Special Adviser on Political Matters to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, on Wednesday declared that he had assumed the National Chairmanship position of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), sequel to the December 16, 2015 court order, and the court ruling on Wednesday, which struck out the motion for stay of execution filed by defendants/applicants.
The PDP national leadership however reacted by saying that Gulak could not impose himself on the party.
The party made it clear that there were processes to follow to assume leadership or become a member of the National Working Committee (NWC).
While Gulak and his supporters were busy addressing journalists and other party members at the PDP National Secretariat, the NWC members were similarly holding a meeting at the Legacy House, PDP presidential campaign office at Wuse II Abuja, for the weekly NWC meeting.
Gulak arrived the National Secretariat at about 1.45 p.m. and discovered that the office of the National Chairman and other NWC offices were locked.
He, however, moved to the NWC hall to address members of his entourage, among them, former Senior Special Assistant to Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe.
Gulak explained that he decided to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Dr. Adamu Mu’azu on May 20, 2015, because “we cannot continue to leave our party headless.”
According to him, “failure to assume duty as the National Chairman will leave our party organs, especially the NWC, the NEC and the National caucus improperly constituted as every meeting of these organs must, in accordance with our constitution, be chaired by the National Chairman.”
He said that the struggle was not about himself but about the party, stressing that his assumption of office was “to prepare the ground for the NEC of the party to meet and take the most appropriate decisions for our party.”
His words, “It should not be seen as a contention against anybody or group of persons. I crave the indulgence of other NWC members to partner positively with me in our efforts to pick up the pieces and rebuild our party.”
Nigeria, he stated, needs the PDP more than ever before, either as a ruling party or viable opposition.
He said, “Our economy is in for the worse. It is, therefore, incumbent on all Nigerians to see that democracy survives”.
However, the NWC, which reacted swiftly to the development said there was no time the court mandated the party to appoint Gulak as National Chairman.
The National Legal Adviser of PDP, Victor Kwon, in a joint press conference with Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, said Gulak could not declare himself chairman, because it was not the judgement of the court.
According to him, what the court order was for the party to appoint someone from the North East to complete Alhaji Mu’azu’s tenure.
He said that the party did not receive any hearing notice from the court on the application it filed before it, even as he that said the application it filed against the December 2015 judgement was still pending at Court of Appeal.
Kwon added as a law abiding party, PDP would respect the orders of the court and the right of the North East to complete its tenure.
He said that, “From has what happened, today, it means that Gulak is a fifth columnist recruited to destroy the party. Consultations are going on to arrive at an agreeable for person from the North East.
“The NEC (of PDP) will be convened soon and new National Chairman appointed. So, I advise Gulak, if he is interested to be National Chairman to lobby,” he added.
He blamed the delay in appointing someone from the North-East to serve out Mu’azu’s tenure on series of events that followed after the 2015 general elections.
Kwon pointed out that Section 47 (6) of the PDP Constitution did not prescribe time limit for an acting capacity.
Jalo, who is from North East, said political leaders from the region had been meeting to choose Mu’azu’s successor.
He advised Gulak to follow the normal process and said he could not be National Chairman through the back door.