PDP staff demand reopening of sealed national secretariat

  • Say delay in court judgement beneficial to Sheriff

Staff of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday embarked on a protest to demand the reopening of the national secretariat of the party which had been sealed since the beginning of its leadership crisis last year.

They came together outside the premises of the secretariat at Wadata Plaza, Wuse Zone 5 Abuja, also denouncing the delay in judicial pronouncements expected to lay the crisis to rest.

Secretary of the PDP Staff Welfare Forum. Dan Ochubaiye addressed the media at the event, announcing the decisions the staff arrived at after an earlier meeting on Tuesday under the auspices of PDP Staff Welfare Forum.

He said the forum regretted their continuous stay at home and decried the shutdown of the national secretariat by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), “a situation which suggests that certain elements want to ensure that the PDP national secretariat is perpetually under lock and key.”

The forum observed that there was no court order backing the shutdown of the office by the police and therefore demanded the immediate and unconditional reopening to allow staff gain entry into their offices for routine party activities.

“It is only fair and just for the staff to be allowed into their legitimate offices while the police is duty bound to provide adequate security for them as provided by the Nigerian constitution,” the forum stated.

While appreciating the judiciary, the forum again appealed to them to speedily dispense justice as concerns pending PDP cases before the court “in order to save our democracy from gradually degenerating into a one party state.”

The forum frowned at the incessant petitions by a party in the case as to according to them, subvert justice.

“The staff of the secretariat believed that the delay is only beneficial to the petitioner, who is being sponsored by the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) in order to weaken and silence the only opposition party,” the forum alleged.

It added: “The staff of the PDP national secretariat hold the judiciary in high esteem and believe in it to remain unbiased and dispense justice that will maintain the sanctity and independence of the rule of law and the court.”

The forum also regretted the poor situation of the welfare of its members “since the unfortunate outing of the PDP in the last general elections,” calling on all the organs and stakeholders in the party to “urgently support the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee in all ramifications.”

A detachment of armed police personnel had on May 22 sealed off all the entrance gates to the secretariat, preventing human and vehicular movements into premises.

The police had explained the action as a way to prevent breakdown of law and order following the party’s May 21, 2016 national convention held in Port Harcourt which sacked its acting National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and instituted a national caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.