18 March 2013

Nigeria: PDP Meeting - Amaechi, Uduaghan Walk Out On Akpabio

Efforts at mending the friction in the effective working of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP's) machine in the South-South zone stalled on Sunday as Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi and his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, along with several other senior political office holders on the platform of the party staged a walk out.

They left the Alfred Diette Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, venue of the PDP 2013 South-South Special Zonal Executive Committee meeting while the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was making his speech in which he was alleged to have insulted party elders.

Akpabio, whose speech had come after that of Uduaghan, had alluded to Uduaghan's speech in which he called on the party in the region to go beyond provision of infrastructural facilities and give more attention to human capital development.

All these happened before the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, made his reconciliation speech, which was meant to be the heart of the meeting.

Tukur , members of the national working committee and other party big wigs in the zone had assembled to work out ways of re-energising the party and move the party forward in the south south. He added that "the meeting was going on as expected until the duo of Amaechi and Uduaghan decided to walk out on the party leadership."

Another source told our correspondent that the walkout started when Akpabio who is also the chairman of the PDP Governor's Forum was making his speech at the meeting on the need for the zone to be united in support of President Goodluck jonathan, and indeed the leadership of the party at the centre. The Governor also called on the party to always hold meetings with its stakeholders and members and ensure they are carried along especially in terms of reward.

Earlier in his speech, the Delta State Governor, Uduaghan, had called on the party to ensure that more is done for the people than just social infrastructure, knocking on the fact to ensure they were financially empowered.

He said;"Governors of the South-south are committed to ensuring that the PDP continues to maintain a stronghold in the South-south. There is no doubt that if the PDP is strong here in the South-South and not strong in other parts of the country, there will be a problem.

"So, I want to join others in urging you that whatever problems there are, either at the state, zonal or national levels, let us resolve them quickly so that we can move forward as a party.

"Mr Chairman, there is also an issue I want to raise; I know I am a governor but it also concerns me and others who hold positions in the party. I was with my predecessor one day when an elder came. I was telling my predecessor that if you tar all the roads, even if you air-condition the entire environment, and the stomachs of the people, of members of the party are empty, they will not appreciate what you have done. So I want to join them to tell us to ensure that their stomachs are filled so that they will appreciate what we have done."

Explaining the reason for the action of the governors and other dignitaries who walked out of the meeting, Rivers state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mrs Ibim Seminatari said; "You noticed that the governor of Delta state was leaving and Governor Amaechi had to be a proper host so he had to see off his colleague. I do not see any reason Governor Amaechi would feel insulted by the comments of Governor Akpabio because Governor Akpabio was responding to the comment of Governor Uduaghan.

"The governor of Rivers state is the host governor, Governor Uduaghan is his brother governor, Governor Akpabio is his brother governor and Governor Ududaghan, his brother governor was leaving, it was the responsibility of the host governor to see him off. I'm sure you noticed that Governor Akpabio came late to the event, it wasn't an issue that he came late, why is it an issue that the governor went out to see his guest off?"

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