Patrick Osadebamwen, Abuja
The table has turned badly for ousted chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff, as 24 state chairmen of the party, Monday, declared his faction illegal, while announcing their support for the Ahmed Markarfi-led caretaker committee.
This is as Markarfi and Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi, have warned Sherrif against further holding on but to place the interest of the party ahead of other consideration and tow the path of peace.
Makarfi said, he was appointed by the stakeholders of the party whom, if, they demand his exit today (Monday) he will exit without any grouse as the party is greater than any individual.
He noted that the crisis rocking the party was internal and good as it makes a bold statement on the potentials of the party in the country and the hope it holds for Nigerians.
Makarfi said he will continue to appeal to Sheriff, his colleague as a former governor, to know that if dialogue could not resolve the matter, no other option would, stressing that the Sheriff camp has no chance of meeting INEC requirement and appealed to the ousted chairman to sheath the sword.
Makarfi made this appeal to Sheriff while receiving the endorsement of about 24 state chairmen of the party who were in Abuja to express solidarity with his leadership.
According to Makarfi, “As INEC said it they will require 21-day notice before any party can conduct primary, by the time Ali Modu Sheriff is talking of conducting primaries, he does not have 21 days before the closing date of the nomination which means validly taken no primaries will be conducted apart from the one that we conducted to which INEC was present.
“I will continue to plead; I will continue to plea and I will continue to plea. What we cannot achieve through dialogue, the opposite of that can also not give it to you.
“State congresses did not take place, so we do not expect them to be here. Very few of them, we are not expecting 37 of them as are expected. In due course, when the dust is settled, those states that congresses did not take place and Court did not bar us from conducting any congress, the congresses will now take place in line with the rules and regulations”, he said.
Aligning his thoughts to Makarfi, Governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi called on Sheriff to rethink his actions and retrace his steps for the good of the party.
He said: “I want to ask our party people not to get so much worried. Whatever distraction that maybe happening in the party. One thing that makes me happy in life is that whatever that happens in life it will always end at God’s note.
“And that no matter what happens, the truth must be established and the truth must be told. My advice to our party leaders is to continue to believe in the party.
“Yes sheriff is my very good friend, Sheriff was our national party chairman. And I commend Sen. Makarfi our chairman for his maturity in handling this matter.
“If nothing else, Sheriff was once the national chairman of PDP and so, the respect that you accord him is commendable. I want to appeal to him, to know that no one can be greater that the party. He may have been wronged on moral ground but by the reason of the constitution of the party, there is a need for him to have a re-think, the lives of many of our people may just be inside this PDP.
“So, God is watching all of us. I use to think that coming to leadership is for service. And if it is for service, serving the people, I appeal to him and appeal to our leaders, let us continue to appeal to our former national chairman, Sheriff, to eschew, the path that he is going.
“Whatever wrong he may have suffered, the party at the convention will right it. So that we live together again as one entity.”
He dismissed the alleged threat of dissolution of the party chairmen in their states by an illegal entity stressing that the only the National Executive Committee (NEC) has such powers based on the resolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) which must be constituted and must have a quorum.
“I want to thank the chairman of the national caretaker committee; I am seeing the state chairmen here. I was once the chairman of the party; nobody has the powers to dissolve you. It is only NEC that has the power to dissolve you. And there is no national working committee, except a quorum is formed.
“These are the issues in the constitution of the party. So, when I hear what was happening in the past, some people are trying to do it again and of course not a legitimate party leadership now, I laugh so loudly, so you have got to resist that and ignore such calls. It is not constitutional and it is like putting something on nothing.
The 24 state governors who came on the solidarity visit to National Caretaker Committee led by Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi said his emergence was a function of the National convention which is the highest decision making organ of the party.
Spokesman for the group and chairman of the FCT chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Hon. Yunus Y. Suleiman said: “The Port Harcourt Convention was product of the constitutionality of the party. All of us were involved including Ali Modu Sheriff himself, which gave birth to this caretaker committee.
“The delegates to the national convention were driven from the 36 states of the Federation including FCT. And we all voted unanimously and endorsed the caretaker committee. This is our product. There is no any other constitutional body to be in this party other than the caretaker committee.
“Several attempts have been made. And we are also in the course to meet with Sheriff and all other parties that feel aggrieved by the resolution of the convention. We urge all members of PDP to come back and resolve our issues internally”, he stated