In the aftermath of Thursday’s Supreme Court judgment, which affirmed the victory of President Bola Tinubu, leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party have commenced moves to restructure the party with plans to convene its 98th National Executive Committee meeting soon.
The last NEC meeting of the party was convened by the sacked Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, on September 8, 2022.
Sunday PUNCH gathered on Friday that the party leaders were insisting on the NEC meeting to chart the way forward and reposition the PDP.
It was learnt that the meeting could not be held before now because of the petition filed by the PDP presidential candidate in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, to challenge Tinubu’s victory at the Presidential Election Petition Court and later at the Supreme Court.
Atiku lost his case at the PEPC on September 6 and the appeal he filed at the Supreme Court on Thursday, putting an end to his presidential ambition for now.
A high-ranking member of the PDP NWC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the 98th NEC meeting would be held after due consultation.
The source told Sunday PUNCH that party leaders were currently consulting to agree on a date for the meeting and some issues that would be discussed.
He said, “You know you cannot just convey a NEC meeting like that. You have to consult and discuss many issues with stakeholders. These issues are numerous. They have to agree on them; they also have to agree on a suitable date before the party’s National Working Committee will announce the date.”
On when the meeting would likely take place, the source stated, “Anytime soon after consultation with the relevant organs of the party.”
The source, who also revealed that three major issues would headline the agenda of the NEC meeting, said, “These include setting up of a reconciliation committee, review or assessment committee that will study what transpired in the 2023 election and other issues.”
Corroborating this, a member of the PDP NEC and Deputy National Youth Leader, Timothy Osadolor, said the time was now ripe for the party to convey the NEC meeting, adding the date for the parley would be fixed in the next couple of days.
On the future of the acting National Chairman of the party, Osadolor said, “So far, the acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, has done a good job. When we gather to discuss our issues as a party, this (national chairmanship position) will be discussed too, but it is too early to go into details.”
On the fate of Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and ex-governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), who together formed the G-5 group that rebelled against the leadership of the party during the elections, Osadolor said the group was now history in the books of the party.
On his part, the former National Secretary of the PDP, Umar Tsauri, said the party would recognise Tinubu as Nigeria’s “illegal president”.
On the need for the NWC to convey the NEC meeting, Tsauri, who is also a member of the NEC, noted, “The current party leadership is holding forth, so I don’t know what they are up to. We have to give them leverage, but most of the members are saying yes there is a need to meet to iron out a lot of issues as is expected in a democracy.”
Responding to a question on the possibility of some of the members joining the All Progressives Congress, the former PDP National Secretary replied, “Whoever wants to defect let him defect. Most of those in the APC now, majority of them were in the PDP. No matter what, those who are serious will remain in the PDP. Those who want to leave should do so; we are sure before 2026 most of them will come back.”
Speaking on what’s next for the PDP candidate, one of the spokespersons for Atiku’s 2023 Campaign Council, Daniel Bwala, said he needed to rest after a rigorous election and litigation.
Bwala argued that it was not the right time to ask about Atiku’s next plan, adding, “Only Atiku can tell you what is next, but we will support whatever decision he makes.”
On those asking Atiku to focus on mentorship and not to contest again, he said, “That is their opinion; the constitution of Nigeria has given them such rights.”