By Ben Agande
Abuja—Factional chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff, has accused Senator Ahmed Makarfi of frustrating all attempts at reconciling members of the party.
Speaking, yesterday, when members of the party from the FCT came to pay him a solidarity visit at his personal office in Abuja, Sheriff said despite the obstacles being placed on the road to peace in the party by Makarfi, he was still ready to return to the negotiation table, if Makarfi saw reason to do so.
He said: “In the cause of the last six months, we have worked assiduously to reposition our great party, the PDP, through harnessing the enormous potentials of the party at the grassroots. Your visit today is evident of the mass followership our party enjoys.
“Permit me, therefore, to state that I have in all sincerity tried to resolve this party crisis. I have offered that both the caretaker committee and the NWC be dissolved to give way for a new independent leadership.
“But the caretaker committee has refused to agree to anything except recognize them and let the caretaker committee run the party till 2018.
“We have, therefore, resigned our fate to the decision of their lordships of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. However, we are ready to return to the negotiation table today if Sen. Makarfi sees reason to do so.”
Sheriff said his role in the PDP was to serve as a change agent by ensuring that things were done in the party differently.
“I, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, I am the AGENT of change for multiparty democracy in Nigeria. Our struggle is to change the old ways of doing things in the PDP. Consequently the committee for Constitution review Chaired by Hon. Bernard Mikko and the Mobilization Committee Chaired by Dr. Patrick Okomiso submitted their reports last week. The report from Hon. Bernard Mikko Committee recommended that in addition to the amendments approved by the NEC in May additional three (3) recommendations should be presented to NEC when we reconvene,” he said.
He said the three new amendments being proposed were that “ Presidents and governors produced by the party after their 2nd tenure and 8 years in office should be barred from adopting candidates to succeed them.
‘’Also national chairmen and party chairmen and excos from wards, local governments, state and national be barred from adopting candidates. Any candidate so adopted shall be disqualified.
‘’The second amendment being proposed is that ‘since elected Presidents, NASS members and governors are allowed to re-contest their positions while in office, elected party officers should be allowed to contest while in office also.
‘’The idea is to strengthen the party and make itsupreme; while all serving and former members of The National Assembly who are still members of the party should be statutories or automatic delegates to the National Conventions.’’
Senator Sheriff accused his detractors of blackmail but vowed that he would remain undeterred in his commitment to rescue the party from impunity and interference by external forces.
He said: “I have been blackmailed to the extent that I am alleged to be sponsored by the APC to build a one Party system. Contradictorily I have been accused at the same time of staying on to stage my emergence as the Presidential Candidate of the PDP. This is the extent to which the illegal caretaker committee can go to hold on to power. Blackmail has been their stock in trade.
“My detractors go to the extent of alluding to the fact that I sponsored Boko Haram. This is in spite of the fact that Boko Haram was completely annihilated under my tenure as Governor of Borno State. Five members of my immediate family and close associates lost their lives in the fight against Boko Haram.
“As soon as I left office Boko Haram grew wings. The murder of our Gubernatorial Candidate paved way for the emergence of others to take office. ALLAH knows the heart of all men.”