Members of the Peoples Democratic Party have been cautioned against illegality by governors elected on the party platform prior to today’s (Thursday) National Executive Committee meeting.

The question of whether acting National Chairman Umar Damagum should stay in office or be replaced will be discussed at today’s NEC meeting.Following the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, by a Benue State court in March of last year, Damagum, the PDP National Chairman (North), assumed the role of acting National Chairman.In response to a lawsuit brought by Terhide Utaan, a PDP member living in the state’s Igyorov ward of the Gboko Local Government Area, the court rendered its decision.

Ayu had earlier been the subject of a vote of no confidence by the ward’s party executive.On Tuesday, sixty members of the House of Representatives, who are from the North Central, where Ayu is from, demanded that Damagum be removed from office and that a substantive chairman be appointed.

However, the Kingsley Chinda-led House minority caucus disassociated itself from the organization and declared it an unacknowledged body in the legislature.Tuesday’s PDP caucus meeting in the House of Representatives ended in chaos, with lawmakers sharply split between those who supported and opposed Damagun’s term.

In preparation for today’s NEC meeting on Thursday, governors nominated on the party platform convened on Wednesday at the governor’s lodge in Asokoro, Akwa Ibom State, in Abuja.Bala Mohammed, the governor of Bauchi State and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, reaffirmed the forum’s commitment to preserving the party’s amended 2017 constitution shortly after the meeting.

“Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the party, the executive committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from to serve out the tenure,” reads Section 47(6) of the PDP Constitution.

The governor of Bauchi State declared that the forum would take charge and thwart any attempt by marauders to divide the party.”I mentioned that the issues have been resolved, and our focus is on operating within the party’s constitutional provisions,” he said in response to questions about the governors’ position on Damagum.

Thus, the purpose of this meeting is not to discuss a leadership transition. Our top priority is to take care of any unresolved issues and proceed in a way that ensures all of the party’s constitutionally mandated events, including congresses, are finished on time.”It is crucial to remember that NEC, which is made up of the PDP Governors’ Forum and other stakeholders, will ultimately make decisions on such matters, even though the public is free to speculate and discuss.”

As governors, we are aware of our leadership responsibilities, but we also acknowledge that the NEC will decide whether or not to fill the leadership vacancy, considering legal issues arising from ongoing litigation.”We are dedicated to maintaining party unity and will not tolerate attempts by outside forces to foment division within the party. In order to perform to the best of our abilities and win the next elections, we must resolve all issues and make sure the party is united.

Additionally, he clarified that the meeting examined recent party developments and recommended that the National Working Committee of the party start the process of setting up the necessary mechanisms to hold legitimate congresses in every state where party officers’ terms had ended.

The main topic of discussion at the NEC meeting would be whether Damagum would stay in his position, according to a member of the NEC who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the subject.”Damagum has a good chance of holding his current position,” he stated. The governors are all in favor of him.

The NWC’s decision to grant state executives who are acting beyond their initial term a three-month extension is anticipated to be approved by the NEC. Furthermore, in an effort to appease the North-Central zone, which has been pushing for a chairman from their area, a Benuevian will be appointed as the party’s governors’ forum director general, and a North-Central zone replacement will be named as the PDP Deputy Chairman (North).

“Discussions on the National Chairman’s position, constitutional amendments, state congresses, the 2023 review committee, reconciliation committee, disciplinary committee, and various other topics are included in the agenda for the 98th NEC meeting.

“Damagum had earlier received a vote of confidence from the PDP’s NWC.The PDP NWC commended the acting National Chairman’s commitment and efforts in stabilizing and reviving the PDP as Nigeria’s main opposition party, according to a statement released by the party’s national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Wednesday.

“The Peoples Democratic Party’s National Working Committee has passed a Vote of Confidence in the party’s Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Iliya Damagum,” the statement said in part.”The NWC’s decision, which was made on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at the conclusion of its 584th meeting at the party’s national secretariat, is in appreciation of the Acting National Chairman’s efforts and dedication to stabilize and reposition the PDP as the principal opposition Party in Nigeria.

“National Vice Chairman (South East) Chief Ali Odefa moved a motion for a vote of confidence in the Acting National Chairman, which was seconded by the National Treasurer, Yayari Mohammed, and chaired by the Deputy National Chairman (South), Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja.

“The PDP NWC reiterates its commitment to making sure that our respected party is always stable, growing, and prosperous.However, the party’s North-Central zone decided unanimously during its caucus meeting on Wednesday that the zone should produce the incoming national chairman.

“The PDP leaders from the North-Central rose from a crucial meeting at the Grand Ibro Hotel Abuja on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, with a unanimous decision directing the party’s zonal Vice-Chairman (North Central), Theophilus Dakkas Shan, to transmit the position of the zone to the National Working Committee ahead of the NEC meeting tomorrow,” according to a source who attended the meeting but asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to comment on the matter.Senator Tunde Ogbeha made a motion to that effect, and it was overwhelmingly approved without opposition.

According to him, the North-Central zone of the party has perfected the plan to designate Ayu’s successor for the required inauguration procedures at the NEC meeting on Thursday.

In a related development, Ayu has withdrawn his lawsuit contesting his expulsion from the party, making way for Gabriel Suswam, the former governor of Benue State, to take over as the official chairman of the group.

Since 2023, when a high court in Makurdi, the state capital, prevented Ayu from posing as the party’s leader, it was thought that the lawsuit would prevent the PDP from having a legitimate national chairman.

The Court of Appeal in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, disclosed that Ayu had withdrawn the appeal against the respondents in a notice of withdrawal of appeal tagged CA/MK/88/2024 SUIT NO: MHC/85/2023 dated April 15.

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