Image

PDP Crisis: Sheriff Moves To Stop Makarfi’s Appeal At Supreme Court

modu-sheriff

PDP National Chiarman, Ali Modu Sheriff

Olusola Fabiyi, John Alechenu, Fidelis Soriwei, Ade Adesomoju  and Olaleye Aluko

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff, has commenced moves to stop any appeal to the Supreme Court seeking to challenge the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, which affirmed him as the authentic leader of the party.

He has therefore applied to the apex court for the withdrawal of an appeal filed in the name of the party by the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction.

The appeal, with number SC.133/2017, was filed on February 27, 2017, in the name of the PDP by the Makarfi-led caretaker committee to challenge the February 17, 2017 judgment of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the Sheriff-led executive as the authentic leadership of the party.

In their motion to discontinue the appeal before the Supreme Court, Sheriff and his National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, argued among others, that no ground of law supported the appeal.

The motion was filed at the Supreme Court on March 16, 2017.

Filed through their lead counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), the motion stated that more importantly, by virtue of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, Makarfi and other members of his faction were not the alter ego of the party and such were incompetent to institute any legal process in the name of the party.

It stated that none of Makarfi, Senator Ben Dayo Obi and Adeyeye could continue to act in any capacity as the representatives of the party.

The court paper read in part, “More importantly, however, the persons who have instigated the filing of the appeal and instructed lawyers to act for the appellant (namely Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi, and Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, who continue to style and parade themselves as the ‘National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party’), do not have the authority or power to do so.

“The corporate personality of the appellant can only be invoked by its legal alter ego, vide the National Working Committee/National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, consisting of the first and second respondents (Sheriff and Oladipo)  and other officers represented by them, not Senators Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi, and Mr. Adeyeye, who are not officers of the appellant (the PDP) at all, as confirmed by the judgment of the lower court .”

In an affidavit filed in support of the motion, Oladipo, who deposed to it, stated that a letter had been written to Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), to stop acting as counsel for the PDP,  adding that the duo of Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN) had been appointed in his (Olanipekun’s) stead.

Oladipo stated, “I also know that as a fact that  a letter was also written to Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) requiring him to stop acting as counsel for the Peoples Democratic Party as he was never authorised by the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party appeal.

“The said Senators Makarfi, Obi and Mr. Adeyeye have so demonstrated disrespect for the judicial process and the proceedings before this honourable court by their utterances.

“I know as a fact that the Peoples Democratic Party has not authorised anyone, including Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) to file any appeal against the judgment of the lower court delivered on February 17, 2017.”

Respondents to the appeal by the Makarfi-led faction’s of the PDP are Sheriff, Oladipo, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Inspector-General of Police and the Department of State Services.

Dickson, Makarfi exchange words over leadership tussle

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee of the PDP, Governor Seriake Dickson, has accused Makarfi of using blackmail to stall the party’s peace process.

He also accused Makarfi, who was the chairman of the ousted National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, of employing various antics to frustrate the resolution of the crisis in the former ruling party.

Dickson, who is the Bayelsa State governor, said this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, he and several other party leaders at different times made proposals aimed at ending the war of attrition in the leadership of the party, alleging that the refusal of Makarfi and some of his supporters to accept present realities was stalling the process.

In a separate interview with The PUNCH, Makarfi, who is the former governor of Kaduna State, stated that the issue was not about his person but about the overall interest of the PDP and Nigeria’s opposition.

Dickson said Makarfi was one of several party leaders who earlier pleaded with him to support the emergence of Sheriff as the chairman of the PDP when he (Dickson) opposed the move.

Dickson added, “I opposed Modu Sheriff’s entry as chairman; I thought there were other roles he could play. But some of my colleagues and other leaders thought otherwise, including most of these people who are calling names.

“I stayed in Abuja for three weeks and spoke with BoT members, other elders, and I want to thank them for the little regard they have always given to me.

“We went to Port Harcourt and we had an inconclusive convention because of court cases and a lot of controversies. It became imperative for the party to set up, for the first time, a national caretaker committee.

“So, His Excellency, my elder brother, Makarfi, for who I have a lot of respect (I am not going to trade insults with him) … the way he is blackmailing me and saying all kinds of things.

“Most of the people, who are talking about Sheriff today were the people promoting Sheriff while I said no. You can verify that from anywhere.”

The Bayelsa State governor explained that despite any misgivings anyone might have, Sheriff currently remained the PDP’s national chairman.

Dickson added, “If there were to be a bye election in Kaduna, Makarfi’s state, Makarfi today is not in a position to send a name to the Independent National Electoral Commission for INEC to accept.

“That is the political reality everybody in the PDP needs to accept, whether you like Sheriff’s face or not. I don’t support Sheriff and what he has done, but I acknowledge that reality.

“The reconciliation committee, which I have chaired for quite some time, met to review our position in the light  of the Court of Appeal’s judgment and we said look, let us formulate a realistic, practical and strategic response  to that reality because in the end, it is all about strategy.”

Dickson noted that one of the party leaders brokered a peace plan which would have seen Makarfi and Sheriff stepped down but that while Sheriff agreed to the condition, provided Makarfi also stepped down, the former Kaduna State governor declined.

In his reaction, Makarfi, who admitted that the Bayelsa State governor met with him a number of times, said it was not right to meet him alone and ask that he should negotiate.

Makarfi, who spoke in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, said the crisis in the PDP was not about his person but about the right things being done.

He stated, “All I have been saying is that any discussions should be with the organs of the party and anything they accept, I am duty bound to accept.

“Agreed he came to me and I believed he came in good faith, not with any ulterior motive. I told him that members of my committee and I are implementers of decisions of the organs of the party, he should go back to the party organs but instead of doing that, one or two hours after, he went and submitted his report to Sheriff.

“It is after submitting the report to Sheriff that he started going round to speak to organs of the party.  How do you do that?”

Makarfi added that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, he was not opposed to earlier suggestions that himself, Sheriff and all members of the party leadership should step down for the party to start afresh.

On his part, Adeyeye, who is the Publicity Secretary of the sacked National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, accused Dickson of not encouraging reconciliation in the troubled party.

He said, “The way Governor Dickson is going about this committee seems he does not want reconciliation, because you cannot be attacking one group at all the times – attacking the Makarfi group. We are not comfortable with that.

“It is not true that we have been stalling the peace process. General Gusau at one time brokered peace among us, and it was Sheriff that did not allow it to work. There was never a time that Sheriff offered to resign as Governor Dickson claimed.

“Therefore, our position on the reconciliation efforts by Governor Dickson is that one; he has not even met with the caretaker committee. This is our problem.”

Adeyeye can’t speak for PDP –Sheriff

In a related development, Sheriff said it was wrong for a member of the sacked National Caretaker Committee, Adeyeye, to be speaking for the party.

He said the former minister of state for works should desist from using the logo of the party and from speaking on its behalf.

Sheriff stated this in a statement by the party’s acting spokesman, Mr. Bernad Mikko, in Abuja on Sunday.

He said, “For the umpteenth time, the attention of the National Working Committee of the PDP has been drawn to statement credited to Adeyeye in a desperate attempt to curry empathy, seek public attention and undeserved political relevance.

“It is hereby disclaimed that Adeyeye cannot speak for the PDP or use its logo and franchise without the authority and express permission of the national leadership of the party.”

Mikko alleged that Adeyeye was merely interested in his governorship ambition, adding that the ex-minister made this clear at a meeting he held with party leaders shortly after the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, sacked the caretaker committee.

When contacted, Adeyeye said he would not react to the statement, adding that if he would, his reaction would come in form of a statement on Monday (today).

Also, Mikko said the issue of factions had been settled by the Appeal Court judgment, stating that the issue before the PDP was the way forward.

He said, “The way forward is to go for our National Convention as recommended by the Governor Dickson Peace and Reconciliation Committee, which has given us a template on the way forward.

“The NWC has accepted the committee’s recommendation because it is all inclusive. The template is for everyone; every peace loving Nigerian, who is a member of the PDP or loves our party should follow it.      (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Jonathan’s Peace Move In PDP Collapses |The Republican News

cec85-president-goodluck-jonathan5b15d

Goodluck E. Jonathan

Olusola Fabiyi, John Ameh and Kamarudeen Ogundele

The move by some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party to use what they called ‘‘political solution’’ to settle the lingering leadership crisis in the party appears to have failed as declared by the two camps in Abuja on Thursday.

The sacked National Caretaker Committee, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said only the Supreme Court would adjudicate in the crisis.

It added that the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, should vacate office immediately, saying the former governor of Borno State was illegally occupying the office of the chairman of the party.

Sheriff however declared that it was unfortunate that the caretaker committee was insisting on going to the Supreme Court, stating that he would meet the committee at the apex court if it insisted on going ahead with the appeal.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, at a recent meeting with the governors elected on the platform of the party in Abuja, promised to use political solution to settle the crisis in the party.

Spokesperson for the caretaker committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, said Sheriff should vacate office immediately.

He said there were about two judgments, which he said had earlier nullified the appointment of Sheriff, adding that none of the judgments was appealed by the former governor.

He said, “Only the Supreme Court will settle the matter. Even if the Supreme Court rules in their favour that the convention was illegal, we will use the judgments of other courts to demand that he should resign and go.

“Firstly, let us remind the public of our earlier calls on Sheriff to stop parading himself as chairman of the PDP following the judgment of an Abuja High Court delivered by Justice Valentine Ashi on June 29, 2016, in which the court nullified the 2014 Amendment to the PDP Constitution that produced Senator Sheriff as Acting National Chairman of the PDP.

“This judgment was never appealed by Sheriff and the time frame stipulated by law for the appeal has elapsed; and as such, the judgment subsists.

“So, he is an illegal national chairman.

“Secondly, another judgment delivered on August 17, 2016 by Justice Nwamaka Ogbonnaya of the FCT High Court in Abuja re-affirmed the sacking of Sheriff as the chairman of the PDP on the grounds that the judgment of Justice Valentine Ashi, which nullified his appointment, has not been set aside or vacated and therefore it’s subsisting.

“Once again, he is currently an illegal chairman given the decisions of the courts, the constitution of the PDP, decision of the national convention coupled with his act of breaking and gaining entry into the national secretariat of our party, Wadata Plaza.”

Adeyeye also disowned the report of the Reconciliation Committee presented to Sheriff by its Chairman, Mr. Seriake Dickson, who is also the Governor of Bayelsa State.

He said the committee was illegal, arguing that it had since ceased from existing because the party did not have any standing committee.

Adeyeye stated that the committee, like others, had been dissolved and that its report was therefore not acceptable.

“We respect our Governor, Seriake Dickson, and acknowledge his effort towards holding the next National Convention but he acted hastily and presented the proposal in error to Senator Sheriff,” he added.

Adeyeye said though his faction was still interested in finding a solution to the crisis in the party, there was no way the faction would allow Sheriff to preside over the proposed national convention.

“We want to state unequivocally that the party will not hold any National Convention under the leadership of Senator Sheriff. We are determined to pursue the matter before the Supreme Court conclusively in the interest of justice, equity, fair play and democracy in general,” Adeyeye stated.

But Sheriff, who spoke through Bernard Mikko, said he didn’t appeal the high court judgment, which sacked him, because he was never a party to the case.

He stated that it was sad that the Makarfi group had decided to pursue its appeal at the Supreme Court, adding that the apex court did not belong to anyone.

Mikko added, “Sheriff was never a party to the case they are talking about, so he couldn’t have been affected.

“On the issue of finding a political solution, we all agreed to it. But if they say they are going to the Supreme Court now, that’s okay. We will meet there.

“The court was never made for anyone. They have the right to appeal the judgment. We have no objections to this.”

He equally said that it was wrong for the group to reject the Dickson committee report.

“They can’t reject what was not submitted to them. The former National Chairman, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, set up the committee and the committee worked.

“We want to do the convention and they are saying no. Who are they working for?”

Stop insulting my person, enough is enough, Sheriff tells Fayose

Sheriff, on Thursday, warned the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to desist from making what he described as “derogatory remarks” against him, saying “enough is enough.”

Sheriff also defended the medical trip of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that every living human being could be sick, and that the sickness of anybody should not be made a political issue.

The former Borno State governor spoke with journalists in Abuja after the meeting of members of the PDP National Working Committee, where he stated that the party had accelerated the recommendations of the party’s Standing Committee on Reconciliation, headed by Dickson.

On Fayose, Sheriff said, “Let me make it clear to some of the party members, particularly, Ayo Fayose. I will not condescend to his level.

“I must be very clear to him, party has rules and we will look at the constitution at the appropriate time to do the right thing. He has made it a point of duty; every day, he will be insulting Ali Sheriff. I want to tell him that enough is enough.

“Belonging to a political party is by choice. Yes, you may have a right, but your right should not trample on another person’s right. Political party is a voluntary association. If you are a leader of a political party, we have to allow people to have their choice of leadership.

“In all these things we are doing, we believe that the PDP belongs to all Nigerians, we believe that PDP must be handed over to the owners.

“That does not mean a sign of weakness. The PDP has produced 28 governors, and today it has 12. If we allow impunity to continue, Nigerians have the right to reject our party. You can take a horse to the river but you can’t force it to drink.

“We can make this party attractive to everybody. We want to reposition the party so that it can win elections. Nobody has the monopoly to do what he is doing, like we don’t have the rule of law.”

On Buhari’s medical vacation, Sheriff believes the absence of the President has not affected the issue of governance in the country. He said the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had been conducting the affairs of governance creditably.

He said, “Every living human being, including you, will get sick. Sickness of anybody should not be a political issue. If people believe that because a president of a country is sick, we now act on the newspaper to make it a political issue, that means we are not a good opposition party. I don’t think it is correct because in this country, there are sets of rule.

On Dickson recommendations, Sheriff said it would be subjected to further approval by the National Executive Committee of the PDP, adding that all organs of the party would be required to submit the list of their members to facilitate the nomination of members to the convention planning committee.

He explained that he had taken it upon himself to unite all party members. He said that he had spoken to all governors of the party, including Fayose, with the exception of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike.

Meanwhile, Fayose has restated his opposition to the Dickson committee report.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Thursday, Fayose said, “I respect Governor Dickson; he is my brother and he is entitled to his own personal opinion just as I am entitled to mine. But I must state it categorically that no genuine lover of the PDP will take part in a convention sponsored by the APC.

“All constitutionally recognised organs of the party, including staff of the national secretariat, are with the Markafi led Caretaker Committee and since political party is about membership, Sheriff will continue to carry with himself the burden of lack of legitimacy.”

The governor, who said he had nothing against Dickson, added that the implementation of the report was beyond Sheriff.

“With the APC calling for support for Sheriff, it should be clear to all genuine lovers of the PDP who are those behind the crisis in the party.

“I am speaking for myself and the entire people of Ekiti State that I represent; we won’t be part of any PDP convention sponsored by the APC and I must state categorically that Sheriff is being sponsored 100 per cent by the APC.

PDP Reps clash again over Makarfi, Sheriff

The division in the PDP caucus of the House of Representatives deepened on Thursday as two groups held separate meetings at the National Assembly.

One of the groups had only two members who made public appearance.

The main caucus, led by the House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, is backing the Makarfi-led caretaker committee of the party.

The majority of the 134 members of the caucus belong to this group.

Another faction, led by a member from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, is backing Sheriff as the PDP chairman.

The Agbonayinma group goes under the name of ‘Concerned PDP House of Representatives members’.

It claims to have “other members”, who are backing Sheriff. It has endorsed the reconciliation efforts of Dickson.

“We endorse Sheriff the National Chairman of our great party and commend Dickson and members of the reconciliation committee for their bold initiative in resolving the long-lasting crisis in the party,” Agbonayinma told a news conference soon after his own meeting ended.

However, it was only one member from Ekiti State, Mr. Oni Olamide, who appeared at the session with him.

Ogor had earlier convened a meeting of the main caucus, where they agreed to back Makarfi.

When contacted for his reaction to the moves by the Agbonayinma group, Ogor dismissed them as “unknown quantity.”

He added, “I have 140 members, but one or two may have contrary opinion. That does not mean that the caucus is not intact. We are focussed.

“How many are these people who call themselves ‘concerned PDP Reps?’ Let them mention five members in that group.

“The caucus speaks with one voice and we have decided to meet with the PDP governors in conjunction with our colleagues in the Senate.

“By Tuesday, next week, you will hear more. We believe that there is a case before the Supreme Court, which must be pursued to the letter.”

Asked whether the caucus was in support of the reconciliation efforts by Dickson, the minority leader stated that Dickson had yet to consult the National Assembly on whatever he was doing.

“We are very important stakeholders and Dickson has not consulted us,” he added.

On his views on whether a political solution could resolve the crisis, Ogor said a political solution would not stop the case at the Supreme Court from going on till the end.

He said Sheriff was functioning illegally at the national secretariat with only three National Working Committee officers, adding that the quorum of the NWC remained two-thirds, that is, eight members.

The Rep stated that the appointment of Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh and Mr. Bernard Mikko as members of the NWC was illegal as they were neither elected into the NWC nor were they appointed to the NWC by the NEC.  (Punchng)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

PDP: Makarfi Will Lose At Supreme Court, North Will Break In 2019, Says Primate Ayodele

babatunde-elijahayodele

Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele

By Seun Opejobi

Founder and General Overseer of the INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, has predicted that ousted Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmed Makarfi will not get justice at the Supreme Court.

Ayodele’s prophecy is coming at the heels of Makarfi’s decision to challenge the Port Harcourt Appeal Court ruling which affirmed former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic Chairman of the party.
Addressing journalists, the INRI founder also alleged that the seat of the Presidency is cursed, adding that the curse started since the era of Tafawa Balewa.
The clergyman warned that if the curse is not reversed, more misfortunes will befall anyone who occupies the seat.
Ayodele predicted the return of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar back to the fold of the PDP.
He said, “The Lord told me that there is a need to act on the presidency because, like I told you some months ago, there is a curse on the seat of the president since the time of Tafawa Balewa, and if this is not reversed, there is no one who will not have one misfortune or another. The people in power should take note.
“Fridays and Sundays should be dedicated to prayers for the Villa and this is the role of all religious leaders in the country.
“2019 will break northern Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress. Makarfi will not get justice at the Supreme Court while Atiku will return to the PDP and most of the people there who want to contest will not get a ticket. The former vice president may not achieve his mission there because Sheriff has a mission.
“I see a new party, a kind of strong alliance is coming; it is neither PDP nor APC.”               (Daily Post Nigeria)

Continue reading

Image

Sheriff Asks Court To Jail Makarfi, Obi, Others, For Contempt

 modu-sheriff

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to jail his arch-rival, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and some of his loyalists.

Apart from the former governor of Kaduna State, Sheriff, who is also a former governor of Borno State, also listed three other prominent leaders of the party as those to be jailed by the appellate court.

Sheriff and the National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, accused Makarfi and others of flouting the order of the court, which was delivered on February 17, 2017.

The court, in the judgment, had pronounced Sheriff as the national chairman of the party while it also upheld that Oladipo remained its national secretary.

Apart from Makarfi, 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).

He also listed a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, among the alleged contemnors.

Sheriff, in suit number FHC/ PH/CS/524/16, asked the court to commit the four persons to prison for one year over the alleged contempt.

Apart from the four named above, the PDP national chairman also listed a former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha; a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Senator Walid Jibrin; and an aspirant to the office of the party’s national chairman, Chief Bode George, as alleged contemnors.

However, he 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 1st to 3rd  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 and the Department of State Services.

The duo asked the court to stop 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, they also asked 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.

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.”

He added, “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 4th to 8th Alleged Contemnors made statements encouraging the 1st to 3rd 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 it was on this basis that the alleged contemnors placed notices in newspapers, where they convened a meeting of what they called “PDP stakeholders.”

He stated, “The said meeting was held on Monday, February 20, and was attended by the 4th to 8th alleged contemnors, who made further statements encouraging the 1st to 3rd alleged contemnors to defy the holdings and order of the court.”

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 (SAN), who was joined by two other SANs – Dr Alex Izinyon and B. E. Nwofor – among others.

The lawyers said, “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 1st 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.”

Markarfi and the other faction of the party are believed to have filed an application seeking a 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.  (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Sheriff Wants To Be President, He Is Spreading Falsehood, Says Makarfi

ahmed-makarfi

Sen. Ahmed Makarfi

 

The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmed Makarfi, speaks with TOLUWANI ENIOLA on the party’s crisis and why reconciliatory moves failed

You were expecting victory at the Court of Appeal which recently recognised Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party. How did you feel about the judgment?

When you have a case before a court, you can be hopeful but you cannot be too sure of the outcome. We are not members of the bench so we could not have known the outcome of the case. We believed we had a good chance of winning at the appellate court. We respect the justices as individuals but we do not accept their judgment. This is why we are appealing against their judgment at the Supreme Court. We will follow due process. It has nothing to do with their personalities as justices of the Court of Appeal. The crux of the matter is that we believe that our convention was not a breach of any court order. The only court order was that election into offices should not take place. There was no court order stopping the convention and we did not hold any election. A convention has many powers. A convention is not just about the election. It can even dissolve the party. It can promulgate a new constitution. So, who says a convention is only about electing leaders for the party?

Why are you challenging the ruling at the Supreme Court when the Sheriff faction claimed there was a mutual agreement between both factions to obey the outcome of the Court of Appeal?

The problem with Sheriff and his men is the spread of falsehood. That is why people are reluctant to sit down and talk with them and resolve this issue. Remember that recently, former President Goodluck Jonathan had to address journalists on the fact that he never endorsed Sheriff as the national chairman. They only capitalised on their visit to the former president to plant lies in the media. Now, to answer you specifically, there was never a time when such an agreement was made. The only agreement we had was the one before the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, and the Director General of the Department of State Services before the initial High Court judgment in Port Harcourt. We agreed that whoever won the judgment would be allowed to function and the offices would be opened. We won that judgment. But when we won, Sheriff didn’t keep his words. They reneged on the agreement and went ahead to appeal the (High Court) judgment. That is why we are here today. We never had any agreement after that incident. That purported agreement as claimed by the Sheriff faction is a continuation of their spread of falsehood.

Let me say categorically that Sheriff is not even obeying the Court of Appeal judgment which seems to be in his favour. This is because what it (court) said, which we are appealing against, is that the status quo before the May 21 convention should be complied with. This means that all national officers of the PDP such Uche Secondus, who was the deputy national chairman, and other national officers should be restored to their positions. But he (Sheriff) has refused to obey the court on this; he has continued to parade Dr Cairoh Ojougboh as deputy national chairman and kept others in the national executive positions. Were those people in such positions before the May 21 convention? So, we should see Sheriff and his people the way they are. We are not working against anybody. But after attempting (to mend fences) several times, they would renege and shift the goal post when we are about to make some progress. That discourages people a lot.

In the interest of lasting peace, why can’t your committee just decide to accept Sheriff as the national chairman?

We are challenging it (Court of Appeal judgment) not because of the PDP. If we allow this judgment to stand unchallenged, it means the issue of a convention in a political party has become useless. It would rubbish the power of convention of any political party. That is not good for democracy. This is why we must appeal against it, not because the PDP is affected. Tomorrow, it could be any other party. It is a setback for the growth of democracy because it makes nonsense of conventions of political parties. We are an evolving democracy. We believe the Supreme Court would look at this from all angles and ultimately correct any wrongs.

What would you do if the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment eventually favours Sheriff? Will you support him?

It will be a sad development if that happens. As I said, it is not just about the PDP. Sheriff is simply trying to nullify the powers of a convention in the PDP. If he prevails with this, any individual can hold a political party to ransom. We are also not docile or folding our arms. We are looking at all options and alternatives. When we get to the river, we know how to cross it. I cannot say what will happen after the Supreme Court judgment but when we get to that state, we will make a decision.

There have been allegations that the PDP crisis is being sponsored by the All Progressives Congress to weaken the party ahead of the 2019 general election. How true is this claim?

Recently, Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, issued a statement in which he supported Sheriff and congratulated him on the appellate court’s judgment. What business does an APC governor have with the PDP that he has to publicly support one side of the PDP divide and condemn the other? What kind of uncivilised, undemocratic attitude is Okorocha putting up? It is unacceptable. At least, he has come out to do that. Before then, there was a presidential aide that congratulated Sheriff after the judgment. We should ask, which of them in the APC came out to congratulate us (Makarfi faction) when we won at the High Court? That does not mean I don’t have friends and associates in the APC. I have many of them even though we disagree politically but we are not enemies. If you want to join the APC or PDP, there is no crime in that. You can build your personal relationships and maintain it separately from political matters. That is how a democracy should operate. Why should Okorocha start interfering in the PDP’s affairs and even go to the extent of issuing a press release to congratulate Sheriff? He condemned us and called us power-hungry people and all kinds of names.

Are you saying that Okorocha and the APC-led Federal Government are sponsoring Sheriff?

There is undisputable proof that the APC is using Sheriff and his men to destabilise the PDP.

Why won’t your committee allow Sheriff to be the chairman?

Sheriff has perfected plans to be the presidential candidate of the party. That is his agenda. Already, we are aware that Sheriff has changed the plans. He has plans to zone the national chairmanship to the South-South, which he has a candidate for. Apart from this, he wants to zone the position of the secretary to the North-East and he is preparing a candidate. All these are being done with the purpose of returning him as the presidential candidate of the party. These people go about talking recklessly and we got to hear.

The PDP party lost the Ondo and Edo governorship elections because of this factional crisis. Osun, Ekiti, and Anambra are fast approaching. What are your fears?

This is why we are praying that the Supreme Court should not just look at this as an internal party affair. This crisis affects every other election, even local government elections. Every now and then, the Independent National Electoral Commission would announce rerun elections, so we are in an election circle. That is why the Supreme Court must take our appeal very seriously and take the best decisions to save our democracy. Beyond that, we have also learnt our lessons.

You and Sheriff were on the verge to ending the crisis at some point. What went wrong in the reconciliation process?

What happened then was that we were supposed to nominate 15 persons from each side (faction). Sheriff wanted to solely chair the meeting and, of course, that was not acceptable to us. We recommended that since his side has 15 persons, let him choose who would lead that group, while we choose who would lead our group. This arrangement was to ensure that the two leaders of the groups would be the co-chairmen. We reasoned that this would not cause any problem. He didn’t accept. We never understood why he stood against the idea. Then he came again to say he did not want the initial arrangement. He said he and I should just meet privately and set up a committee. I said no, that I do not represent myself. I represent the party. I do not have a veto over their decisions.

Why did he ask for both of you to meet?

I don’t know. I don’t know what was on his mind but I don’t know why I should do something against the people who nominated me. That was not democratic.

Your tenure as the national caretaker committee chairman has been riddled with a crisis. Do you have any regrets since you were appointed?

Personally, this job is not what I bargained for. I told our leaders on several occasions that I was going to leave the job. Not just me, the caretaker committee members on a number of occasions had offered to quit.

Why didn’t you resign?

I had been prevailed upon repeatedly. People may even be thinking that holding on to the job is because I have personal ambitions. Such a report is completely false. If we quit, that would create more chaos and more confusion. That will not help the party. So, we had to persevere and make sacrifices until this matter was resolved.

The PDP is not an active opposition party. Some are saying you refuse to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari because you are from the North?

That is not true. We have a spokesman who has been doing that. It is not the main duty of the chairman to be doing that. It was Lai Mohammed that was criticising us then, he being the APC spokesperson. We have been responding to many issues. While we were the ruling party, we never interfered in the affairs of the APC, now we have interference in our party from the ruling party. Since Buhari assumed power, when did you hear Sheriff making any comment on any policy of the government? Anytime he made comments, it was usually against us and not the government.

What is your view of the President’s medical sojourn abroad?

There is a thin line between what is private and what is public, especially when you are a public office holder. I think what should happen is the complete transfer of power to the acting president so that the acting president is not encumbered by other federal officers who may want to undermine his powers and act effectively. We pray for him (Buhari) and wish for him a quick recovery. But we don’t want a vacuum, so there should be a complete transfer of powers to the vice president so that he can act well.

Some sections of the country such as the South-East and others have been complaining that they don’t have juicy positions. They have a right to complain. Buhari should listen to them. We are all Nigerians. Every geopolitical zone and people should be fairly treated whether they voted for Buhari or not. He should know that once you get elected, you become the president of the entire country. It is not just for those who elected him. The Buhari-led Federal Government has disobeyed many court rulings. That is the difference between the PDP and the APC. That is a striking difference. If the courts have granted anybody bail, that should be respected because the court considered all factors before they did that. The government should obey court judgments, not just for Nnamdi Kanu, but anybody who was taken to court.

You were a governor in Kaduna State. Are you satisfied with the way Governor Nasir el-Rufai is managing the Southern Kaduna crisis?

I had many challenges as governor but they are all different from the one he is facing now. He should make use of the Abdulsalami Abubakar committee’s report in order to ensure lasting peace in the area. Rightly or wrongly, there is a loss of trust and confidence between the communities and the government. I am not in a position to know the details. But when you perceive that there is mistrust, there is an urgent need for an arbiter, like an independent body, which the aggrieved parties would respect so that we can bring this killings and mayhem to a stop. I don’t want this matter to be politicised. It is not a political issue. Anything all of us can do to help the state government should be done.

You said the PDP has a great chance of returning to power in 2019. Don’t you think that the recent defections could affect the party ahead of the polls?

Defections are common political occurrences. Remember that when the PDP was in power, virtually all governors and National Assembly members were defecting to the PDP. Despite their defections to the PDP, we lost the election. When the time came, people started defecting again to the APC. So, you can’t say history will not repeat itself. History will definitely repeat itself. It is defections that would happen in early 2018 that should worry us. It is unfortunate that many people have become political migrants and nomadic politicians. They enjoy moving around. But defections are a not a sure sign of victory nor defeat for any political party. It is the electorate that will decide.

How can the PDP resolve its impasse?

A political solution is good if you are dealing with people who are honest. The Supreme Court should review our appeal very carefully and allow this matter to end as expeditiously as possible. It is human to disagree; we can’t do away with that. Nobody should think it is a terminal end. Look at where the majority of the people are and respect it. If we really want to win an election, we should know the kind of people that can rule this party. PDP leaders are not the ones that make us win elections. It is the voters. So we have to consider voter reaction to the people we put forward to lead our party. (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Sheriff Moves To Occupy PDP National Secretariat |The Republican News

National chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, said yesterday that the party’s national secretariat, popularly known as Wadata Plaza, would be re-opened not later than tomorrow.

He also said those against his chairmanship should wait till after the party’s national convention, though he did mention when it would be held.

The Wadata Plaza was sealed by the police in 2016 as a result of the sharp division in the party.

Addressing a delegation of South-West PDP at his Maitama office in Abuja, Sheriff said he had transmitted all the documents necessary for the re-opening of the party’s headquarters, saying his ultimate goal was to rebuild the party.

He said he came to the party through a process and that he would cease to be chairman after the convention.

Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, stated that he would not join issues with those against him, and called on the party’s chieftains not to divide it.

”We have no argument with anybody. The law is certain; Nigerians have spoken. Some of the people you see, they actually don’t know where their villages are. They sit in Abuja and decide to make unnecessary statements.

“In the name of God, let’s rebuild this party. Don’t divide the party. Let everybody unite in order to rebuild the party. I beg Fayose to respect PDP and the people of Nigeria. I beg him. Whatever you say today, posterity will judge you, so I beg him. Let’s tell Nigerians that our party is for all.

“I am not going to be chairman forever.  I will leave office after the convention; we will do a credible convention. Whoever is against me should wait until after the convention,” Sheriff said.  (thenigerian.ng)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

I Will Quit As Chairman After PDP Convention, Says Modu Sheriff

alimodusheriff

Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has said he is ready to vacate office after the national convention of the party, where new officers will be elected for the former ruling party.

He, however, warned governors, elected on the platform of the PDP, not to divide the party.

Sheriff was, on Friday, declared the rightful National Chairman of the PDP by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday when he received members of the party from the South-West, the former Borno State governor stated that he was ready to leave office as “soon as a national convention is held and new national officers are produced.”

Sheriff’s guests were led by the zonal and state officials of the party from the six states in the geopolitical zone, except Lagos State.

Five chairmen of the party in five states in the zone – Hakeem Taiwo (Oyo); Ajayi Williams (Ekiti); Soji Adagunodo (Osun); Biyi Poroye (Ondo); and Adebayo Dayo (Ogun) – were on the entourage.

He said he would leave office after the election of officials, who, he said, must be the choice of the people.

“Ali Modu Sheriff is not here to remain as national chairman. As soon as we hold our national convention, I’m leaving.

“I will make sure that we do a credible convention and we elect leaders that are accepted by the grass roots; that is our mission. I will do that by the grace of God,” he said.

Sheriff, who was flanked by some of the reinstated national officers, among who was the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, said the governors were critical to the repositioning of the party.

He stated that he was aware of the many unprintable names he had been called since the Court of Appeal pronounced him as the national chairman of the party, stressing that he would not take issue with those calling him such names, particularly, the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

Sheriff said, “I plead in the name of God, let’s bring peace to the PDP. Let us build this party. If you like and you want to change something, wait for the convention and vote for the person you like and Nigerians and the world will see that you’re are validly elected by the PDP.

“Yes, our governors are very important; they are leaders of this party in their own right. They don’t have to divide the party.

“I will not come down to the level of Fayose. I beg him to respect the PDP; whatever he said about me, posterity will judge him. He should devote more energy and time for the rebuilding of the PDP.”

He noted that his victory at the court was not for himself alone, but for all members of the party. He appealed to the governors and other members of the PDP to be cautious in their utterances.

“People can vent their anger and say what they want but as a leader and a father to all, I want to make sure the party is united.

“I have no issue to take with anybody. My task is to reposition the PDP and bring it back to its position in 1999,” Sheriff stated.

The PDP chairman explained that he was already working with security agencies on how to reopen the party’s national secretariat shut since May 2016.

The police shut the secretariat, located at Zone 5, Wuse District of Abuja, following clashes between a faction of the party loyal to Sheriff and another faction loyal to the sacked national caretaker committee, headed by a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Sheriff said, “Between now and Friday, we will move back to the secretariat. We have transmitted all the legal documents to police and the Department of State Services that intervened at some point in time to avoid chaos.”

Sheriff, who is still facing stiff opposition from the governors, the majority members of the Board of Trustees and statutory organs of the party, said there was an agreement between him and the Makarfi faction not to go to the Supreme Court after the appeal court judgment.

“Makarfi and I resolved that whatever was the outcome of the appeal court that we will not destroy our party; that once we get the judgment from the court of appeal that, it would be the final judgment for everybody.

“We spoke to all Nigerians about this; it is on record. But all the same, everybody has the right to do what he wants to do. But it is good to place on record that we had an agreement,” he stated.

The South-West Zonal Chairman of the party, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, urged Sheriff to unite the party by seeing himself as a father of all members.

Makanjuola said members of the party from the zone would support him in his desire to reposition the PDP.

“South-West is very settled behind you. This is the beginning of the battle, but you must see yourself as the father of all. Bring everybody on board. You won the battle for all members of the PDP,” he added.

He urged Sheriff to lead the PDP to win the governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states, saying, “Only then can this victory go down well.”

Meanwhile, Makarfi has restated his plan to pursue the case to its logical conclusion.

Makarfi said this in a statement issued by a member of his faction, Dayo Adeyeye.

He said, “They should comply fully with the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The status quo ante May 21, 2016, is the full National Working Committee elected at previous conventions and not the cronies that he singlehandedly appointed and who are parading themselves as officers of the party.

“We remain resolute in our determination to pursue our case to its logical conclusion in the interest of justice and the Nigerian democracy.”   (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading