PDP woos Obasanjo, Atiku, G-34 members

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The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has outlined plans to reach out to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, members of the G-34 who founded party many others who have left the PDP with a view to encouraging them to return as it bids to rebuild itself to recapture power in 2019.

Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, gave this hint while inaugurating the National Convention Planning, National Reconciliation and Disciplinary Committees in Abuja on Tuesday.

The National Convention Planning Committee is headed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, Governor Nyesom Wike and Ibrahim Dankwabo of Rivers and Gombe states respectively, as co-chairmen while former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi is chairman of the Disciplinary Committee.

Makarfi counselled the Reconciliation Committee to reach out to all former members who had gone to other parties and even non-members who could be convinced to join the PDP provided that they did not give any conditionality.

According to him, “Reconciliation is to reconcile and bring back to the fold those who held top political offices on PDP platform, be they president, vice president, speaker, deputy speaker, governor or deputy governor and G-34.

“You can even reconcile with those who have never been in the PDP and bring them back to the PDP.”

“You must not close doors for anybody coming into the PDP,

, and we must create level playing ground,” he told the committee.

He announced that there were many important former leaders that left the party who have now indicated their willingness to return.

He said he would not give names in order to keep opponents guessing.

The former Kaduna state governor also warned the Reconciliation Committee that there must be no victimization of anyone in the course of its assignment even though no acts of indiscipline should be tolerated.

He said the party would look hard on any individual who was quick to resort to courts without first exhausting the conflict resolution machinery within the party.

Makarfi assured that the NCC would seek to build a consensus before the national convention in order to have a smooth exercise.

He mocked the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) for its inability to hold a convention, noting that the only meeting its leadership held recently, some

of its governors came out to threaten that they may dump the party.

The party boss also said that the APC would be unable to gather the kind of attendance recorded at the inauguration of the committees, noting that politicians attended the event because of the love they have for the PDP.

He advised that the PDP must be humble and communicate in the appropriate language to Nigerians to regain their trust and confidence.

In his response, chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, Senator Okowa, assured that the committee would organize successful non-elective national convention on Saturday.

He commended the NCC for being able to constitute the various committees, observing that the presence of many notable politicians at the event showed that PDP was as strong as it had been.

While noting that the PDP had challenges which he said “God has a purpose for”, he added that the challenges had strengthened the opposition party.

He said the forthcoming national convention would the first proof of the strength of the party, saying: “We will organize a convention that will shake Abuja and Nigeria because it is the first step to retaking power. We will put in our best.”

Also speaking, the chairman of the Disciplinary, Ikimi promised that the committee would work closely with reconciliation committee to ensure former members who left returned.

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