We need safety guarantee to resume – PDP staff

PDP urges Benue people to

Staff National Secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday they would not return to work even after the reopening of the secretariat until they were assured of their safety.

The workers, in a communiqué issued at the end a meeting at the party’s temporary secretariat in Wuse II, Abuja, said the certainty of end to the leadership crisis in the party had remained hazy.

Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff had on Feb. 23 forcefully reopened the national secretariat after the Court of Appeal In Port Harcourt affirmed him as authentic national chairman of PDP.

In the communiqué read by the Director of Administration, PDP, Alh. Gurama Bawa, the workers said that they would not resume until all ongoing litigation on the issues were settled.

They said that one of the major casualties of the party’s power tussle were the staff, many of whom had spent 17 years of their working lives serving the party.

“The staff members have witnessed their salaries peter away, receiving just about 32.50 per cent of their 2015 salaries.

“Their housing, transport and other allowances have all fallen into arrears, with many members of staff thrown out of their accommodations by landlords.

“Members of staff are desirous of resuming work after having been made victims of problems they never caused, but are concerned about their safety,’’ he said.

The workers recalled that after the court judgment in 2016 which validated the party’s national convention held in Port Harcourt, “members of staff were requested to resume duty in May/June, 2016.

“The staff in obedience did so but only in the few days they reported for work, they were harassed and intimidated by demonstrators and protesters.

“We were violently chased out of the offices, many had to run away leaving their personal belongings which we understand have now been vandalized by unknown persons,’’ they said.

They said apart from appeal already filed on the latest judgment, “the staff members are also concerned that the BoT has written a protest letter to the Inspector-General of Police against the reopening of the secretariat’’.

According to the communiqué, the letter which is to avoid breakdown of law and order, is a situation which again highlights the danger that staff will be exposed to if they resume duty as directed.

They said that one of the things that would guarantee safety of lives in the secretariat was the full implementation of the Feb. 17 Court of Appeal judgment.

They, however, said that the judgment appeared to be implemented or observed in the breach as Sheriff surprisingly resumed at the secretariat without the National Working Committee (NWC).

They said that the judgment ordered the maintenance of “status quo ante as May 21, 2016’’, meaning that the 12 National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party should resume duty immediately with Sheriff.

“But, only three out of the 12 members of NWC namely Prof. Adewale Oladipo, the National Secretary; Alhaji Bala Buhari, National Treasurer and Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju, National Auditor are the only ones working with Sheriff.’’

“The situation is more frightening to us as staff in the light of the fact that those working with the Acting National Chairman are those handpicked through processes that are alien to the PDP Constitution.

“For example, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh, presently officiates as Deputy National Chairman when he was a candidate in the May 14, 2016 PDP Zonal Congress where he contested for the office of the National Vice Chairman, South-South but lost to Chief Emma Ogidi.

“The same untoward recruitment holds for Bernard Mikko from South-South geo-political zone who now operates as Acting National Publicity Secretary as against Chief Olisa Metuh who is from South-East.

“Other similar anomalous recruitments are in other offices. Staff members are afraid that again seeds are being sowed for violent contestations that would endanger their lives and properties,’’ the communiqué said.

The staff commended efforts of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP Governors Forum to work out a political solution to the crisis and prayed for the success of the efforts.

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