The National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff, has apologised to aggrieved party stakeholders including a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, over statements credited to him by his personal aides and associates.
This apology came just as the former President of the Senate, David Mark, on Sunday called for a truce among the PDP faithful to avoid disaffection within the party ahead of its 2016 national convention.
Sheriff, who gave the apology at a media briefing in Jalingo on Sunday, said as “a well cultured and astute politician,” he would never make any comment that would ridicule the party.
He added that it was not in his character to take issues with highly respected elders of the party, noting that he never authorised any of his aides or political associates to react to issues raised by aggrieved elders of the party.
Sheriff said the aggrieved members of the PDP reserved the right to complain about issues affecting the party which they considered inimical to the progress of the party.
He, therefore, urged any aggrieved member to bury the hatchet and join hands with the present leadership to rebuild the party and restore the confidence of Nigerians in it.
He also noted that the PDP, as the main opposition party in the country, could not afford to have a divided house and appealed to members to work for the unity of the party at all times.
Sheriff, who is a former governor of Borno State, gave the assurance that the present leadership of the party was poised to give a listening ear to all shades of opinions with a view to strengthening it to face the challenges ahead.
He said the battle for the 2019 general elections had started in earnest, adding that the party could not afford to remain divided if its desired goal must be achieved.
He said, “Under our leadership and the support and encouragement of stakeholders and supporters, the PDP will definitely bounce back in 2019.’’
On his part, Mark, in a statement in Abuja, noted that since the leaders of the PDP had realised their past mistakes and learnt their lessons, they should not give room for any crisis or disaffection within their fold any more.
He said, “It is time for all genuine men and women of our party to make the necessary sacrifice and work honestly towards a united and a more cohesive party.
“In every human organisation, there are bound to be disagreements but we must put aside sentiments, personal interest and reconcile honestly and genuinely in the larger interest of the party.
“The PDP must avoid the pitfalls of the past such as imposition of candidates against the wishes of the majority. We are returning the party to the people. So, let the people decide.”
He explained that the inability of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, to “find the compass to navigate the ship of the state and ultimately respond appropriately to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizenry” had offered the PDP the ample opportunity to bounce back to power.
He said, “Nigerians can now spot the difference. The PDP is still the right choice. Therefore, we must respond positively and ultimately return the nation to the path of glory once more.”
Mark, in the statement signed by his Media Assistant, Mr. Paul Mumeh, called for a transparent electoral process that would produce credible and acceptable candidates for elections.
That way, he added, “democracy would thrive and endure for the good of all.”
Meanwhile, Sheriff, who spoke through his Media Aide, Mallam Inuwa Bwala, told one of our correspondents that the national chairman of the party had appealed to the aggrieved members to sheathe their swords.
Bwala, who said that some governors and senators had already picked nomination form for his boss, said that Sheriff had vowed not to preside over a divided party.
He said, “The national chairman has appealed to the aggrieved members not to be angry. He has vowed to pay a visit to all of them, one after the other.
“They will not go anywhere. The party has the capacity to manage its crises. We have had bigger crises before and they were managed.
“Sheriff had begged all those whom he had offended since he assumed office about three months ago, to forgive him. He doesn’t want to lead a divided party.”
Nevertheless, Bwala said the national leadership of the party had a suspicion that the crisis was being fuelled from outside the PDP.