March 16, 2017

PDP crisis: Again, Makarfi, Sheriff in war of words

Sheriff and Makarfi

By Ben Agande

Abuja—The crisis  in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, continued yesterday, with the two key actors, Chairman of the national caretaker committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, accusing each other of working against efforts at restoring peace.

While Makarfi accused Sheriff of  reneging on his commitment to the peace initiative by President Goodluck Jonathan to explore political solution to the leadership crisis, Sheriff, apparently referring to Makarfi, said he would not allow those playing God within the party to destroy it.

According to Makarfi,   Sheriff’s   refusal   to abide by the agreement that they should both resign their position necessitated the decision to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court.

Sheriff and Makarfi

Senator Makarfi, who also disclosed   that the party was   in alliance with 15 other political parties ahead 2019, also faulted the recommendations of the Governor Seriake Dickson’s committee which said the party should hold it’s convention in June.

He said:  When Dickson came to meet me on his committee’s report, I told him, you are one of the governors that met with former president Goodluck Jonathan and he spelt out the proposal of peace plan which he communicated to the NASS, communicated to us (caretaker committee) and other organs of the party.

‘’I asked him, are you now removing yourself from that? Why didn’t you table what you have before your colleagues? I also asked him whether he has taken pains to read the Port Harcourt Appeal court judgement and he said no.

That judgement is based on two premises which we did not accept. The first premise, which we did not accept in our appeal to the supreme Court, that the tenure of three members of NWC will expire in august this year and 18 will expire in July 2018.

“If you now propose to hold convention in June, what are you going to achieve? How will the June convention be different from last year’s in Portharcourt and he said he didn’t think about that.

“If he didn’t think about it, he shouldn’t do anything that will go against court of appeal judgment. What that judgement stipulates is a return to a status quo ante.  What the court means is that all the national officers before  May 21  must return to office. What Sheriff is doing is against the judgement, all his actions run foul against the judgement.

On his part, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, said he would not allow anybody to destroy the party.

Sheriff, who stated this when members of the party from Plateau State visited him in his office in Abuja, said no member of the party no matter how highly placed would be allowed to ‘play god’.

According to him, those loyal to the party will be given a level playing ground to realise their ambition, adding that the direction of the party would be determined by the people at the grass roots level.

“You can’t force people to follow a leader they do not believe in. We are doing everything possible to bring all PDP members back. “The proposal on the way forward is to revert to the status quo as pronounced by the court of appeal. This is what I told Dickson, that he should go back to his colleagues governors and other organs of the party to clear the issue. As far as we are concerned, the caretaker committee has no position other than what the organs of the party.’’

‘’President Jonathan, after meeting with the governors, at about  1 am, called me and told me about the resolution they have reached, which he said will be forwarded to the NASS causus and other organs of the party as part of political solution. Some of the resolution is that the judgement of appeal court must be respected to prevent anybody from coming  tomorrow  to rubbish the party

Also speaking at the meeting, former Minister of information, Prof. Jerry Gana, who is also the chairman of the Strategic and Inter-party Committee, said other parties were desirous of working with PDP ahead of 2019.

‘’gAll those who believe in PDP will be given level playing field to realize their political ambition. Those seeking to destroy PDP will not be allowed.

“The people at the grass roots will determine the direction the PDP will go.  We are here by the grace of the people. We didn’t force ourselves here,” he said.