There may not be an end in sight to the leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the reconciliation efforts by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, appears to have hit a stalemate temporarily.
After Thursday’s walkout by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Mr Ayodele Fayose, says he does not recognise Senator Sheriff as the party’s leader.
Mr Fayose who was a guest on Channels Television’s political program, Politics Today, said the best way to resolve the matter is to wait for the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement.
“Personally I don’t recognise him as the National Chairman of the PDP.”
According to him, Sheriff is only the party’s Chairman by law, however, “there is an appeal waiting. I do respect what the law says but you cannot force a chairman I don’t want on me.
“For me, we will rather wait for the court to decide the future of this party, when the court says it is Makarfi, we follow him, when the court says Sheriff, we say bye bye – Personally, I will not attend any meeting with Sherriff again.”
On February 17, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, ruled that the caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi was illegal and could not act on behalf of the PDP.
Six Kogi State House of Assembly members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The lawmakers cited disputes that have bedevilled the PDP in the recent time as their reasons for quitting the party for the APC.
In a letter sent and read at the plenary by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Umar Iman, the defectors formally notified the House of their decision to quit the party for the APC, the ruling party in Kogi State.
Meanwhile, security operatives were stationed at the complex, as there were rumours that the defection might lead to a change of leadership in the House.
After a closed door executive meeting which lasted several hours, the sitting started with Speaker Umar reading the letter written and signed by the six defectors.
“We the undersigned honourable members of the Kogi State House of Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP, wish to formerly notify you of our decision to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Our action and decisions predicted on the factionalisation squabbles both at the national and state level, basically with the party having two National Chairmen, in persons of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
“Instructively, the existence of such divisive factions within the party for over 10 months has left us uncomfortable politically and subsequently, rendered us neophyte for effective and people driven representation of our various constituents.
”In view of the unfortunate diversion and the accompanying negative implications, we have no option than to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), for us to be able to accomplish our campaign promises of bringing government closer to our people,” one of the defectors said.
However, the message did not go down well with the PDP members in the House as a member from Ogori-Magongo constituency, Godwin Osiyi, bade the six decamping members goodbye.
”These are people who are elected under the Peoples Democratic Party defecting, this is the greatest disappointment. We are in an executive meeting – Mr Speaker I expected that this letter you just read, copies would have been provided for members.
”These are overgrown adults who want to leave a party for party because of some squabbles they claim we have. I congratulate the APC for having more members but remember that anytime you have a problem, they will leave you.
“These are men of very low valour, so gird your loin very properly. Those of us remaining in the PDP are still very resilient”, Honourable Osiyi said.
Also reacting to the action, a PDP lawmaker, Friday Sanni, said the PDP will challenge there defection, noting that the members have to lose their seat.
”I know as a fact that the Peoples Democratic Party will take all necessary action against this abnormality because in the face of the law right now, there is no crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State.
“We don’t have any faction in the party, we have no faction in the PDP State Executive Committee. So describing State Executive Committee as divided, or national, I think it is an erroneous affection.
“Because in the face of the law right now, there is a National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and as I speak to you, Ali Modu Sheriff operates from the National Party Secretariat of the PDP, you are all aware,” he said.
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has accused his political rival, Senator Ahmed Makarfi of frustrating reconciliation efforts brokered by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, Senator Sheriff’s Deputy, Mr Cairo Ojougboh, said the PDP National Working Committee has been talking to the leaders of the party to fix a date for a convention.
According to Mr Ojougboh, the PDP would go on with the convention even as Senator Makarfi’s group awaits judgement from the Supreme Court on the matter.
“The National Working Committee has adopted the position of the reconciliation committee as a working document and a working paper, and it’s not exhaustive.
“Any organ of the party or any person in the party that has any position to submit to the National Working Committee will also be studied.
“If Makarfi and his group feel that they don’t want political settlement and that they want to wait for the Supreme Court, it is their choice.
“But the party cannot remain stagnant waiting for them, so the party must continue.
“When they get to the Supreme Court and they come back, then we will know how to cross that bridge when we get there.
“All organs and 90% of the populace of the PDP including stakeholders have queued into the issue of reconciliation and convention, and the convention must hold,” he said.
However, spokesman for the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee, Mr Dayo Adeyeye, insisted that Senator Sheriff has been the one frustrating the peace efforts.
“As far as we are concerned, that agreement states clearly that all parties should resign then our lawyers will meet to draw up an agreement that we can present to the Supreme Court as a voluntary judgement that we have fully agreed to before the court.
“This can provide both legal and political solution to the crisis, but Sheriff has rejected that,” Mr Adeyeye said.
Former President Jonathan and other leaders of the PDP have urged the warring factions to settle their dispute out of court.
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has officially resumed work at the national secretariat of the party.
Addressing the Imo State PDP delegation who paid him a visit in Abuja, Senator Sheriff said the party is in its current leadership mess because of the imposition of candidates against the wishes of the people.
He, however, stated optimism that he would return the party to the people.
On their part, the delegation led by Senator Hope Uzodinma pledged to mobilise the support of party members from the southeast region.
The crisis rocking the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not appear to be abating, even with the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
The National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to jail his rival Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and some of his loyalists over what he described as ‘contempt of court’.
The former Borno State Governor and the PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, accused Senator Makarfi and others of flouting the order of the court which was delivered on February 17, 2017.
Apart from the former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Sheriff also listed three other prominent leaders of the party as those to be jailed by the appellate court.
Others named as alleged contemnors are the two other members of the sacked National Caretaker Committees, Senator Ben Obi (secretary) and Mr Dayo Adeyeye (publicity secretary), and a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode.
In the suit with APPEAL NO: CA/PH/349/2016, Sheriff asked the court to commit the four persons to prison for one year over the alleged contempt.
Apart from the four contemnors, he also listed a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha; a former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana; Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Senator Walid Jibrin; and an aspirant to the office of the party’s national chairman, Mr Bode George, as alleged contemnors.
Close Down Factional Secretariat
The PDP National Chairman, however, did not pray the court to commit Ihedioha, Gana, Jibrin and George to prison.
Rather, he asked the court for an order restraining them from “proclaiming or otherwise holding out to the public that the first to third alleged contemnors are national officers of the PDP for any purpose whatsoever”.
Listed as defendants in the case are the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Senator Sheriff and Professor Oladipo asked the court to stop Senator Makarfi and his group from parading themselves as national officers of the party.
They also asked the court to direct the IGP and the DSS to close down the factional secretariat being operated by the Makarfi group.
Apart from that, the duo prayed the court not to transmit the records of the court proceedings to Markarfi and his group, saying they didn’t have the permission of the party to get it.
Defy Court Order
Oladipo, who signed an affidavit in support of the claim, stated that on February 17, “soon after the judgment was delivered, the alleged contemnors proceeded to address the media and to comment negatively, contemptuously, disparagingly and contumeliously on the findings and order of the court set out above.
“Rather than accept that the justice of the matter as determined by this honourable court was as expressed in the findings, holdings and order set out above, the fourth to eighth alleged contemnors made statements encouraging the first to third respondents to defy the order of the court and flout the purpose of the court’s judgment delivered on the 17th of February 2017,” he said.
The PDP National Secretary claimed that it was on this basis that the alleged contemnors placed notices in newspapers, where they convened a meeting of what they called “PDP stakeholders.
“The said meeting was held on Monday, February 20, and was attended by the fourth to eighth alleged contemnors, who made further statements encouraging the first to third alleged contemnors to defy the holdings and order of the court”.
Purpose Of The Judgment
The motion on notice for the committal of the alleged contemnors was filed by eight lawyers, led by a former Minister of Justice, Akin Olujimi, who was joined by two other Senior Advocates of Nigeria – Dr. Alex Izinyon and B. E. Nwofor – among others.
“The actions of the alleged contemnors, as shown in the affidavit in support of this application, have the effort of flouting the purpose of the judgment of this Honourable court, which purpose is to properly regulate the exercise of powers by the alleged contemnors against the applicants and first respondent; avoid any further anarchy, lawlessness and deepening crisis capable of heating up the Nigerian polity; and establish the requirements of the rule of law and due process in the administration of justice.
“Although the alleged contemnors were not parties to the action in court, it is our humble submission that they have a responsibility to ensure that they do not aid and abet the disobedience of the judgment order or treat the said judgment with disdain and disrespect,” the lawyers stated.
Senator Markarfi and the other faction of the party are believed to have filed an application seeking for stay of execution of the judgment and leave for appeal.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of Sheriff’s case, which was filed on February 24, 2017.
Some protesters loyal to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi Caretaker Committee, have stormed the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, calling on the police to stop the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, from entering the secretariat.
The Spokesperson to the Ahmed Makarfi group, Dayo Adeyeye, at a press conference, also asked the police to stop the national chairman from accessing the party’s secretariat.
The court ruled that the caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi is illegal and cannot act on behalf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The lead Judge, B. A. Sanga, in his judgement said that due process was not followed in the decision by the PDP convention to dissolve the Ali Modu Sheriff-led chairmanship and hence should be disregarded.
Meanwhile, the Chairman has described the court’s judgement as a victory for all, stating that the interest of the party supersedes his office as the National Chairman and is willing to relinquish the position for the party to move forward.
The visit was to inform the former president of the issues surrounding the party’s leadership and winning elections convincingly under the current leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Dr. Jonathan expressed belief that the loss of power at the centre was only temporary, insisting that the PDP would do better in the next general elections.
The Forum of Former Ministers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the Court of Appeal judgment affirming Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.
The Chairman of the forum and a former Minister of Special Duties, Mr Kabiru Turaki, said this on Friday while briefing reporters shortly after the PDP leaders met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He said the forum has advised the leadership of the PDP to head to the Supreme Court to challenge the judgment.
Turaki, backed by two other former ministers, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode and Professor Abubakar Suleiman, commended the minority judgment of the Appeal Court upholding the leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
They appealed to members and supporters of the PDP to remain calm, stressing they the former ministers have resolved to ensure that the judgment is challenged at the Supreme Court.
Rape Of Democracy
Although Senator Sheriff may have won at the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt as the PDP National Chairman, the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Ayodele Fayose, noted that the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led Caretaker Committee would appeal the judgement.
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says reconciliation of the factions in the party was scuttled by the chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, whom he said had not given his consent to a reconciliation requirement.
Giving his opinion on the crisis in the party, Mr Ahmed Gulak, said that Senator Makarfi had, at a reconciliation meeting, refused to accept the condition that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and himself should step down for a fresh start.
The PDP chieftain said that Senator Sheriff, whom he said is still the chairman of the party, had accepted to step down, but Senator Makarfi’s refusal has scuttled the whole process.
He insisted that reconciliation was the way forward.
“We must come together to be able to focus on 2019.
“All members should bury their ambitions and build the party before anybody’s ambition. When the party is strong people can declare their ambitions.
“Sheriff and Markarfi were called and sheriff agreed to step aside but Makarfi refused, saying he must consult with some governors.
“If it is the intention of these governors and Makarfi that this party should remain united, then the needful should be done,” he said.
On the leadership of the party, Mr Gulak insisted that “the authentic chairman of the party as of now is Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
“A court of competent jurisdiction has pronounced that only Senator Sheriff can parade himself as the national chairman of the party. The same court barred Senator Makarfi Caretaker Committee from parading themselves as the caretaker committee acting for and on behalf of the party.
“The simple reason is, no gathering can pass a national convention when there is a subsisting court order barring the party from conducting a convention or electing principle officers,” he explain.
On the chances of the PDP putting a strong opposition against the ruling party in coming elections, Mr Gulak said that “in few weeks, you will see the vibrant opposition that the PDP will give the APC”.
“We are trying to pick the pieces to rebuild,” he added.