PDP crisis: Makarfi kicks as Sheriff plans convention
Ali Modu Sheriff plans to quit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chair’s seat after convening a national convention to elect new leaders.
He yesterday pleaded with the Ahmed Makarfi Committee, the governors and other stakeholders to allow peace in the PDP. They should wait for the convention to change the leadership, Sheriff said.
The former Borno State governor spoke in Abuja while receiving the party’s South West zonal leaders who visited him. He, however, did not state the convention’s date and venue.
But the camp of the party’s Caretaker Committee, led by Senator Makarfi, appeared unmoved by Sheriff’s gesture.
Makarfi camp spokesman Dayo Adeyeye retorted: “What convention and what is the time and date for the convention?”
Adeyeye, who spoke with our correspondent on telephone, urged party members to be law-abiding and not to engage in any action that could further deepen the crisis that has troubled the main opposition party.
Deputy National Chairman Dr. Cairo Ojougboh (Sheriff’s faction), said the date for the convention would be fixed after consultations with all stakeholders.
“That is why we are calling everybody to come on board so that we can collectively put our house in order before the convention. We want to organise a convention that will be acceptable to all. We can’t achieve that without due consultation,” Ojougboh said.
One of the prominent backers of the Caretaker Committee, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, canvassed a political solution to the party’s leadership crisis.
Addressing the delegation, Sheriff said: “I am not here to remain as national chairman. I will be leaving as soon as we hold our national convention to elect a new set of leaders for the PDP.
“I will make sure that we do a credible convention and that we elect leaders that are accepted by the grassroots; that is our mission. I will do that by the grace of God.”
“If you like and you want to change something, wait for the convention and vote for the person you like. Nigerians and the world will see that you are validly elected by the PDP,” he said.
The party chair urged the governors not to divide the party with their actions and utterances because they are “very important stakeholders” in the PDP.
“The governors are very important, they are leaders of this party by their own right. They don’t have to divide the party”, he admonished.
He begged specifically Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose to respect the party, warning that prosperity would judge the governor by his utterances.
Stressing that he would not join the governor in a verbal war, the party chairman urged him to devote his time and energy to rebuilding the PDP.
He said his group and the Makarfi camp had earlier agreed to abide by the ruling of the Court of Appeal before the judgment was delivered, but expressed regrets that the Makarfi camp had reneged on the agreement.
Said Sheriff: “Makarfi and I resolved that whatever is the outcome of the Appeal Court judgment, we would not destroy our party; that the judgment from the Court of Appeal would be the final judgment for everybody.
“We spoke to all Nigerians about this; it is on record. But all the same, everybody has the right to do what he wants to do. But it is good to place on record what we had as agreement.
“Now the Court of Appeal has made a pronouncement that the status quo ante be maintained, being that myself and members of the legally constituted party executive that did not resign should still remain in office”.
Sheriff said he had transmitted all legal documents to the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) for the reopening of the party’s national secretariat which he believed would be opened tomorrow.
Speaking for the delegation, the zonal chairman, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, urged Sheriff not to use his position to victimise his opponents.
He reminded the party chair that his legal victory was for all party members, particularly at the grassroots, assuring him that the zone would continue to support him.
In a statement he circulated to the media yesterday, Adeniran said the reactions trailing Sheriff’s legal victory called for rethinking and reawakening among lovers of democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
The former Education Minister, in the statement, which he personally signed, warned against recrimination and vitriolic attacks on any member of the party.
The statement said: “This is an appeal to all PDP members nationwide that whatever our positions on the contending issues and views on the appeal court decision, this is not the time for mutual recrimination or vitriolic attacks on any of our members, grandstanding and self – serving rhetorics.
“So much damage has been done to the PDP, democratic development and the rule of law that we should no longer fuel the combustible political packages designed by enemies of democracy from within and without.
“As I have always maintained, a political solution remains the best option and our founding fathers and all critical stakeholders must resume action in this regard not just for the sake of justice, fair play and stability within the PDP, but for the survival of democracy in Nigeria.”
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