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Nigeria: Ruling party gets new Chairman

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of Nigeria’s ruling party=the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to confirm the nomination of pioneer National Secretary of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as the new National Chairman tomorro

National Vice-Chairman of the party in the South-East, Chief Olisa Metuh, confirmed that the zone at a formal meeting last Monday removed all legal and technical hurdles placed against his confirmation.

He said the consultations embarked by the party hierarchy at all levels showed that members have endorsed Nwodo, pending his confirmation by the party’s NEC.

“The approval of the waiver has now qualified him for nomination, election or appointment into any of the offices of the party, covering article 16 (4) and 17 (2) of our party constitution. We noted that he is capable and competent, fully equipped to function into any elective or appointive office.

“While he was the National Secretary of our party, we had full internal democracy, we experienced pure democracy; we want that era to come back. We fully support the decision of the party leadership to forward his name to NEC for nomination as national chairman.

“As a former governor, a former National Secretary, a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and indeed a founding father of the party, we know he is well positioned to bring back the lost glory of the party,” Metuh stated.

It was gathered that the NEC meeting should have held yesterday but for the absence of President Goodluck Jonathan who was away to South Africa where he watched the Super Eagles’ match against Argentina in the World Cup tournament.

Nwodo was said to have been on the presidential entourage and that afforded the President opportunity to interact with Nwodo on his vision, programmes, plans and strategy for repositioning the party.

A source at the meeting told our reporter that the President was impressed by the level of knowledge of the party and the steps to be taken to assuage all frayed nerves without hurting the ego of anybody in the party.

“Nwodo actually proved that he understands the party. He proved his mettle as the pioneer administrative boss of the party and the ideas he discussed with Mr. President left none in doubt that Nwodo is the man to lead the party at this point in time,” our source said.

At the national secretariat of the party, scores of party chieftains who thronged the party secretariat, including former governorship aspirant of the party in Anambra State, Hon. Nicholas Ukachukwu told our correspondent that Nwodo is the best man for the job.

Meanwhile, the party yesterday quizzed the convener of the PDP Solidarity Forum, Ikenga Ugochinyere over his legal action challenging the eligibility of Nwodo to lead the party.

But leader of the forum at the party’s national secretariat yesterday alleged threat to his life, insisting that he cannot be intimidated to abandon the struggle for justice in the party. Ugochinyere alleged that he had in the last few days received several telephone calls, asking him to drop the case or face death.

The meeting which was originally planned to slam an indefinite suspension on Ugochinyere however turned out to be fence mending talks as the party leadership urged PSF to with draw the suit. The meeting however ended in a dead luck as Ugochinyere insisted on justice, and respect o the party constitution.

Fielding questions from journalists after the meeting, he said: “My visit to this party is informal, though I was invited. The PDP is a big family and I was invited by the party to rub minds with them on how to move the party forward in view of the coming NEC meeting on Thursday and the issue in court and how we can come out of this.”

Asked if the meeting was on account of his court case, he said: “Issues like that came up, I can tell you and I will not lie to you but the point still remain that I went to court to ensure that there is best practices in the party. Again, I am going home to look at it. I am I going to sacrifice the rule of law on the altar of the quest for party stability.

“Yes I understand that the party may be at a crossroad right now; I understand that the party has a NEC meeting on Thursday. I understand that the party knows it can go ahead with a pending matter in court and that they cannot discuss those issues in court. The party needs to move forward. This evening, I am going to speak with my people, and again tomorrow morning I am going to get back to the party,” he said.

Also hundreds of party faithful under the aegis of “Igbos in PDP worldwide” led by Chief Ogbonna Ogbonna and Chief Alfred Ozoemena, stormed the party’s national secretariat to support of the nomination of Nwodo.

Ogbonna and Ozoemena who spoke to newsmen at the party’s headquarters, said they came to pay a solidarity visit to the national leadership of the party for the support given to Nwodo.

“Nwodo is the best man for the job. He has paid his dues in the party. He did not leave the party because of any inordinate ambition or personal aggrandizement, but as a result of the unfavourable leadership of the party at the time.

“He is humble, straight-forward and kind-hearted. He understands the party. Don’t forget he laid the foundation for the strings of victories made by the party at the first electoral contest in 1999. He is surely one man who will know how to galvanize all the interests in the party and move this nation forward,” they stressed.