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Secret report bombshell: Cash-strapped PDP plans to sell party membership, ministerial slots…

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A high-powered committee set up to revamp the fortunes of the Peoples Democratic Party has submitted a report that may throw the fractious party into a new crisis. Among others, the committee advised the party to sell its membership and also restrict senior government positions and other perks to the highest bidder.

 

Reliable sources within the party told SUNDAY PUNCH that the plan had been accepted by the leadership of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction, which also set up the committee.

 

The Makarfi faction is the bigger of the two factions fighting for the soul of the former ruling party. It has the support of an overwhelming number of former governors, ministers and power brokers.

 

However, it suffered a major setback at the courts recently when the other faction led by former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, was declared as the authentic executive of the party. The Makarfi faction has however, challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court.

 

According to SUNDAY PUNCH findings, the committee, which has 201 members and is chaired by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, is moving around the country, distributing copies of the report to prominent members of the party.

 

Among those who are said to have received it are former President Goodluck Jonathan; a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; and a former National Security Adviser; Gen. Mohammed Gusau (retd.) Some other members of the BoT and the national caretaker committee have also collected copies of the document, sources say.

 

The report, which was seen by our correspondent during the week, groups the party’s membership into six categories in descending order of members’ financial contributions. Those in the highest categories are to have special benefits based on their financial contributions to the party.

 

The categories are: Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver, Standard and Students in Tertiary Institutions.

 

According to the report, male members of the party who desire to be Platinum members are to pay N500,000 a year or N50,000 monthly instalments while women are to pay half the amount.

 

The benefits accruing to those in this category include “opportunities to attend the expanded national caucus meetings of the party, be invited to social and political events of the party with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the national chairman of the party.”

 

Members in this category are also to contribute and participate in the formulation of key policy decisions for the next general election.

 

“Consideration shall be given to platinum card-carrying members for appointment into boards of Federal Government-owned parastatals, agencies, ministerial appointments as well as other benefits that accrue to the party,” the report says.

 

Other perks, the report says, “are inclusive, but not limited to procurements, contracts and projects (awards) at all levels of the party governance structure.”

 

For those in the diamond category, they are expected to pay N250,000 (men) or N200,000 (women) annually to the party.

 

The document also states that diamond card-carrying members will enjoy most of the privileges associated with those in the Platinum group.

 

The report adds that those in diamond category “will (however) not be eligible for consideration into the membership of Board of Trustees as well as contest for the position of President and national party offices as the national chairman, deputy national chairman and national secretary.”

 

Gold card members will be expected to pay N200,000 (men) or N100,000 (women) minimum a year. They are expected to enjoy the benefits accruing to those in the diamond card category.

 

Holders of Silver cards in the party, according to the document, are expected to contribute N100,000 (men) or N50,000 (women) per annum to the party.

 

But they will not enjoy contracts from the government or be allowed to contest for national offices or be considered for appointment as ministers.

 

However, Silver members may be considered for commissionership appointments as well as other benefits that may accrue to the party such as “procurements, contracts and projects” at the state levels of the party’s governance structures.

 

Members who cannot afford to part with the sums quoted above will be asked to cough out N3,000 (men) and N2,000 (women) annually. However, they will only be allowed to contest for public posts at the local government and ward levels. Those in this category are called “Standard membership” card holders.

 

Student membership is planned to be free, but the document says it will be limited to “students in tertiary institutions approved by the Federal Ministry of Education.”

 

In his reaction, the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, said the cash-for-membership plan would not work, adding that the party was not for sale. Sheriff added that the plan of the Makarfi-led caretaker committee was to handover the party to the rich.

 

Speaking through the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Mikko, the former Governor of Borno State said, “That idea won’t work. We are talking and planning to handover the party to the people, yet some people are secretly planning an alliance to hijack it.

 

“The PDP is not for sale. We won’t allow it to happen. The party is for ordinary Nigerians who are committed to its ideals and not for a few, who are desperate to hijack it.”

 

Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, also condemned the new membership plan.

 

“The committee should stop misrepresenting us. It is going about dishing out the report to eminent members of our party without authorisation,” he said.

 

But the spokesperson for the Makarfi faction, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, disagreed with the critics of the new plan, saying that it would be wrong for anyone to say that the committee was not serving the interest of the party.

 

Interestingly, the party’s thinkers would still like to have a situation where government funds political parties. In the report, the Gana-led committee said the Federal Government should continue to fund political parties.

 

It said, “It has been established that political parties all over the world are funded by governments of their various countries. This was also in practice in Nigeria before a PDP-controlled National Assembly stopped it.

 

“Public funding of political parties made it morally right for INEC to audit political parties’ assets since most of the funds came from the government. It is hereby recommended that the PDP should collaborate with other political parties to amend the Electoral Law to restore regular funding of political parties by the government.”

 

The committee further recommended that the party should invest five per cent of its annual income in commercial companies. In order to make more money, the committee said the party must establish companies that would bid for contracts as well.

 

The report said, “It is recommended that five percent of the party’s income be invested in reputable fund managers and blue-chip companies such as pension funds, treasury bills, bonds, telecommunications companies, oil companies etc. NEC should determine such companies from time to time.

 

“It is further recommended, if approved by the appropriate organs of the party, to establish PDP incorporated organisations to handle party investments and also bid for contracts.”

 

23 PDP state chairmen back Sheriff

 

Meanwhile, 23 out of the 36 state chapter chairmen have thrown their weight behind the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

 

They also said they were backing recommendations made by the Governor Seriake Dickson’s Peace and Reconciliation Committee for a unity national convention to hold not later than August this year.

 

The state chairman stated this after their meeting in Abuja on Friday night.

 

In their communique, which was made available to journalists on Saturday, they expressed concerns that if the ongoing leadership crisis in the party was not resolved quickly, it would affect the fortune of the party, especially as the Independent National Electoral Commission had released the 2019 election timetable.

 

The communique of the meeting was read by the Federal Capital Territory PDP chairman, Mr. Yunusa Suleiman.

 

He said he and his colleagues were supporting Sheriff because of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which pronounced him as the party’s substantive national chairman.

 

Suleiman added that the support of the chairmen for Sheriff was without prejudice to the ongoing appeal lodged by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party, at the Supreme Court.

 

He said whatever decision reached by the apex court would be adhered to by them as well.

 

The chairman insisted that the political solution being proffered by former president Goodluck Jonathan was the best way out of the crisis.

 

The communique added, “The PDP state chairmen are very concerned about the crises engulfing the party as it is degenerating into the several defections from the party across the nation.

 

“Bearing in mind the upcoming Presidential elections timeline recently announced by the INEC, as key political actors of the polity, we cannot sit back and allow our party to degenerate to this level and we have thus decided to come forward and proffer solutions to this crisis.

 

“In line with the only template presented by the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of our party headed by Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, we wish to state that we support the recommendation that a political solution is the best and only solution to our crisis without prejudice to the ongoing judicial processes,

 

“We are also in support of the committees’ recommendation of an all inclusive unity convention to be held as soon as possible.

 

“We, as legitimately elected chairmen wish to state on the grounds of clarity that we shall never be in support or be a part of any plan to tinker with the option of leaving the PDP and forming another party.”

 

The communique was signed by 23 participants at the meeting.

 

But in a swift move, Makarfi described the state chairmen as fake, and dissidents.

 

Makarfi, who spoke through a member of his committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye on Saturday, added that the action of the chairmen was a ruse.

 

He said, “We wish to state without ambiguity that the action of these elements is a ruse, lies from the pit of hell and a mere continuation of impunity of Senator Sheriff and his dissident backers within the party.

 

“For the records, we wish to make it clear that many of those men are not elected state chairmen of our party, even when Senator Sheriff was the recognised chairman of the party.”

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Ovie Omo-Agege Promises Deltans A Better Tomorrow

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Against all odds and every intimidation, we will continue to visit voters in every nooks and crannies of the state, share our message of ‘A Better Tomorrow’ with them, and gain their support and partnership.

 

As told by His Excellency, Ovie Omo-Agege, Frontline Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC to all the Delta State Civil Servant, that we are more than willing and capable, of building a robust industry that would Favour every one in the state.

 

According to Chief Mrs Faith Majemite, that Omo-Agege have the tract record and capacity. Agege will not make excuses why we didn’t succeed, rather, those challenges that exist, would be the reason for our testimony that we succeeded, regardless, says Faith .

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More Troubles For Umo Eno As Court Rejects Stay-of-execution Request

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by Pastor Umo Eno seeking a stay-of-execution of the Order which had nullified his nomination as the PDP governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State.

The court which nullified Eno’s nomination, ordered that he should be replaced with Rt. Hon. Michael Enyong as the authentic PDP candidate.

In throwing out the request for stay of execution, the Court ruled that Umo Eno was never a party to the case filed by Enyong, and so his request could not be entertained by the COurt. The court therefore described Umo Eno as ‘’meddlesome interloper’’ for seeking to file an application in a matter he was never a party of.

Recall that in a judgement delivered on January 20, Justice Fadima Aminu of the FHC, Abuja, had ordered the PDP to submit Enyong’s name to INEC as its candidate. In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1295/2022 filed in August, Enyong had submitted that he won the party’s primary held on May 25. The defendant in the case was PDP. Enyong did not join Eno as a party in his case. How clever!

This means that it is only the PDP that has the locus to file an appeal or stay of execution application against the judgement which sacked Eno. So far, the PDP’s National Legal Adviser (NLA) is not willing to participate in the matter especially since he was never carried along in all the Umo Eno legal matters. Rather, the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Party had always engaged Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem (the former NLA) as its legal counsel, totally sidelining the current National Legal Adviser. Recall also that the PDP National Legal Adviser had a few weeks ago issued a public statement announcing that it is only the NLA that has the authority to brief and engage lawyers holding briefs for the party. The public statement had also warned party members to desist from engaging lawyers without his knowledge.

Meantime, I understand that Enyong’s lawyers had served INEC with the Court order and his name would soon be published by the electoral umpire as PDP’s authentic governorship candidate.

My Take:

1. The chances of Umo Eno returning to his former status as the governorship candidate is very, very slim. It probably will not happen.

2. Gov. Udom Emmanuel and the PDP have yet to come to terms with the fact that Umo Eno’s name has been deleted as the candidate. They are inconsolable in anger, grief and pain. ‘’They are experiencing a great sense of separation, akin to the overwhelming feeling of loss which one experiences when he is bereaved’’, says a political analyst and business man, Elder Aniefiok Isatt.

3. This development is also the greatest setback and the most devastating blow the PDP has ever suffered in the state since 1999. This case might just be some kind of ‘’Nunc Dimittis’’ for the PDP in the State.

4. Privatively, PDP stalwarts are quick to blame the governor for the woes that has befallen the party this season. They believe that by imposing a very unpopular person as the candidate, the governor had bruised and hurt the majority of the members.

5. The question many are pondering is: Will Udom Emmanuel take to Enyong and accept him as the PDP candidate, thus conceding that Umo Eno was never God’s revelation, contrary to what he told the people; or will the governor leave Enyong to his own devices and embrace a different person?

 

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Our Client Wanted To Say ‘Pupsy’, Not Her Private Parts — Lawyer Defends Embattled Nigerian Polytechnic Female Graduate

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Barrister Ikechukwu Nwaopara, a legal practitioner representing the interest of Sharon Ogechi Okoroafor, the graduating student of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, who went viral on social media for saying that she graduated with the help of God and her private parts, has said his client was misinterpreted.

The lawyer, who made the appeal to the institution’s management in a statement made available to newsmen, claimed that their client had no intention of disparaging the institution’s reputation, standards or integrity.

The statement reads: “We are solicitors to OKOROAFOR OGECHI SHARON (our client under our Pro Bono (Free Legal Services) on whose behalf we write this memo to you.

“We are aware that she will be facing the school disciplinary panel this morning, and we wish to use this medium to express our confidence that the panel will carry out their duties in compliance with the principles of Fair hearing, good conscience and natural justice, devoid of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

“We have met and discussed with our Client and evidence before us shows that she has no intention to defame the character, standard and integrity of the institution. In her words what happened in the said viral video was a slip of tongue as a result of her uncontrollable ecstasy over her graduation. Her intended words were “God and Pupsy” in appreciation of the Almighty God and her dad.

“It is clear, therefore, that she had no intention whatsoever to use such a “foul word” in the said viral video to cajole or blackmail the institution, as no lecturer or name of the institution was mentioned or referred to in the said viral video.

“Our lawyers are already on ground at the institution now to follow up the proceedings at the panel against any form of intimidation or harassment. The integrity and standard of the said institution is not in doubt especially since my senior brother, Rev Dr Arimanwa took over as the Rector. Indeed, justice is for all parties.”

We had reported that after Sharon’s video went viral on the internet, the management of the institution announced that it would investigate her action as it was capable of dragging the reputation of the school to the mud.

 

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