By Ben Agande
ABUJA—Senator Ali Modu Sheriff yesterday took over the secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, vowing that he remained the authentic chairman of the party till 2018. This has further plunged the party into deeper crisis after the caretaker committee last week assumed office with much fanfare.
Senator Sheriff, who arrived at the party secretariat as early as 7am, in company of his supporters, was, however, rebuffed from entering the premises until at about 1:20pm when the Divisional Police officer for Wuse Division directed policemen at the gate to open the gate for Senator Sheriff, his aides and a few member of his National Working Committee, NWC, to access the secretariat.
Two truck loads of policemen who had earlier barricaded the party secretariat, withdrew five minutes before Senator Sheriff’s convoy of about seven SUVs was allowed in. After being allowed in, Senator Sheriff, who addressed the media, said he remained the chairman of the party until 2018, based on a ruling by the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Sheriff said he had restrained himself from taking over the party after the convention of the party in Port Harcourt because he was waiting to see whether the court order against the party would be vacated. He said: “As you may be aware, we have been facing some challenges, since we put off the National Convention, planned for Port Harcourt last month.
PDP crisis and height of self deceit
‘’I will therefore consider it the height of self deceit for anyone to pretend that the PDP is not in crisis, but also wish to assure you that, we have been working round the clock to see how we can resolve the matter, without being on the wrong side of the law.
‘’It is public knowledge that, although there was an order by the Federal High Court in Lagos, declaring me the authentic national chairman of PDP, I have kept away from taking steps that could jeopardize the law, following an exparte order from the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt which had given a contradictory order, restraining me from operating as chairman of our party, notwithstanding some further orders from the Federal High Court, Lagos, specifically directing the Inspector General of Police to provide me with adequate security to enable me carry on my duties.
“Now that the ex parte order given in Port Harcourt has since lapsed on June 9 and has not been renewed or extended, it is now my pleasure and privilege to inform you that I have fully resumed as the one and only National Chairman of our great party, the PDP.
“I have all the while kept away from the office in strict compliance with the ex parte order of the port Harcourt Federal High Court which lapsed on June 9 and not because I sanction the illegalities being committed by some members of our party.
“You are all witnesses to the effect that, while the court procedures are still going on, a lot of illegalities; in clear defiance of the law have been taking place in the party, under the guise of a contraption called caretaker Committee. “I had hoped that, for once, the PDP, which have been accused of promoting impunity and declining lawful orders will purge itself, which informed my decision to obey the courts.
‘Lawful pronouncements by court must be obeyed’
“Permit me to state that lawful pronouncements by courts, no matter how inconvenient they may be are to be obeyed, no matter one’s position. And no person should be seen to be above the pronouncements of competent courts of this country.
“Be that as it may, let me state for the avoidance of doubt, that, beyond the court orders, the PDP operates with a set of laws, which guides the conducts of our affairs.” “I, therefore, call on everyone to shun all acts that will tend to portray the party as being lawless. We must learn to obey our own laws first before we can hope to provide the desired leadership. Against this background”