By Emeka Nze Abuja
Th e Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has declared its readiness to ensure the return of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Abubakar Saraki, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and all estranged leaders of the party, to its fold. National Chairman of the party, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi , said this yesterday while inaugurating three committees namely; Convention, Disciplinary and Reconciliation. While former Foreign Aff airs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, heads the Disciplinary Committee, governors of Rivers and Gombe states, Nyesom Wike and Ibrahim Dankwambo respectively, are to serve as cochairmen of the reconciliation, with Governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, heading the Convention Committee.
Atiku and Saraki, alongside fi ve PDP governors, namely Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the 2015 poll. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, also led members from the lower chamber into the APC. Makarfi charged the Reconciliation Committee to extend their assignment to the founding members of the party, noting that it should not be restricted to only those who defected shortly before the 2015 polls. Th e party chairman told the committee members to reach out to the PDP founding fathers under the aegis of Group-34 members, and ensure they bring back members who held high positions. He also charged the committee to reach out to “former high-ranking government offi cials who came into offi ce under the aegis of the PDP.”
“Th is includes President, vice president, governors and former Senate president, speaker of House of Representatives and all other former top ranking members in the party. “Everybody that was in PDP at one time or the other should be reconciled with. It is not limited to pre-2015,” he said. He added that all party members who weathered the storm would not be abandoned, adding that “we cannot foreclose opportunity for those who stayed behind through the turbulent period of the party.”
On his part, former Minister of Foreign Aff airs, Tom Ikimi, disclosed that the former PDP members who defected to the APC were on their way back. Ikimi, who was a chairman of the APC Merger Committee, said APC’s 2015 victory was secured by the PDP defectors. He said: “APC is now dying and is almost dead. I am aware that they were able to win in 2015 because of members of PDP who defected there. “I have it on good authority that key members who left PDP and joined APC are now returning to the party. I like us to receive then with open hands and we will rebuild the party