A new campaign vehicle, adorned with the picture of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, the colours of the party and its umbrella logo with an inscription describing him as a tested leader, was yesterday parked near the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
The vehicle was parked between Sky Memorial Plaza and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) headquarters, close to the Wadata Plaza where the party office is situated in Wuse Zone 5.
Besides Sheriff’s name and picture, the vehicle, which had no registration number, had the inscriptions “The Great Leader Sheriff 2016” and “The North-West Youth Organization: Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi.”
However, many passersby and some party members speculated that the car might have been brought to Abuja by Sheriff’s supporters from the North-West, who wanted him to remain as chairman beyond the stipulated three months tenure allotted to him by the National Executive Committee of the party.
This is coming five weeks to the party’s national convention slated for May 21, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where new leaders of the party, the National Working Committee (NWC), would emerge.
The NEC, which is the highest decision-making body of the party, had given Sheriff responsibility to run the affairs of the party and timeframe within which to conduct a national convention.
Some party members, who spoke with our correspondent, said recent events were indications that Sheriff would still contest the chairmanship position at the convention.
Some weeks ago, PDP leaders and members from the South-west, led by Senator Buruji Kashamu, had asked the national leadership of the party to zone the position of chairman to the North.
In a release by Senator Kashamu and many others, presented to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), the South-West leaders said the North should retain the seat in order for the PDP not to be tagged as “regional party.”
They said with the emergence of Senator Sheriff as chairman, activities had picked up at the party’s national secretariat, hence the need for the North to retain the seat, even though the party’s presidential ticket had already been zoned to the zone.
However, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said party faithful have right to showcase their opinion.
“Absolutely, there is nothing wrong in what they are doing. In politics, they are free to canvass their own opinion but the person (Sheriff) has not declared interest. The zoning committee is yet to submit its report. But, they will submit the report soon.
“I saw it (vehicle) this morning, but I think the people are becoming mischievous. They are being overzealous. The man has not even indicated interest. The chairman is not even aware because he is not in the office.”
PDP deputy national legal adviser, Barrister Bashir Maidugu, told Daily Trust in a telephone interview that NEC had zoned the 2019 presidential ticket to the North, so that the party’s national chairman would come from the South.
“Nobody can change NEC’s decision. It cannot be changed by a mere zoning committee set up ahead of the convention. It’s only if NEC meets and makes U-turn that the arrangement can be altered,” he said.
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