* He should respect existing structure, Kwara Chairman tells NWC
- No, it is not true, says Gov. Ahmed
Following fears and uncertainty that the alleged return of Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will change the party structure in the state, the Kwara State chapter of the party has pleaded with the National Working Committee (NWC) to allow it maintain subsisting structure despite Saraki’s arrival.
The State Executives led by its Chairman, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, made the plea on Wednesday in Abuja when they visited the party’s NWC.
The Board of Trustee (BoT) Chairman of PDP, Senator Walid Jubrin, had earlier said that some members of the party including Saraki, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and some governors will soon return to the party, following its reorganisation and resolve to stamp out impunity.
But being threatened that Saraki’s re-entry into Kwara PDP may change the existing structure, the State Chairman of the party has appealed to the NWC to restrain Saraki from allegedly changing the structure.
Oyedepo expressed his disposition to welcome Saraki and any other persons interested in joining the PDP, saying that the PDP needs every member that will add value but not those that will distort the present leadership structure.
He told journalists that after his meeting with the NWC, the state chapter was reassured that the era of imposition was over, saying that Kwara PDP is ready to make concessions to Saraki on matters that are yet to be settled including elective offices for next year’s general election.
He said: “Our party is not all that apprehensive. We are apprehensive of what the national leadership can do to welcome somebody who had gone away from the party and later given a royal welcome.
“It is not Sarak’s coming that creates any fear. It is what the national executive can do to encourage him to seize the party structure from established people in Kwara State.
“But we have been assured that the era of impunity is gone. That’s the much our national chairman told us.
“So, we are so glad that even if anybody comes into our party, we are really not against anybody coming into our party, but whoever comes, must respect the structure on the ground and cooperate with us appropriately.
“We will welcome Saraki with open hands if he comes to be part of the party and we don’t have any issue on the executive. We can’t say somebody should not join our party.
“In plain language, the executive that is on ground constitutionally was elected for four years and parties are always in anticipation for new people to join.
“You cannot because some people have joined; you now dismantle the structure of the party.
“So, if they come and want to be part of the process, they are welcomed, and the only people that can open the gate for them sometimes illegally, might be people that are high up.
“But we have been assured by those people that there will be nothing like that. So, anybody that will add value to our party is welcome.”
On whether the state leadership would be prepared to make some concessions should Saraki rejoin the PDP with his people, Oyedepo said, “We are ready to make concession on what we have not decided on?
“Now they met the executive on ground, and we cannot remove the chairman for them or the treasurer.
“If we have not done the primary for Governorship, House of Assembly, Senate, Presidential, for example, if Saraki says he wants to contest for the president, we cannot deny him (nomination) form.
“And if he wants to return to the Senate, we will give him form and other people too.
“So, we are ready to allow them on issues that have not been settled. But issues that are settled are for four years,” Oyedepo assured.
In a related development, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has debunked claims that he is planning to return to the PDP which he left with some other chieftains of the party prior the 2015 general election.
In a statement on Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, the governor said he, Saraki and other political leaders in Kwara State have no reason to return to the PDP.
Governor Ahmed clarified that the insinuations, which emerged from his recent interview with a newspaper, did not suggest that he was planning to leave the All Progressives Congress (APC). Rather, he was stating the conditions under which he and other political stakeholders in the state left the PDP.
Governor Ahmed emphasised that he, Saraki and other governors left the PDP due to impunity, disregard for the rule of law and lack of inclusiveness in the party at the time, following extensive consultations with stakeholders and supporters. He, therefore, declared that he, Saraki , other stakeholders and supporters are committed to the APC and currently have no intention to defect to the opposition PDP.
The governor also urged those commenting on the matter to read the said interview properly, rather than relying on social media headlines and insinuations to draw uninformed conclusions.
Ahmed also advised disgruntled elements within the legacy parties of the APC that are urging him and Saraki to hasten their exit from the party to educate themselves with that interview and be appropriately informed instead of making misguided comments on issues they have no knowledge of.
He affirmed his full support for the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari and commended him for his strides in governing the country and for the unprecedented federal projects in Kwara State, which he added, was aided by the intervention of Saraki.
The governor also restated that his administration is fully committed to sustaining its ongoing fulfilment of its electoral promises to Kwarans across all sectors, and refuses to be distracted by uninformed commentaries and political mischief from any quarters.