Women leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have frowned at any attempt to disenfranchise any member of the party, saying the 2015 presidential contest should be thrown open.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, the women under the aegis of PDP Female Career Politicians said every qualified member should be allowed to try his or her popularity. According to them, it would be immodest to attempt to disqualify anybody.
The leader of the group, Florence Ita-Giwa, stated “It is our opinion that it is immodest for someone to ask another human being not to contest elections or to attempt disenfranchisement another human being. If anything, why not let anyone interested contest and then lose.
“It is pertinent though that while we lay claims to neutrality in this intra-party dispute, our loyalty to and confidence in the persons and office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains unshaken.
“As a large Party, we recognize that political dissension is inevitable from time to time, however such disagreement should never be allowed to fester to the point where positions are taken that threaten the existence of the party.
“We believe that the PDP is big enough to accommodate all shades of opinion without bursting at the seams.
“It is against this backdrop that we appeal to the contending forces currently pulling the party apart, to sheath their swords, step back from the precepts and take a deep breath as they reflect on the disastrous implications of their actions”.
Other members of the group which include past and present legislators present were: Mercy Almona Isei, Remi Adiukwu Bakare, Kemi Adewunmi, Patience Ogodo, Aduke Minna, Abiodun Olujimi, Senator Khairat. Gwadebe, Grace Bent, Ekaette, Theodora Giwa-Amu, Folake Oluloyo-Osinowo, and Amina Khadi.
Also in attendance were Iquo Inyang, Oyibo Ahaneku-Nwaneri, Azumi Bebeji, Lynda Ikpeazu, Doris Uboh-Ogunkoya, Ukachi Amaechi, Elizabeth Ogbaga, Janet Adeyemi, Oluchi Okoye, Lola Edewor, Fatima Raji Rasaki, Mrs. Olanrewaju Otiti, Fendo Mohammed, and May Inije.
The women leaders also cautioned the national chairman, Bamanga Tukur to mind his words and avoid inflammatory statements.
“When conflicts like this happen, people tend to make inflammatory statements. We have tremendous respect for our Chairman but sometimes people say things when emotions runs deep but that does not mean it is conclusive.
“Not that we are apologizing for anybody but we intend to consult with our colleagues as well as our chairman and everybody. This is because we do not want anybody to do anything that will be counter-productive to the existence of this Party and peace in Nigeria, we cannot afford that.
“We are all still part of the Party, including those that walked out from the arena. If they wanted would have said they are leaving the PDP, but they have not said that, which means that the corporate existence of the Party is still intact, we just have to make effort at sustaining it,” Ita-Giwa said.
They also disclosed their intention to meet with the warring factions with a view to bringing all members together once again, under the same umbrella.
The women regretted that the crisis seems to be taking ethnic coloration, wondering if it was a coincidence that six of the governors in the ‘New PDP’ are from the northern part of the country.
Ita-Giwa said, “Not that we are saying it is ethnic-based, but if you look at those that walked out, it was six States from the north and one from the south. This is strange, which was why we felt it is taking on ethnic coloration.
“Also, women were excluded from that decision; no woman was consulted before that decision was taken. Notwithstanding, we are not passing judgment but we don’t want to run a northern Party and a southern Party.
“All we want is for everybody to come back together for us to have peace in this country. We are not taking sides and we are surely going to talk to all of them to douse the flame as best as we can, however we do not want to be seen as succumbing to intimidation”.