By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THERE was confusion, yesterday, at the national secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the former Political Adviser to former President Goodkuck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, stormed the secretariat with his supporters and made himself the national chairman of the party.
Gulak, who arrived the national headquarters of PDP at 1:42pm in company of other aides of former President Jonathan, went straight to the third floor of the building, and asked that the office of the national chairman be opened for him.
He immediately moved to the National Working Committee, NWC, Conference hall to address journalists, using the chair of the national chairman.
Addressing journalists, Gulak noted that a high court had thrown out an application by the PDP and the acting national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, which sought to stop a previous ruling demanding that Secondus vacates office within 14 days.
He also said there would be a change to the proposed date of the national convention which was slated for March this year by the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee, NWC, against the backdrop that the NWC ought to have first tabled the matter before the National Executive Committee, NEC, before announcing it.
The former Presidential aide was accompanied by Dr Doyin Okupe, Mr Shehu Birma, Ayakeme Whiskey, Chuma Nnaji, Mohammed Kachalla, Jonathan Asake, Moshood Salvador, Denis Emmanuel, Eddy Olafeso and Yusuf Hassan, among others.
You’re fifth columnist working for APC, NWC tells Gulak
But in a swift reaction, the PDP NWC described the action as shocking, a taboo that was unacceptable and described Gulak as a fifth columnist working for the All Progressives Congress, APC, to cause confusion in the party.
It wondered that Gulak could come through the back door to become the national chairman of the party, asking him to go to his zone, consult, lobby for his name to be submitted from the North East zone.
PDP National Legal Adviser, Mr Victor Kwon, dismissed Gulak’s claims but urged him to go and lobby if he wanted to be chairman.
“He cannot proclaim himself national chairman and court did not tell the party to name him national chairman,’’ he said.
Flanked by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Jalo, Kwon who noted that the court ruling cited by Gulak, yesterday, was not mentioned at all, said the party did not receive any hearing notice that the application came up today.
He also said PDP had filed an appeal on December 16 and an application for injunction, pending the appeal, which were served on Gulak.
The National Legal Adviser admitted that the High Court judgement that favored Gulak called for the party to appoint a person from North East within 14 days, adding that the decision did not mandate PDP to appoint Gulak as chairman.
He said: “PDP is law-abiding and respect orders of the party and respect the right of North-East to complete their term.”
Kwon noted that consultations were ongoing to arrive at a person that would be agreeable to persons from the North-East.
According to him, intervening events have made it difficult for the party to get a new chairman from the zone since last year.
“Nobody is making a gain for the elongation,’’ he added.
Kwon further declared that the party had yet to receive any hearing notice that the application came up today.
“So, if the application wasn’t heard today, it goes to show that the stay of execution hasn’t been struck out.
‘’Even the judgment asking Secondus to vacate his seat didn’t say the party should appoint Gulak as chairman,” he said.
He further revealed that a meeting of the PDP NEC would soon be convened to produce a substantive chairman from the North-East ahead of the national convention slated for March.
PDP ex-officios kick, disown Gulak
Meanwhile, 24 ex-officio members of PDP National Executive Committee, NEC, yesterday, distanced themselves from a ploy by Gulak to take over the chairmanship of the party.
Reacting to the inclusion of the chairman of the committee of the ex-officios, Udo Ekpenyong, on the list of an 11-member committee set up by Gulak after he proclaimed himself national chairman of the party, they said they could not be party to any attempt to cause crisis in the party.
Ekpenyong, who coincidentally flew into Abuja barely two hours after Gulak mentioned his name as member of the committee, lampooned him for attempting to divide the party, adding: “I saw a statement by the former political adviser to the president, Mr Gulak, publishing names which he claimed he has inaugurated 11-man committee to look into the affairs of the party.
“I am just seeing this for the first time. Please, I am not a party to this statement. I have never been a party to anything having to do with impunity and against the law.
“I have been in politics for almost 18 years now and I helped to build PDP and I cannot destroy it now.
“There are constitutional ways of doing things. This press release shows personal interests. I am not involved in any way as chairman of the Ex-officios. I cannot be a party to this, I cannot destroy the house that the good people of this country collectively built.”