All is not well among the members of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party over their support for the party’s presidential aspirants, The PUNCH learnt on Thursday.
The Board had, at its meeting last week, directed its members to be neutral and not declare any private or public support for any of the party’s 13 presidential aspirants.
The Chairman of the Board, Senator Walid Jibrin, who spoke after the meeting, said members of the BoT should remain as the conscience of the party.
He said they would be the one to adjudicate on matters brought before the board by any of the aspirants in case there were any grievances before or after the presidential primary slated for October 5 and 6 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
However, at the inauguration of one of the presidential aspirants, who is also a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja on Thursday, three members of the BoT were in attendance.
They were John Nwodo, Vincent Ogbulafor, who was both former National Chairman of the party and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi.
Jibrin had said, “If you are a member of BoT, you remain as a member of the BoT and the conscience of the party. They should not move about with any aspirant.
“If we are really the conscience of the party, we should not move about with aspirants. That was what happened during the last national convention when we elected the national chairman.
“Some of us went and pitched camp with aspirants, taking them all over the place. This time, we will not allow that to happen.
“Anyone of us who move about with any aspirant should resign from the BoT. We are the one that will settle the complaints.
“But if we are involved, it will not be fair. So, we have told the members not to campaign with the aspirants; we are also the delegates.”
Our correspondent gathered that the board discussed the matter at its meeting before having discussions with the aspirants in Abuja on Thursday night.
When our correspondent called Jibrin about the flouting of the board’s directive, he said he would speak on the matter on Friday (today).
“We will address it on Friday when I will be briefing you on the outcome of our meeting with the aspirants,” he said.
Meanwhile, Atiku has named Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and 58 other persons as members of his presidential nomination council ahead of the PDP presidential primaries.
Members of the council drawn from several states of the country are eminent stakeholders in the PDP and are expected to mobilise support from their respective states for the emergence of Atiku as the PDP presidential candidate.
Announcing the membership of the council, the Director-General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation who is also a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, said, “The work of this council – as the name connotes – is to mobilise PDP delegates from all the states of the country for Atiku to emerge as the presidential candidate of our great party.”
In his remarks, Atiku noted that the struggle for national renewal was usually a difficult one, but said it was one that patriots must engage in if they hoped to improve the lives of their compatriots.
He said, “Nigerians are yearning for jobs, for opportunities, for unity and security. We must work with them to deliver these.
“We must also restore truth in politics, justice and fairness in governance, and a genuine federal system that helps us address local priorities and run a more effective and efficient government.”