…Holds successful meeting
By Emma Amaize
THE Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has zoned the national chairman and secretary positions of the regional body to Akwa Ibom and Delta States respectively, ending months of internal strife over its leadership, which led to the formation of a parallel body, Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress, PNDPC.
Saturday Vanguard learned that the six-man Zoning Committee set up by PANDEF on Thursday, submitted its report, while the assembly gave the 12-man Election Committee two weeks to come up with guidelines for the election, likely to hold next month.
A PANDEF leader, who confirmed the zoning to our reporter, said, “We have zoned the positions and I can tell you unofficially that we have zoned the chairman and secretary positions to Akwa Ibom and Delta states. The committee zoned positions to all states and the consensus is that all the ethnic nationalities must be involved in the process.”
“For instance in Delta state, which got three positions, each of the three senatorial districts will fill the respective positions,” he hinted.
Former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, is the national leader and convener of PANDEF, but at a time, there were complaints of domineering leadership, former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah and former military governor of old Rivers state , King Alfred Diete-Spiff, were made co-chairmen of the Central Working Committee, CWC.
With the zoning of chairman to Akwa Ibom state, Attah, who did not attend the last meeting, is seen as the man to beat. With the new arrangement, the leadership of the group will no longer be in the grip of Chief Clark.
Coordinating Secretary, PANDEF, Dr. Alfred Mulade, told Saturday Vanguard on phone: “We had a successful meeting despite the attempt to frustrate us; the constitution of PANDEF has been ratified. The only thing that the security agents succeeded in doing on Thursday was that they prevented us from using the hall designated for the meeting. But the meeting still held with over 300 delegates in attendance.”
His words: “Two Adhoc committees on zoning and election were set up at the meeting. PANDEF is on top of the situation; our constitution has been ratified after presentation by the chairman of the Review Committee, a former governor of Edo state, Prof O. Osunbor.”
A major high point of Thursday’s meeting was the ratification of four governance structures for the organization, the general assembly, national executive committee, advisory council and board of trustees.
Olorogun Vincent Oyibode, who attended the Port Harcourt meeting, also confirmed that the zoning committee submitted its report on Thursday, but said details were not available.
He added: “What happened on Thursday was unexpected, but PANDEF will not be deterred, as if knows it is on the right course and government cannot say that it does not know its objectives and mission.”
We gathered that Rivers state government might sponsor the meeting of the group, next month, to hold election, if the election committee worked out its guidelines as directed.