Group accuses Gana of bias in PDP chairmanship tussle

A group, the PDP-Renaissance Initiative (PRI) has raised an alarm over what it saw as partiality playing out in the ongoing race for the National Chairmanship of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the group, the trend, if unchecked, could force the party back to the trenches and endanger its chances in the 2019 polls.

Appraising the buildup to the poll, the group urged members of the party’s Board of Trustees to borrow a leaf from the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee that has so far exhibited maturity, neutrality and decorum in the emerging contest.

Specifically, the group urged PDP to force contesting aspirants to immediately resign their membership of party organs, while Board of Trustees (BOT) members should eschew the display of open support for particular candidates.

The position of the group is contained in a statement released Monday by its Publicity Director, Dr. Felicia Osoba, the PRI, pointed out that unlike its present posturing, the BOT should be seen to be neutral, unbiased and impartial in an intra-party contest.

PRI named in particular a member of the BOT, Professor Jerry Gana, openly chaperoning and campaigning for a chairmanship contestant, Professor Tunde Adeniran, round the country.

Recalling the recent illegal pruning of contestants to two by a section of the trustees, PRI said that the issues it was raising had cast an unhealthy on the integrity of the entire PDP BOT.

According to the group, in the case of a deadlocked or disputed election, the BOT would be a natural mediator in the crisis.

“But a situation where members are openly canvassing for the candidacy of some aspirants, the mediatory role of the BOT becomes suspect, tainted and unreliable,” the group pointed out.

Also, it asked that current members of the BOT contesting the chairmanship step down from their membership of the BOT or withdraw from the race, saying, this was standard practice in politics worldwide.

PRI said that although the party constitution did not envisage the current situation, Article 15 was aptly titled, “PROHIBITION FROM HOLDING DUAL OFFICES.”

“No one should be a Judge in his own cause,” the statement said. “A member of a neutral body like the Board of Trustees cannot be contesting an election supposedly supervised directly or indirectly by the organ. Current trustees contesting party positions without resigning want to eat their cake and still have it. Their bird-in-the-hand approach runs against every grain of morality and propriety.”

Citing sections like 137 and 156 of the Nigerian Constitution that stipulate that except in the cases of incumbents, those seeking office must resign from their currently-held public offices, PRI pointed out that it was standard practice for organs in politics of governance to demand the resignation of members eyeing election-based party or public offices.

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