Permutations by political pundits that the newly-registered Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (ADPA) had the backing of the Ahmed Makarfi-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was established last week when a prominent PDP and APDA chieftain, Raymond Dokpesi, was rewarded with the position of Deputy Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee at the just concluded Special Non-Elective Convention of the party.
Document obtained by BDSUNDAY revealed that while Dokpesi paraded himself as Interim Chairman, APDA Board of Trustees (BoT), he was still an active member of PDP, thereby making him a dual card-carrying member of both political parties.
This is in contravention of Chapter Three, Part I of the PDP Constitution, 2012 (as amended), which dwells on Code of Conduct for members.
Specifically, Section 10(6) of the Constitution provides that: “No member of the Party shall align with other parties or groups to undermine the Party or any of its elected governments”.
In the same vein, Section 58(1) of the Constitution which provides for Offences and Sanctions also states that “The party shall have power to discipline any member who engages in anti-Party activities”.
At the unveiling of the new party APDA, in Abuja in June, prior to the Supreme Court judgment which declared Makarfi as the authentic chairman of the party, Dokpesi had entered the hall and took a back seat at the venue of the event without uttering a word. Makarfi’s loyalists had established the platform as an alternative to the then Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the party.
BDSUNDAY gathered that despite the Supreme Court verdict on July 12, which declared Makarfi as the authentic chairman of the party, Dokpesi transmitted a correspondence to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), scheduling APDA National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for August 8, 2017.
However, replying to the letter on July 31, the Commission insisted that it was illegal for Dokpesi to address himself as Interim Chairman of APDA Board of Trustees.
It pointed out that “There is no documentary evidence submitted to the Commission on the composition of membership of a Board of Trustees for APDA.
“By the provision of Section 78(1) of the Constitution of APDA, only the National Chairman of request by two-thirds of NEC members can summon a NEC meeting.
The letter with reference number INEC/DEPM//APDA/420/Vol.1/28 was signed by John Trem, acting secretary to the electoral body and sent to APDA national Chairman, Mohammed Shittu Kabiru.
In a new twist Tuesday, loyalists of Dokpesi announced the removal of the Shittu-led National Working Committee, while the latter sacked the former at a separate meeting.
The Dokpesi-led stakeholders insisted that the tenures of the NWC members had expired since June 14 this year in line with the constitution of the party, adding that the meeting complied with the party’s Constitution as well as provisions of the Electoral Act as amended.
The new National Officers of the Party as put together during the stakeholders’ meeting are Mainasara Ilo as National Chairman; Dan Nwanyanwu as Chairman Board of Trustees; Amobi Nwosu as National Secretary; Muhammed Tanko as Deputy National Chairman (North); Fijabi Adebo as Deputy National Chairman (South); and Ide Felix Equabor as National Publicity Secretary.
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting, the new National Chairman, Ilo pointed out that the former NWC ought to have organised a proper meeting to either extend their tenures or elected new officers in line with Constitution of the Party when their tenures expired but failed to do so for the reasons best know to them.
But in a statement, the Shittu-led executive announced the suspension of Raymond Dokpesi for violating the constitutional provision of the party by holding illegal National Executive Council meeting sacking the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
The opposition party also accused Dokpesi of constituting an illegal Board of Trustees.
National Secretary of the party, Emeka Okengwu, disclosed this in a statement Tuesday.
Okengwu also announced the suspension of Dan Nwanyanwu and Mainasara Ilo.
Incidentally, Dokpesi was at the inauguration of the PDP convention planning committee in Abuja, where the chairman, National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, named him as deputy chairman of the publicity sub-committee.
Who then is the authentic chairman of the new party?
Our correspondent put a phone call to INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, last Friday and he referred him to the Commission’s website.
A check on the commission’s website revealed that it still recognises Mohammed Shittu Kabiru as APDA national Chairman.
Also, a source in the newly inaugurated National Disciplinary Committee of the PDP, whose duty is to mete out appropriate punishment for erring members, disclosed that no petition has been submitted to the panel in respect of ‘anti-party activities’ against Dokepsi.
The seven-man committee is chaired by former Minister for External Affairs, Tom Ikimi.
On its part, the National Caretaker Committee has commended Dokpesi for providing facilities used in the convention free of charge.
Spokesperson of the caretaker committee and Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee, Dayo Adeyeye, stated this at a press conference at the weekend.
“Dokpesi has been very committed to the work of the sub-committee. As a matter of fact, all the meetings that we had held so far took place at his station, AIT.
“Apart from that, he has made very important contributions to the work of this sub-committee. He helped to defray the cost of the publicity of the convention. He offered free live transmission by AIT of the National Convention”.
For loyalists of Makarfi, the adage “One good turn deserves another” best depicts the narrative. And the best way to reward the party stalwart is to ignore his alleged anti-party activities.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja