By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—SENATORS of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have resolved to meet with governors elected on the platform of the party to find political solution to the lingering crisis in its fold.
The senators, who met, yesterday, at Hearing Room 1, Senate Wing, also discussed the letter they received from the National Chairman of PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, intimating them of the need for him to meet with the lawmakers.
The PDP Senate Caucus considered it imperative to meet, yesterday, to brainstorm on the letter and the need to meet with governors of the party before honouring the invitation extended to them by Ali Modu Sheriff.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who confirmed receipt of a letter from Sheriff inviting the caucus to a meeting with him at the party headquarters, said the letter was dated March 6, 2017.
Akpabio noted that they were looking for a political solution to solving the problem the party was confronted with, adding that the senators would first meet with the governors, intimate them with the invitation and to know if it was desirable to meet with Sheriff and forum of PDP Governors .
According to him, the caucus will also meet with other organs of the party as well as the Ahmed Markafi-led Caretaker Committee of the party before honouring the invitation from the national chairman.
Akpabio added that the caucus would then meet with the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the party, former governors and National Assembly members.
It was, however, not clear when the meeting between Sheriff and the lawmakers will take place.
Akpabio said: “We held this meeting because there was a letter from Senator Sheriff to the caucus and so we had to meet first to know whether this is the right time, whether the meeting is right or not.” and what we agreed is that let the leadership first meet with the Sheriff group, the Makarfi group, then the BOT and see whether we can come to a consensus.
He said: “We discussed about the overall wel lbeing of the nation, we also discussed about the ongoing issues in our party and then we discussed the way forward.
‘’We also used that opportunity to pray and wish the President quick recovery and quick return to the country.
“As a caucus, we believe strongly in peace and we believe in Peoples Democratic Party so that Nigeria can have a robust democracy. We believe that without the PDP being strong and united, Nigeria may slide into a one party state and democracy may be in peril.
“We also said if it is possible that while the judicial processes are on, that as a caucus, we should also pursue the alternative platform of having out-of-court settlement and this can only start with us meeting with our governors and, thereafter, meet with the leadership of the party, the two groups and all the other strata of the party, that is the Board of Trustees, former governors, National Assembly members and, of course, the National Caretaker Committee, the recently pronounced chairman by the Court of Appeal so that we can spearhead a major political turnaround that will involve the whole stakeholders and bring holistic peace to the party
“If we succeed in doing so, this could even be a major way out, instead of continuous processes in court. We will pursue that option without prejudice to the ongoing court processes until we can arrive at a solution where we could at the end of the day use what we have, with the totality of all agreeing as consent judgment.”
Asked to react to cases of defection, Akpabio, who noted that there was no such case but interest playing out, said: ‘’I don’t see any “defection” happening, I only see interest playing out. PDP in the Senate is still very strong and very robust. We started with 49 senators and we are still well over 44 and we are still going to get more.
“So how can you say defection of two or three senators who have interest outside the chambers will affect the unity and strength of the caucus. That is not true. Please ignore some of those things because every politics is local.
“There are local circumstances that may make everybody to decide the party to go. Even if there were no wranglings in PDP, there will still be defections. If you assess your chances of a re-election in 2019 in your locality and then you see that a would-be opponent is five times your size, what do you do? You have to start looking for an alternative platform so that you don’t lose out in 2019 and would that mean that it is PDP issue, no, it means personal issue.
“So, anything that has to do with the strength of the PDP dwindling is propaganda and I don’t want you to engage in that.
“Let me use this opportunity to assure our teeming supporters across the nation that the party is still very strong and as you know, every politics is local. So the struggle for chairmanship at the party secretariat does not in any way diminish the strength of the party in all the wards of the nation , in the 774 local governments.
‘’So PDP remains a veritable, strong and viable alternative. It is only PDP that will assist the APC in deepening democracy and that is what we must all work on.”