A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the much-anticipated meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The party’s Deputy Youth Leader and NEC member, Timothy Osadolor, in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday said although the party was planning to hold a NEC meeting, a date had yet to be fixed.
The PUNCH learnt on Monday that the meeting, the first under the leadership of the PDP acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, is unlikely to hold until after April 17, a date set aside for the hearing of the suit on the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.
Ayu was suspended by his Igyorov ward in the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
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Following his suspension and subsequent decision to step aside in obedience to a court order, Ayu is seeking to vacate the order made by Justice Wilfred of the Benue State High Court in Makurdi.
Damagum, who replaced Ayu in acting capacity in line with the provisions of Section 45 (2) of the PDP Constitution, wasted no time in reversing one of the controversial decisions made by the Ayu-led National Working Committee.
He overturned the decision to refer Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee of the party as well as the suspension party stalwarts, such as the ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; and governors of Katsina and Ekiti states, Ibrahim Shema and Ayo Fayose, respectively.
Damagum is expected to convene a NEC meeting to deliberate on issues concerning the party, including the issues leading to Ayu’s suspension.
Although Damagun denied knowledge of an imminent NEC meeting, telling our reporter that “I am just hearing this from you,” a credible party source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The PUNCH that the meeting was being discussed with no date slated for it yet.
“You know NEC is a big event; party leaders and stakeholders attend from across the country. As a result, there is a need for adequate preparation so that you don’t send invites only to realise that the party was not ready for it. Talks are in progress and a date would be announced as soon as possible.
“I think the new leadership seems to be too much in a hurry and it may have been advised to tread carefully. The substantive National Chairman did not resign; he stepped aside. His suspension is before the court. Whether we like or not, he has his loyalists, some of whom have been very vocal in the media. I think these and other related issues are the reasons a date has not been picked for a NEC meeting,” the source said.
Also speaking, a NEC member, Timothy Osadolor, stated, “It is only natural for NEC meeting to be convened now but there are procedures. You can’t convene a NEC meeting without preparations, security, and all of that. I am sure that once the leadership of the party agrees on these things, a date will be communicated, and notice will be issued. For now, it is still at a discussion level. No tentative date has been fixed for it,” he said.
Efforts to get the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, and his deputy, Ibrahim Abdullahi, were not successful as both men neither picked their calls nor responded to messages sent to them on WhatsApp.