The tenure of Senator Ahmed Makarfi led National Caretaker Committee of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was extended by twelve months on Wednesday after security operatives stopped the party from proceeding with its convention in Port-Harcourt. The convention was to produce a new leadership for the party. The decision made by the Police and Department of State Services (DSS) to heed the court order by a Federal High Court in Abuja, stopping the convention and discarding the judgement of a Port-Harcourt based Federal High Court that directed the police and DSS to monitor the convention, immediately raised strong condemnation from PDP leaders.
Meanwhile, a raucous was caused after Governor Ayodele Fayose was locked inside the old Presidential lodge of Rivers State Government House by what he claimed was an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). Indications of something untoward first emerged sometime around 2:30 a.m. yesterday, when heavily armed policemen, in conjunction with plain clothed security men, suspected to be operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, fenced off the venue of the convention. Contradictory to the police action taken, the Police Commissioner, Mr. Francis Odesanya, told newsmen that he merely complied with a court order to provide security around the venue, stressing that his men did not seal up the place, they were providing security apparently.
Police patrol vehicles were used to block all roads leading to the stadium. Motorists were politely told to turn away from all roads leading to the stadium. With the situation still in a flux, the National Executive Committee (NEC) arising from the past congresses conducted, was inaugurated in an emergency meeting inside the premises of Government House, Port-Harcourt.
The convention inside the premises of the PDP state secretariat was opened by the national chairman, Makarfi, who poured out unusually hard words on the federal government, with the assertion that democracy in the country was under threat. “Democracy is under threat and we should be careful. We have enough problems in this country and we should be careful,” he said, asserting that the party had resolved to go ahead with the convention. Senator Walid Jibrin in his remarks, affirmed that the PDP would outlive all the machinations set against it by its adversaries as he said the party resolved to hold the convention in adherence to the wishes of party members.
Senator Ekweremadu, the party’s highest elected public officials in his remarks, said time was coming when Nigerians would demand that the PDP be given the reins of power again. Ekweremadu subsequently moved a four part motion that led to the resolutions that were adopted by the convention, to wit: Postponement of election of officers to various national offices of the party; extension of the tenure of the National Caretaker Committee till another National Convention which is to be convened within the next 12 months and approval of the expansion of membership of the National Caretaker.