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Adamawa Guber: PDP Postpones Screening Of Applicants To Saturday

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The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday, August  27, 2014 shifted the screening of aspirants for the office of Adamawa state governor during the Saturday, September 6, 2014 party primaries.

Though no apparent reason was given for the postponement of the screening, the decision comes on the heels of a meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan, leaders of the national assembly, ministers and the NWC of the party at the council chambers presidential villa, Abuja which lasted for several hours.

The NWC refused to declare the names of the members of the screening committee, saying that their names will be made public on Friday, August 29, 2014, though no reason was given for the decision. However, the leadership of the PDP set up a 3-man committee to discuss the issuance of waivers for politicians who defected from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP to be led by the national organising secretary, Abubakar Mustapha.

Thisday reports:

Mustapha told journalists that the screening of the 14 governorship aspirants would commence on Saturday, August 30, 2014 while the names of the members of the screening panel would be made public on Friday, August 29, 2014.

This is coming as some influential members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) were mounting pressure that the party should not grant waiver to defectors to the party as it would dampen morals of the members of the party as well as encourage indiscipline within the party.

The national organising secretary further confirmed that the issue of waivers was receiving attention and details would be made public when necessary.

THISDAY however gathered that the issue of waiver had divided the party NWC into two camps, with the National Chairman, Adamu Muazu, leading camps that are seen as pro waiver for the defectors, while other members of the NWC are insisting that the waiver to the defectors would encourage indiscipline within the party.

Section 50 (9) of the PDP constitution says: “There shall be a minimum of two-year membership span for a member to be eligible to stand for election into any public office, unless the appropriate executive committee gives a waiver or rules to the contrary.”

Those who applied for the party’s waiver already are the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and former presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 presidential election, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; the former Military Administrator of Lagos and Borno States, General Buba Marwa (rtd) and the former governorship candidate of the ACN in the 2011 election, Mr. Marcus Gundiri.

Controversy has continued to trail the waiver application, especially by the former chairman of EFCC, who recently dump the APC.

While some stakeholders said it was not wise to allow Ribadu to come near to the government house, Ribadu the other hand, had explained that Adamawa PDP stakeholders encouraged him to contest the election.

However, briefing journalists before going into the meeting with the president, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, said the issue of waiver must be finalised before the screening scheduled for 10am today.

He said: “The screening committee is going to start by tomorrow (today) by 10 a.m.  We are just back from the villa and we have not sat. The issue of waiver must be finalised before screening. Tomorrow is the first and last day of the screening. The National Organising Secretary, Mustapha, will release the name later this evening.”

Speaking on the meeting with Jonathan, Metuh, while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, said it was a consultative meeting designed to oil the wheels of PDP in readiness for 2015 elections.

He said the issue of waivers for Ribadu and others who rejoined PDP was not tabled for discussion at the meeting, as it was the exclusive preserve of the NWC of the party.

“There was a meeting between Federal Executive Council  (FEC) members, the  NWC members of the party and the leadership of the National Assembly PDP caucus.

“The meeting discussed a lot of issues, the most important issues being the interface between the executive, the legislature and the party with a view to promoting and publicising the ideals of the achievements of the transformation agenda of the government and to ensure that we continue to gain the confidence of Nigerians.

“Being the only party that promotes the unity and progress of Nigeria which covers all national interest, we want to ensure that our people will continue to have faith in the party. The meeting set up a small committee to continue to dialogue and promote theses ideals,” Metuh said.

On the October 11 governorship by-election, he disclosed that: “The issue of the state is an exclusive preserve of the NWC, and this body (the meeting) is unknown to the constitution of the party to discuss such matters.”

On whether the ministers who have political ambitions were asked to resign their position, he said no such decision was taken because “we have not brought out our guidelines. You cannot tell people to resign except when the guidelines are out. So when the guidelines come out then we can now discuss such issues.

“You know we have a regulatory body that takes care of such issues, we have Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and we are waiting, we will not want to run foul of the law. Very soon, we will bring out our guidelines,” Metuh stressed.

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