GOMBE State’s Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo has his colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to shelve the idea of a lavish retreat in Dubai which they plan to hold later this month as the idea is insensitive.
Earlier this week, the PDP announced that its 15 governor-elects and governors plan to hold a week-long retreat in Dubai where they will strategise on what to do over the next four years when they get sworn-in on May 29. This lavish jamboree was planned to hold between May 16 and 22 and it has already attracted widespread condemnation for not taking place in Nigeria.
Governor Dankwambo, who is the acting chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, added his voice to those calling for a rethink, saying even though he supported it, the timing was wrong. Expressing reservations about the timing of the retreat and the negative comments that would follow it, Governor Dankwambo said that it was wrong to for PDP governors to go abroad at a time when the country was having security challenges.
Adekunle Adebanjo, the acting secretary of the PDP Governors’ Forum, confirmed that the secretariat of the forum was behind the planned retreat. He said the idea behind it was to gather the newly-elected governors in a single place where they would be able to interact with investors.
He said: “The idea is to make sure that the governors have access to investors at a strategic place. We want to put the governors together in one place and have the rare opportunity to meet with the foreign investors.”
“If we chose Nigeria, we may not get enough investors to come. We are likely going to have about 500 investors that would be talking to the governors, so it is a strategic event to make sure that we move forward as we cannot sit back and say the investors should come to Nigeria.”
However, Mr Adebanjo said there was no assurance of attendance yet from any of the governors, so the event might be postponed as Governor Dankwambo suggested. It is believed that the PDP governors may meet on May 21 to take a stand on the retreat.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP has denied being involved in the retreat, with its national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, saying that the party was not part of it. He added: “No, it is not our idea.
“We never discussed it. I will not be there and if I’m not there, you should know it is not the party affair.”
In its reaction, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) described the retreat as contemptuous of Nigerians who are waiting for them to provide potable water, smooth roads and to pay pension arrears to senior citizens. It accused the governors and their retinue of personal aides of diverting hundreds of millions of naira in hard currency just to massage their egos at the expense of those who voted them into office and who expected them to use the resources for the provision of basic amenities, especially schools that are conducive for teaching and learning.
It also said that it would show that the PDP governors and governors-elect had no confidence in Nigeria’s hospitality industry which employed millions of Nigerians. A BMO spokesman said: “This is a further exhibition of the PDP’s profligacy and wastefulness.
“Are there no worthy places for meeting in Nigeria? We, therefore, call on the PDP to look inward at all times and for once be patriotic. Information available indicates that the PDP crowd, prodded by their unsuccessful presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, has taken up a large chunk of the 599 luxurious ocean-view rooms and suites and an additional 19 beachside villas in the complex.”