The key organs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday officially handed over the affairs of the party to Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee.
By that gesture, the committee is expected to organise a fresh national convention where new national officials will be picked to run the affairs of the party for the next four years.
The exercise was in defiance of subsisting court orders that emanated from Port Harcourt and Lagos, restraint the Makarfi-led committee and the deposed party chair, Ali Modu Sheriff from exercising the right of leadership on behalf of the party.
This prompted the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), last week, to assume responsibility for running the affairs of party, pending the election of new executives.
The BoT chairman, Walid Jibrin had attributed the action to the subsisting court orders against Makarfi and Sheriff.
Jibrin had said, “Nobody has taken the BoT to court. Today, the BoT remains the only legal body that is not in court with anybody, and that is why we are here to play our role.
“We are here to perform our duty according to the PDP constitution, hoping that our problems will soon be resolved”.
Incidentally, Jibrin and his fellow BoT members were active participants at the event where Makarfi was officially recognised as interim administrator of the party.
Conveners of yesterday’s event were however silent on the subsisting court orders. Makarfi, installation was similarly approved by governors elected on the party’s platform, the National Assembly caucus and other stakeholders
Judging by the body language of the party chiefs, the exercise signified the final exit rites for Sheriff who is still fighting his unceremonious removal through the courts.
Sheriff stayed away from the event. Party chiefs explained away his absence, saying he had travelled out of the country.
Former Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus performed the hand-over ceremony, which received a resounding applause from the party chiefs.
Efforts by our correspondent to get Sheriff’s reaction through his Media Adviser, Mr. Inuwa Bwala failed as calls to his mobile telephone line indicated that he was out of reach.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state who spoke on behalf of other governors said his colleagues decided to back Makarfi because his committee was properly constituted in accordance with the party’s constitution.
He urged aggrieved members to explore the available dispute resolution options within the party to iron out their grievances.
The governor regretted that the existing Civil Society Organisations that used to be vocal under the PDP led federal government, have now withdrawn into their shells as if all is well with the nation.
“In the absence of strong Civil Society Organistaions, we are determined to provide vibrant and purposeful opposition to the present administration”, the governor stated.
He stressed the need for the federal government to engage the various militia groups in constructive dialogue instead of outright confrontation. According to him, that was how the PDP led administration handled the situation.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu restated the party’s resolve to throw the two members of the House of Representatives that defected to the APC last week out of their seats.
“We will do everything under the sun to get them out of the National Assembly . This is no time for gamblers. We are going to replace them with genuine and committed PDP members”, the lawmaker said.