By Senator Buruji Kashamu
My attention has been drawn to the resolutions and decisions reached at an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, held at Abuja on the 29th of August, 2016, and wish to state as follows:
1. That it was a laudable initiative by our respected elders and leaders to meet once again over the leadership crisis rocking our party, especially after the botched 17th August, 2016 National Convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
2. However, the enthusiasm and high hopes that greeted the prospects of the meeting were dashed by the decisions and pronouncements made at the end of the meeting.
3. The highlights of the decisions and pronouncements were the passing of a vote of confidence in the National Caretaker Committee and the relocation of the National Convention to Abuja.
4. To say the least, those pronouncements neither portrayed a genuine spirit of reconciliation nor were they expected from our leaders who are the conscience and the respected leading lights of the party.
5. It is not for nothing that the BoT is made up of the elderly and the experienced leaders who are supposed to be the rallying point for the party whenever there are issues or challenges such as the extant issue.
6. As can be seen from the various reactions that have trailed the latest pronouncements, it is clear that the posture of the BoT will not only leave the issues unresolved but would rather further compound them.
7. The BoT has no business passing a vote of confidence in either of the two contending parties when a lot of contentious legal issues are yet to be resolved.
8. By doing so, it means the BoT has taken sides on the matter which to any discerning person tantamount to passing a vote of no confidence in the other group, and further portrays the party as one which has no interest in due process or the rule of law.
9. Taking any steps towards holding a National Convention without transparently resolving the issues in such a way that it gets the buy-in of the feuding parties would amount to disobedience of valid and subsisting court orders and judgments, both by the courts in Abuja and Port Harcourt. It will amount to a continuation of impunity and an endorsement of illegality.
10. My humble view is that what our elders in the BoT ought to have done was to preside over a transparent and unbiased reconciliation process whereby they would have summoned Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi and get the two respectable leaders to talk to each other in a room and come up with their own plans for the resolution of the crisis.
11. The BoT could then ask the two leaders to jointly draw up plans and programmes towards the hosting of an all-embracing National Convention.
12. Anyone who does not cooperate with such a transparent and unbiased reconciliation process can then be viewed as recalcitrant and not having the interest of the party at heart.
13. I make bold to say that merely taking the National Convention to Abuja without getting the buy-in and active participation of the contending parties would be a mere window-dressing that would merely prolong the raging crisis in the party.
14. The outcome of such a convention will not be different from the botched Port Harcourt conventions where the process was manipulated towards achieving a predetermined end.
15. Truth be told; even if the convention is held in Abuja without finding an equitable and fair political solution to all the legal issues in court, the legal tussle will continue till 2019, and that will be to the irreversible detriment of our party.
Therefore, I wish to once again appeal to the conscience of our leaders, elders and party members to sit back and reflect on our roles, choices and positions knowing full well that we are making history with whatever role we play good or bad, honourable or dishonourable – in the extant leadership crisis.
Senator Buruji Kashamu, Ogun East Senatorial District, Ogun State.