The Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, yesterday installed himself as the national chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in dramatic fashion.
Gulak stormed the party headquarters at Wadata Plaza with 10 other supporters and proclaimed himself the national chairman.
Prince Uche Secondus, who is the deputy national chairman, has been acting as the chairman since then.
Secondus and other key officers of the party were absent at the time Gulak made his proclamation.
Gulak and his team had wanted to occupy the national chairman’s office but they found it locked.
They, therefore, made use of the National Working Committee hall from where Gulak held a press conference.
He had secured a judgment from an Abuja High Court which sacked Secondus as acting national chairman on grounds that his “acting role” was for three months only and it had expired.
The court had ordered Secondus to vacate the seat within 14 days. He appealed the judgement but his application for a stay of execution was denied by the Court of Appeal.
Gulak said yesterday that Secondus’s tenure was over and he called on NEC members to work with him in his effort to rebuild the party.
“We are here today in accordance with the Court judgment of December 16, 2015, and the Court ruling of today (yesterday) striking out the motion for stay of execution filed by the defendant.
“The Court order of December 16, 2015, was that within 14 days, my humble self or any other person from the North-east zone be appointed to replace Dr. Adamu Mu’azu who resigned his position as national chairman of our party on the 20th day of May, 2015.
“At the expiration of 14 days on December 29, 2015, the defendants failed, refused or neglected to obey the Court order by appointing me or any other person from the North-east zone.
“By the operations of the law and the Court order, I now assume duty as the national chairman of our great party, especially as the Court has today (yesterday) struck out the motion for stay of execution,” Gulak said.
Gulak said the NWC also wanted him to lead the party, arguing that if they did not want him to emerge as the party’s chairman, they would have appointed another person at the expiration of the 14 days ordered by the court.
Gulak said it was not ideal to allow the party to continue without leadership, adding that his failure to assume duty as the national chairman would leave the party’s organs, especially the National Working Committee (NWC), the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Caucus improperly constituted.
He said based on the provision of the party’s constitution, the organs must be chaired by the national chairman.
He went ahead to raise an 11-man committee headed by Mr. Abdullahi Ihioma, a chartered accountant from Kogi State to look into the state of affairs in the party.
The committee has two weeks to submit its report.
Other members of the committee, who accompanied Gulak to the party’s national secretariat are; Dr. Sylva Opusunji, Hon Chuma Nnaji, Engr. Mohammed Kachalla, Hon. Jonathan Asake, Udo Ekpeyong, Hon. Moshood Salvador, Hon. Ilya Yunana, Alhaji Ahmed Gusau, Denis Along Niyi and Hon. Abdulfatah Adeyenyu.
The emergence of Gulak as PDP chairman is meant to complete the tenure of Mu’azu, who resigned while his tenure was yet to expire.
But Mr. Udo Ekpeyong, who was listed as one of the committee members told newsmen that he was not consulted before his name was announced.
Ekpeyong therefore said he would not take part in the committee assignment.
Also, national legal adviser of the PDP, Victor Kwon, told newsmen that the PDP did not receive any information on the stay of execution.
Kwon, who addressed journalists at the Legacy House, asked Gulak to stop imposing and parading himself as the PDP chairman, until various organs of the party, especially the National Executive Committee (NEC) meets and makes pronouncement on the appointment of an acceptable person from the North-east.
Similarly, the deputy national legal adviser of the party, Barr Bashir Maidugu said: “The court did not give that position to Gulak or to anybody. I’m from the Northeast, and if I say I’m interested in that position, definitely I’m qualified.
“The stay of execution filed by Uche Secondus is not necessary because we would soon have our NEC meeting to have chairman of Northeast extraction.”
Asked if it was right for Gulak to proclaim himself as chairman, he said: “That is not really the position but I sympathise with his situation because he is from the Northeast, and is facing the same frustration like I’m witnessing.
“But the party will be sanitized very soon. Gulak is not an official of the PDP; he is a member of the PDP.”
He said there was nothing strange about Gulak addressing the press at the national secretariat. “I can also go there and address the press and you cannot call that an impasse…Gulak is not a party official, he is relieving his frustrations and is quite understood,” Maidugu said.
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