There is confusion within the Board of Trustees of the Peoples’ Democratic Party as to whether former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba are full members of the board with all rights and privileges.
It was gathered that upon their re-admittance into the party , their rights and privileges as BoT members were suspended until 2014 as punishment for their dumping the party in 2007.
A source revealed that it was based upon this condition that the board agreed to have them back in the party.
“For Atiku and Na’Abba, they have to wait till 2014. Etiebet’s case is different because at the time he returned, he had a waiver in writing. The whole thing is to encourage discipline and maintain standards.
“The two of them abandoned the party and absconded from their positions as members of the BoT. Now, how do you treat a case of absence without leave?
“They abandoned ship and joined another party. They cannot just jump back and expect that there will be no consequences for their action. We cannot as a party set a bad precedent when we are trying to re-engineer the party. 2014 is not far away, they can wait.”
When the secretary of the BoT, Senator Walid Jubril was contacted for clarifications on the exact status of the two members, his reply was non-committal.
He said, “We will compile the details (of the BoT meeting) and give you later. We are compiling the details, which we will make public very soon. It is not yet late, you have to be patient.”
The spokesman for the former Vice-President, Mallam Garba Shehu said that his principal did not have such information available to him, and as such, a categorical statement on this issue would amount to speculation.
On his own part, Na’Abba declined to comment on the issue, choosing to instead commend the emergence of Chief Tony Anenih as the chairman of the BoT.
In a text message, the former Speaker said, “Chief Anthony Anenih is one of the founding fathers of the party and a disciplinarian. I am hopeful that he will once again bring character to the party thereby bringing what is known of him in his private realm to the public domain.”
However, a source close to both Atiku and Na’Abba said it was clear that members of the board had targeted them as they still were not comfortable with them.
He said, “Take the case of Na’abba, for example, he returned to the party before the 2007 elections based on the work of the Alex Ekwueme reconciliation committee to which Prof. Jerry Gana was secretary. The committee pleaded with them to come back without pre-conditions, now sees what is happening.”
Section 12.76 of the Constitution of the PDP, which listed qualifications for membership of the BoT specifies members of the party, who are statutory members.
Specifically Section 12.76 (a) reads, “All past and serving Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who held or hold the respective posts as members of the party and who are still members of the party;
“(b) Past and serving National Chairmen, Deputy National Chairmen and National Secretaries of the, who are still members of the party;
“(c) All past and serving Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of Representatives who are still members of the party.”