The crisis-ridden Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has launched a fresh bid for peace in the party with the setting up of a National Reconciliation Committee (NRC), headed by Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson.
The constitution of the 30-member committee, which has been saddled with the onerous task of harmonising all interests and achieving genuine reconciliation across board, was announced yesterday in Abuja.
The party also yesterday resolved the crisis of confidence between its National Working Committee (NWC) and the Special National Convention Planning Committee, headed by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, following an agreement on how to distribute positions in the sub committees set up to assist the convention committee carry out its assignment.
However, THISDAY checks revealed that the Dickson committee might not achieve much in reconciling members as a result of the credibility crisis it is likely to face because of its chairman, who is a well-known supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan. The president’s rumoured second term ambition is one of the major sources of crisis in the PDP.
A statement by the PDP acting National Publicity Secretary, Tony Okeke, which announced the constitution of the reconciliation committee, named the other members of the NRC, which will be inaugurated on Thursday as Asheik Jarma as deputy chairman, Dr. I. A. Obuzor, Salisu Suleiman, Senator Walid Jibrin, Senator Hope Uzodinma and Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawalle.
Others are Mr. Niyi Fadimula, Chief Jerome Eke, Air Vice Marshal Chris O. Marizu (rtd), Hon. Tijani Ibrahim Kiyawa, Dr. Christy Silas, Mr. Jangwe Yusuf, Mrs. Ngozi Olejeme, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Yakubu Shehu, Mohammed Kuchazi, Mrs. Adedeji Otiti Olarenwaju, Chief Dapo Sarumi, Prince Arthur Eze and Chief Emma Iwuagwu.
The rest are Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Senator Umar Gada, Chief Dosun Fatokun, Mr. Harold Eze, Hajiya Fati Sabo, Hon. Wakili Mohammed and Shitu Mohammed, while Ambassador Umar Damagun will serve as the secretary.
The setting up of the NRC came against the backdrop of the multi-faceted crises bedevilling the PDP.
Many state chapters of the party, especially in the South-west, South-south and North-east geopolitical zones are in crises while many party bigwigs are at loggerheads with the PDP leadership.
The crisis in the Rivers State chapter of the party has snowballed into violence that has made many notable Nigerians, including former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar; Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu; and President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, to express concern about the deleterious effects of the crisis in the state on the survival of democracy in the country.
Besides, the relationship between the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and some party chiefs, especially governors, is not cordial despite the facade of cordiality being displayed by them.
There are doubts in the party on the genuineness of the PDP leadership’s latest bid to reconcile members as sources expressed concern about the choice of Dickson, an acolyte of the president, as its chairman.
A governor, who spoke to THISDAY on the matter last night, said such a committee headed by Dickson would suffer credibility gap, given the known relationship between Jonathan and his state governor. The president is from Bayelsa State.
The governor, an avid supporter of the Jonathan administration, added that some of his colleagues on the side of the factional Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Chief Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who was the president’s candidate in the controversial NGF chairmanship election, are now becoming suspicious of the “game they are trying to play”.
He said: “Who does he (Dickson) know? Who can he meet and who can he call for reconciliation in the party?
“We are worried because there seems to be an agenda that nobody really understands with these people. Many of my colleagues (fellow governors) have called to express anger and disappointment over this shenanigan and I can tell you we are watching to see where they are going.”
The governor gave a hint that many of the pro-Jonathan governors may be forced to reconsider their continuous support for the president if the actions of the presidency fail to convince them of an altruistic pursuit.
According to him, there is growing disenchantment in the camp of the pro-Jonathan governors, adding: “In the last four or so days, there has been some issue of trust or no trust, creeping in.”
The PDP also yesterday resolved the crisis threatening the conduct of its special national convention as the NWC and the Gana committee met for over four hours in Abuja.
At the end of the meeting, a working arrangement was agreed on for the sharing of the chairmanship of the sub committees of the convention committee.
Yesterday’s meeting, where Tukur led the NWC delegation, while Gana led the convention committee delegation, was brokered by President Jonathan who had recently met Tukur and Gana as well as other party leaders on how to resolve the crisis of confidence between the NWC and the Gana committee that made the NWC to order the committee to stop further preparations for the convention.
By the latest agreement, the Gana committee will always inform the NWC of the progresses made for the preparations for the convention while all requests for funds will be channelled through the national chairman.
But not all the arrangements would affect the dates of the national convention and the South-west congress as the national convention will still take place on August 31 and the zonal congress on August 24.
By yesterday’s resolution of the crisis, the NWC will produce the chairmen of the protocol, publicity, welfare, screening and the electoral sub committees of the convention committee.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Tukur said: “The members of the NWC met today (yesterday) with the members of the special national convention committee and all issues affecting the conduct of the forthcoming convention has been resolved. The committee will be inaugurated by the national chairman on Wednesday (tomorrow) by 2pm.”
Gana described the meeting as fruitful and peaceful, adding that “all the issues concerning planning and execution of all arrangements towards the special national convention have been fully and properly resolved”.
THISDAY gathered that before now, there were concerns within the party that the Gana committee was acting in a way seen by PDP observers as a ‘parallel NWC’, a situation that Gana has denied.