– As some party members suspended him for alleged financial impropriety, high handedness
By Abdulkareem Haruna
Zanna Gaddama, the chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was last week announced to be suspended for one month by a group of the party’s state working committee over alleged infractions. But the embattled chairman insisted that his alleged suspension was like a castle of sand built in the imagination of his detractors, hence it cannot stand.
Mr Gaddama, whose office had been plagued by a crisis of legitimacy since 2018 until a supreme court judgment validated it , said he has the backing of the PDP constitution which those who wanted him out had defiled by announcing his suspension without meeting the basic requirements for enforcement.
The retired permanent secretary-turned politician was away in Bauchi attending the party’s zonal meeting when the coup to remove him was plotted.
Even from the diaspora, he sounded unruffled as he boasted that “I am currently in Bauchi attending the PDP zonal meeting as the chairman of the Borno state chapter and as far as my informed knowledge of the party’s constitution is concerned they have no right to call for the so-called meeting in the first instance,” he said.
“It is only the chairman of the party that has the right to call for a meeting of the SWC and if he fails to do that at the time it is needed, then they can formally write the chairman on the need to call a meeting. If I fail to comply then they can go ahead and secure two-thirds of the SWC to call a meeting. But the question is have they informed me? No. Have they secured a two-thirds (⅔)? No. For God’s sake, how can six out of 14 members of the SWC pretend they have formed a quorum?
“I am the chairman and I will continue to be until the constitution finds me short of the criteria for continuing to be in office,” Mr Gaddama said.
Mr Gaddama assured that with eight out of the 14 SWC on his side, he would be storming Maiduguri by the weekend to address a formal press conference, clear the air, assert his legitimacy and continue as the party’s chairman in the state.
The embattled chairman did live up to his words, but little did he knew that there would be a major gang-up against him at the entrance to the PDP secretariat.
An army of youths, whom he described as “rented thugs” defied the heavy presence of the police, the personnel of DSS and the Civil defence, to barricade the gate leading to the secretariat as they insisted he had no right to access the office because he was suspended.
Amidst disgraceful chants of scathing songs, the youths, in their hundreds, prevented Mr Gaddama and some of his SWC members from going into the office. The security personnel enforced their authority and ensured the party chairman and his crew entered the premises. But the youth went ahead and violently vandalized furniture and related fitting in the office.
Journalists who were invited to cover the press briefing had to withdraw as the chairman advised that “we have to wait a bit for some of our officials to arrive, then we would meet and make a decision on whether to do it here or leave this place for them and do the press conference elsewhere.
Despite that, the angry “thugs” stood their ground and insisted on seeing the embattled party chieftain leave to further smite his character.
About four hours later, Mr Gaddama placed a call on the journalists that they could reconvene for the Press conference at the secretariat; but on reaching the venue, the angry youth warned that should any journalist go into the office, they would not hesitate to unleash their angst upon them. Even the security operatives could not intervene. So the gentlemen of the press had to allow wisdom to direct their affairs, by leaving for good.
Zannah Gaddama, however, insisted that it would amount to giving in, and a victory for his enemies, if he failed to do his official work at the PDP secretariat.
So, he went ahead to hold a meeting, during which he too made far-reaching decisions on the six SWC members that led the earlier meeting that announced his purported suspension.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Gaddama and his SWC members issued a press release which was signed and shared by the party’s publicity secretary, Amos Adziba.
The press release reads: “Ladies and gentlemen of the press today being the 3rd day of July 2022 the people’s democratic party held an extraordinary meeting under the distinguished chairmanship of Alh Zanna gaddama Mustapha Borno state chairman and have resolved to clear the air of a purported and unlawful gathering by some group of suspended party officials in an attempt to cause confusion, disunity and disaffection and possible breakdown of law and order recall that they were some social media.
“Publications that the state chairman Alh. Zanna Gaddama Mustapha was suspended by a few members of the executives who summoned an unauthorized meeting, without recourse to relevant sections of the party’s constitution.
“As we approach elections the party cannot afford to allow people and some fifth columnist to undermine the success of the party in the next coming general elections any right-thinking member of any political party will ensure unity at this crucial time.
“The meeting today which was summoned by the state secretary on the directives of the state chairman and had in attendance the State Chairman, State Secretary, members of the State Working and executive Committee, the 27 local Government chairman, Party flag bearers, stakeholders supporters and other members of the party among others in accordance to section 35 and 36 of our party’s constitution.
“After an extensive discussion at the meeting, six out of the party executive officials has gross violations, misconduct, and a lot of illegalities of the party constitution by breaching the provision of section 36 (1) (a) and (b) of the party constitution which gives power to the only state secretary of the party as a chief executive officer to call for a meeting and also Section 35 (1) (a) & (d) that gives power to the chairman to summon and preside over a meeting, apart from this two category of people, nobody is entitled to summon for a meeting and suspend a party official.
“In addition, the party observed that the six executives of the party had formed a forum to committee a serious offence as stated by the provision of Section 58 (1) (a, b, c, d, f,g,h, I,j,k of the party constitution.
“On this, not the party resolved as follows:
1.Alh Bunu AG Satomi is hereby suspended as the state Deputy Chairman, Mr Peter Sabo to replace and oversee the office affairs of his office pending investigation.
2. The State legal Adviser Barr Abdu Jidda is hereby suspended and replaced by Barr Ali Azur effective from now and to oversee the office affairs of the legal officer pending the investigation.
3. Hon Kaka Shettima to replace and oversee the office affairs of Babakura Zanna pending Investigation.
4. Abba Gana Kalumi to replace Alh Massa Goni Kukawa and oversee the office affairs pending Investigation.
5. Mohammed Bukar Ballah to replace Hon Muhammad Sanusi and to oversee the office affairs pending Investigation.
6. Mall. Umar Abubakar Shani to replace Umar Bello and oversee the office affairs pending investigations
The party further made it clear that the public should disregard any information that does not emanate from the State publicity secretary or his assistant as the party will not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings against those spreading news that will tarnish the image or may cause disharmony within the party
We urge party supporters to remain calm and be law-abiding citizens as this decision was not taken based on ignorance or prejudice against the constitution of the party as we are bent on ensuring the party remains in good shape.