By Ogalah Ibrahim
The peace enjoyed in the Katsina chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is gradually being eroded with Alhaji Salisu Uli and Lawal Magaji laying claim to the party’s chairmanship position the same time.
Alhaji Salisu Uli, who was confirmed as the acting chairman of Katsina PDP barely three weeks ago by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, asked party stalwarts and the general public in the state to disregard the news making the round that a substantive chairman has been appointed for the party.
Earlier in the day, the report had it that a new chairman, in the person of Magaji Lawal, had been appointed for the Katsina PDP by the same NWC.
Reacting to the development when contacted by Vanguard, Uli, the acting chairman of the party said: “PDP does not appoint or select Chairman; we elect Chairman for the party.
“And on the 27 July 2020, Salisu Majigiri and myself were elected as the chairman and deputy chairman, among other executives of the party.
“We were 59 elected as at that time, comprising of 14 members of the state working committee and 25 members of the state executive committee.
“So, if for instance, the Chairman goes on leave, travelled, or is contesting in an election, the normal thing to do according to the constitution of our party is to ask me his deputy to take charge in acting capacity, which he has done with the approval of the National Working Committee.
“Besides, the Chairman has not resigned from the party and has not done anything wrong. So, he cannot just be removed from his position.
“So, if anybody is coming to say that he is the chairman, then you know there’s a flaw somewhere because procedure had not been followed, procedure has been breached.
“Wherever this is coming from it is against all known ethics of democracy.
“So, I remain the bonafide acting chairman of Katsina PDP and we will not recognise any factional chairman since I am duly recognised by the National Working Committee of our party, having issued me a letter to that effect.
“Besides, I am yet to receive any notification on that. This is also a sign that something is fishy somewhere.”
However, reasons cited for Uli’s removal in the letter allegedly signed by Umar Bature, the PDP National Organising Secretary, stated that Magaji Lawal’s appointment as the party’s substantive chairman in the state was in line with Section 47(6)
It stipulates that: “Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the Party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from to serve out the tenure of the officer.”
When asked about the section of the constitution used as backup for the appointment of Lawal Magaji by the Lado PDP faction, Uli said “that’s when there’s a vacancy.
“The chairman is there. He’s not dead neither has he been removed from the office.
“He has not left the party. So, he’s still the chairman of the party. The fact that he’s contesting for election does not mean that he cannot hold the party position.
“The PDP State Party Chairman, whom I am directed to act as chairman in his stead, is only a 2023 candidate of the National Assembly not a member.
“It is only when he is elected that he becomes a member of the National Assembly. So, he is still the chairman and he has directed me to act on his behalf and this has been confirmed by the National Working Committee of our party.”
Backing his argument with the PDP Constitution, Uli said: “On the prohibition of holding dual offices, Section 48(1) of the PDP Constitution is clear on this. “It states that Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, any member holding any office in the Party at any level shall be deemed to have resigned that office, if he or she assumes any of the following offices:
(a) President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(b) Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(c) Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(d) Federal Minister;
(e) Secretary to the Government of the Federation;
(f) Special Adviser or Special Assistant to the President or Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(g) Membership of the National and State Assemblies; et al.
Uli, however, advised PDP stalwarts in the state to remain calm and law abiding, expressing confidence that justice will be done to the matter.
Also, speaking on the crisis rocking the Katsina PDP, a member of the working committee who spoke to Vanguard on the development on condition of anonymity, said he also heard of the appointment of the new party chairman, Lawal Magaji.
We heard they swore in a new chairman today, but we the members of the working committee were not invited.
“We only heard that they are swearing him in. So, there’s nothing we can do. We are still waiting for directives from the PDP national headquarters.”
Vanguard learnt from the anonymous source that “there is an ongoing serious division in the Katsina PDP driven by sentiment and quest for supremacy between the camps of Lado and Majigiri.
“There’s the camp of the governorship candidate, Yakubu Lado and that of the party chairman, Salisu Majigiri. So we are still waiting for them to reconcile.
“It’s better for them to reconcile before the election that’s forthcoming.”
Asked if the crisis can be resolved, the source said “yes it can. All that needs to be done is to call every stakeholder from the two warring parties to come together sit down and iron their differences.
“Once they do that, the people causing the mischief will have no place to hide as they won’t be able to do anything again.”
On why the national Organising Secretary would issue another letter appointing a substantive chairman in less than one month, the source said something must be wrong somewhere and there’s need for that to be investigated.
Vanguard learnt that a one month suspension issued earlier to Lado by the PDP for allegedly working against the ambition of the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was partially lifted.
It was on the condition that he, Lado, will identify totally with Atiku’d ambition and also recognise and work with the Katsina leadership of the party under the acting chairmanship of Salisu Lawal Uli and other members of the PDP working committee.