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PDP Crisis: Jonathan Endorses Sheriff As Chair

Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday endorsed Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This is coming just as various organs of the PDP, including the party’s National Assembly Caucus, governors, Board of Trustees and major stakeholders have passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, declaring that no court can determine who will be their chairman.

In recognising him as the party’s national chairman, Jonathan who referred to Sheriff as “my chair” when the former Borno State governor visited the former president in his Abuja residence, declared that the PDP was not factionalised.

Speaking after a closed door meeting with Sheriff, Jonathan said, “We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics. It is the way we resolve these differences that makes us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. We are not factionalised. We are one. I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party”.

Also speaking, Sheriff who noted that he will not join issues with anybody said, “If I go down to their level, it means we are the same. We only have one PDP and only one chairman. We are putting things together to ensure that the party is united. We don’t want to have a divided house. We only have one PDP; we don’t have anything like caretaker committee.”

In the visit to the former president, Sheriff was accompanied by his deputy, Dr Cairo Ojougboh; Prof Olawale Oladipo; spokesman of his party, Hon Bernard Mikko, among others.

Meanwhile, various organs of the PDP, including some major stakeholders yesterday rejected the Court of Appeal judgment which recognised Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as chairman of the party.

To this effect, they disclosed that they have lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the decision of the appellate court, as well as an application for interim injunction stopping the execution of appeal court verdict pending the apex court judgment.

This was contained in the communiqué by the party organs after a meeting held at the residence of the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, in Abuja.

The larger stakeholders meeting under Makarfi’s leadership yesterday all organs of the party in attendance, including Board of Trustees, the PDP governor’s forum, the National Assembly caucus, PDP former ministers forum, national vice chairmen, state chapters represented by the Conference of State Party Chairmen, leadership of state assembly caucuses.

The meeting presided over by Makarfi which was scheduled to hold at the International Conference Center (ICC) was hurriedly moved to Asokoro, following the shutdown of the premises by the police.

Reading the communiqué after the meeting, former minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana, said, “The stakeholders and leaders of the party firmly and unequivocally resolve as follows: That the Peoples Democratic Party is united, strong, resolute, steadfast and solid under the leadership of the National Caretaker Committee in view of the fact that the Court of Appeal is not the final court on the matter.

All members, leaders and organs of the party, including but not limited to the Board of Trustees, the Governor’s forum, the National Assembly Caucus, PDP former Ministers forum, National Vice Chairmen, State Chapters represented by the Conference of State Party Chairmen, Leadership of State Assembly Caucuses and teeming members nationwide, stand resolute that authority to lead the PDP, and indeed any party, solely and exclusively derives from the consent of members at plenary.

“PDP members freely and clearly expressed themselves on the 21st May 2016 at the Port Harcourt National Convention and we stand by the decision given that the National Convention is the highest decision-making organ of the party.

“That we fully endorse the prompt and proactive decision of the National Caretaker Committee to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the decision of the Court of Appeal as well as filing an application for INJUNCTION PENDING APPEAL all of which was done in the morning of Monday 20th February 2017”.

Gana, however, expressed the party’s abiding faith in the capacity of the judiciary to protect Nigeria’s democracy and political aspirations of the Nigerian people, particularly at the level of the Supreme Court.

Endorsing the Makarfi faction of the party, Gana said, “Having duly filed both an appeal to the Supreme Court and an application for Injunction Pending Appeal in the morning of Monday the 20th February 2017, we pass a resounding and unqualified vote of confidence in the leadership of the Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party and pledge our unalloyed support to it as it pilots the affairs of the party in this critical transitional period of the party’s life.

“To this end, we are not at all deceived by the supposed olive branch being offered by Sen. Ali Modu Sherrif, knowing that the only thing that can come from traitors of his ilk is nothing but a poisoned chalice and a Greek gift.

“The meeting reiterates that the party’s Constitution stipulates the process of democratically electing officers of the party and therefore emphatically rejects any imposition such as those being illegally paraded as officers of the party by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff”.

Speaking earlier, Sen Makarfi who said it was an aberration to stop people from association noted that when PDP was in power, it could have stopped the formation of APC but it did not.

On his part, the deputy president of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, ruled what he described as the manipulation of vital institutions of democracy and radical decline of democratic freedoms in Nigeria.

He also said that the solidarity of all key organs and bodies of the PDP towards the Makarfi-led PDP national caretaker committee, despite the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal on the party’s leadership tussle, showed that “it is not the hood that makes the monk”.




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