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Nwodo resigns, to face disciplinary panel Featured

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One of the fallouts of the presidential primaries of Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja last Thursday resonated in Abuja on Tuesday as Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, resigned as the party’s national chairman.

In spite of his resignation, he is to face a disciplinary committee, which might recommend his expulsion from the party. 

Nwodo resigned at the emergency National Executive Council meeting of progressed towards his removal.

The PDP NEC had called an emergency meeting, which was to decide Nwodo’s fate following what party stalwarts described as his gross misconduct.

President Goodluck Jonathan, his deputy, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, 13 PDP governors, the President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, were in attendance.

Before the deliberation started, the NEC had appointed the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Mohammed, as the acting national chairman.

Indication that Nwodo would be removed was given by Mohammed, when he referred to him as the former chairman of the PDP in his opening address. Nwodo did not attend the emergency NEC meeting.

Mohammed said the only agenda of the meeting was the discussion on the fate of the Enugu State-born politician over his behaviour at Thursday’s presidential primaries of the PDP in Abuja.

Our correspondent learnt that before Nwodo’s eventual exit, three motions were moved by some members of the party on how to deal with him.

The first motion was said to have been moved by the Benue State Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Agbo Emmanuel, calling for his expulsion.

His motion was seconded by an ex-officio member of the party from North-Central, , Mr. Nana Kadiri.

Also, it was gathered that a second motion was moved by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, asking that Mohammed be empowered to assume the office of the national chairman in acting capacity pending when the case against Nwodo would be resolved.

The other motion was said to have been moved by another member of NEC, calling for disciplinary action against Nwodo for his ‘misconduct’ at the primaries.

Nwodo had during the primaries snatched the microphone from Mohammed in a desperate bid to preside over the event, despite an interim order by an Enugu State High Court barring him from parading himself as the PDP national chairman.

He had arrived late to the convention just when Mohammed was declaring the event open.

It was learnt that before the meeting commenced, Mohammed had presented a memo to NEC members on why Nwodo should face a disciplinary action.

Details of Mohammed’s memo highlighted Nwodo’s attempt to “forcefully preside over the convention claiming that the court injunction had been lifted when he was fully aware that that was not the case.”

Besides, he informed NEC members that the South-East chapter of the party had also called on Nwodo to resign or be removed following his unending disagreement with his state governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime.

“NEC is accordingly invited to take appropriate disciplinary action on the national chairman in keeping with Article 21.12 of the party constitution,” he said.

The section reads, “Notwithstanding any provision in this constitution, the National Executive Committee shall have power to expel any member of the party for acts of indiscipline or misconduct which brings the party into disrepute.”

But just as the memo was being discussed, a member of NEC, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said Nwodo’s adviser, Mr. Pat Agbachie, brought his (Nwodo) resignation letter.

It was at this stage that Chief Onyeabor Obi, prayed members to accept the letter. He was said to have stated that the letter should not mean that Nwodo would no longer be made to face a disciplinary panel since he is still a member of the party.

The meeting unanimously accepted his letter, but compelled the National Working Committee to set up a disciplinary committee to try him.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prof. Rufai Alkali, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said that NEC received, debated and accepted Nwodo’s letter .

“NEC unanimously empowered the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Bello Mohammed, to assume duties as Acting National Chairman pending the election of a substantive Chairman,” he said.

He added that NEC also received “reports of the unfortunate acts of indiscipline exhibited by the former National Chairman at the just concluded presidential primaries held on 13th of January 2011.

“NEC also referred the matter to the National Disciplinary Committee which shall handle the issues and give recommendations to NEC for further necessary actions.” 

Alkali said that NEC also mandated the NWC under the leadership of Mohammed to formally endorse and submit the list of successful PDP candidates in the just concluded primaries held nationwide to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

On the tenure of Mohammed, he said that it would be decided soon.

Asked if the party was abandoning its zoning formula in respect of Nwodo’s replacement, he answered in the negative, stressing that the current arrangement was ad hoc in nature.

He also declined to state whether the names of the members of the disciplinary committee that will try Nwodo, adding that the party’s constitution will take care of the issue.

Section 21.3 of the party constitution deals with the issue of disciplinary committee, which it said should consist of seven “members with proven integrity.”

The governors in attendance were, Sullivan Chime, Muritala Nyako, Isa Yuguda, Taofeek Arapaja, Gbenga Daniel, Ikedi Ohakim, Godswill Akpabio, Patric Yakowa, Adamu Muazu, Kwakwanso, Y. Mahmud Shinkafi, Ibrahim Idris, Aliyu Babangida, Emmanuel Uduaghan and Liyel Imoke,

Other NEC members that attended the meeting included Tony Anenih, Ken Nnamani, Ojo Maduekwe, Stella Omu, Andy Uba, Jerry Gana, Ibrahim Mantu, Ike Ekweremadu, Bayero Nafada and Teslim Folarin.

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