may affect the fortunes of the party in the future.'

He said that if the ruling subsisted, it might be difficult for the party to field a candidate for the November governorship election in Anambra State, because the Independent National Electoral Commission might not deal with acting officers of the party.

The commission deals with correspondence from the elected officials of political parties.

National Secretaries and National Organising Secretaries of political parties usually sign such nomination papers and forward them to the commission. But both offices are occupied in acting capacity in the PDP.

Reacting to the court ruling, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Tony Okeke, said the court pronouncement was being studied by the leadership of the party.

According to him, PDP lawyers are already going through the ruling with a view to deciding on the next line of action.

Okeke, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, said, 'We are handling the matter. Our team of lawyers are going through the ruling and studying it. At the end of that, we would take a stand on what to do.'

Okeke was not specific on whether the party would go ahead with the preparation for the convention or when the appeal, which is expected to be filed by the party, would be filed.

The court ruling, which was delivered by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had described the action of the party with the planned convention scheduled for August 31, as 'recklessness of high degree.'

Though the judge refused to stop Tukur from performing his duties and also did not nullify the appointment of the acting members of the National Working Committee, he ordered the party to refrain from proceeding with the planned special convention, where about 20 national officers of the party are to be elected.

The court also upheld the prayers of the three plaintiffs: Abba Yale, Yahaya Sule and Bashir Maigudu, that the plan for the special convention, even when the case was still pending, was aimed at foisting a fait accompli on the court.