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Obanikoro, PDP Bigwigs Joining APC Soon, Says APC Lagos Chairman

MusiliuObanikoro

Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Henry Ajomale, has said the party is stepping up arrangements to welcome former minister of state for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ajomale, who gave the hint in an interview with newsmen in Ikeja, yesterday, said Obanikoro is coming into the APC along with other bigwigs of the state’s PDP.
The party chairman said Obanikoro and others had reached out to the party to resolve their issues with it and all was set for their formal defection.
He said Wednesday’s defection of Lukman Ajose, a PDP bigwig, would open a floodgate of defections from the PDP to the APC in the coming days.
“We welcome Prince Ajose to the APC. His defection is a plus for us,” he said.
“But, Ajose is not the only one joining us. Some of the bigwigs in the PDP, including Obanikoro, will be joining us soon. I don’t want to give you a particular date, but all I can tell you is all is set.”
Ajomale said the coming of Ajose into the party, as well as other PDP members would add value to the party and enhance its electoral fortune.
He said their coming was particularly gladdening as the party was preparing for the council poll and making early preparations for the general election in 2019.
Asked if the mass movement of PDP members into the party would not weaken the opposition and make the state a one-party state, Ajomale answered in the negative.
He said since the PDP was not the only party in the opposition, it would be wrong to say the decimation of the party through defection would make the state a one-party state.
Ajomale described as false allegations in some quarters that the party was imposing candidates in some council areas ahead of the July elect ahead of the July election.
The chairman said those making the allegations were blackmailers who were not sure of themselves and their ability to win at the party primary.
“It is pure blackmail. There is nothing like that. Everybody will be allowed a level playing ground,” he said.
The Lagos State independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has fixed July 22 for the council election and July 29 for runoff.
Meanwhile, NAN quoted a source at the Lagos state house of assembly as saying one of the remaining two PDP members in the assembly had already indicated his intention to defect to the APC and his letter would likely be read at the next sitting of the lawmakers.
Six of the eight lawmakers who won their elections to the house on the platform of the PDP had earlier defected to the APC on February 16.   (The Sun)

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3000 APC, PDP Members Defect To APGA In Anambra State |The Republican News

…As Aguleri youths berate Ezeonwuka over comments

From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu and Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia

About 3,000 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ugbene community, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The defectors, led by the National Chairman of Ugbene Great Ambassadors Club, Chief Aaron Onwelukwue, disclosed that their defection was informed by Governor Willie Obiano’s “sterling performance in office” which they crave its continuity.

Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Chief Chikodi Anara, and Chairman of APGA in the community, Mr. Cajethan Anako, while receiving the defectors pointed out that the people of the area had made informed choice by joining the party.

He described APGA as a movement which all well-meaning Igbo men should identify with.

“Governor Obiano is embarking on long term investment for the future of our children. So, Ugbene people have taken the right decision to join APGA,” Anara said.

Meanwhile, youths from Governor Obiano’s home-town, Aguleri in Anambra State, have berated a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of APGA, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, over his claim that APGA was not ready for the November 18 gubernatorial election.

The youths, under the aegis of Aguleri National Youth Association said the fears raised by Ezeonwuka were misplaced as they insisted that the APGA chieftain lacked necessary information.

The National President of Aguleri National Youth Association, Nnamdi Ikeli, who replied Ezeonwuka in a statement, expressed optimism that Obiano would return for a second term.

He urged the general public to disregard the statement credited to Ezeonwuka, saying, “he made an illusionary statement that is not only far from the truth, but one which lacks iota of political awareness and events in Anambra for the past three years.”

Ikeli noted that Ezeonwuka was becoming old, which might have affected his political reasoning in recent times, pointing out that there had never been a time Aguleri people lost in any challenge or war which was a clear indication that “God is always on our side just like the Israelites.”

He said the APGA government in Anambra State has performed creditably well under Governor Obiano, which has secured his second term chance.

He said Governor Obiano would not only win the November 18 gubernatorial election, but also with a high margin, boasting that no other political party in the state would be able to challenge APGA in terms of acceptance, political mobilisation and demonstration of goodwill to Anambra people.

“We, therefore, use this medium to call on well-meaning Anambrarians to disregard such statement from Chief Ezeonwuka and concentrate on their respective vocations while enjoying the dividends of democracy inherent in the Obiano’s administration,” he said, cautioning against any form of rigging during the poll.         

Also speaking, the Chairman, Anambra State Housing Corporation, Chief Godson Ezenagu and the leader of Ugbene Ambassadors, Chief Fabian Ekwuazu and the Caretaker Committee Chairman for Awka North, Emeka Onwuzuka, in their separate speeches urged the people to work for the victory of Obiano in the upcoming election in the state.   (The Sun)

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BREAKING: PDP Crisis: Supreme Court Rules In Favour Of Makarfi Faction

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Ahmed Makarfi and Ali-Modu Sheriff

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application filled by a factional leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali-Modu Sheriff, asking the court not to hear a motion by his challenger, Ahmed Makarfi.

Mr. Sheriff had asked the court to refuse hearing on the application filed by Mr. Makarfi, challenging the February 17 judgement of the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt which made Mr. Sheriff leader of the PDP.

At the opening of the hearing on Monday, Mr. Sheriff’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi, said the application was an abuse of court process because Mr. Makarfi ought to have requested the leave of court before making the application.

Mr. Olujimi prayed the court to dismiss the application.

Responding, Mr. Makarfi’s lawyer, Wole Olanikpekun, prayed the court to disregard the argument of Mr. Olujimi, describing them as baseless.

In a short ruling on the application, a five-member panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, said the application by Mr. Makarfi was considered valid since it complied with the rules of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Onnoghen said according to the Supreme Court rules, an application challenging a decision of a lower court ought to have come within three months after the ruling of the lower court.

He said the apex court had taken note of the fact that the case was decided at the lower court in February, while the motion at the Supreme Court was filed less than three months after the ruling by the lower court.

He therefore gave a unanimous ruling in favour of the Makarfi faction, and awarded an unstated cost against the faction led by Mr. Sheriff.   (Primium Times)

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PDP: Anxiety As Supreme Court Case Commences Today |The Republican News

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From Ndubuisi Orji,  Abuja

There is anxiety within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Supreme Court  commences hearing  on the party’s leaderships tussle today.

The apex court is adjudicating over an appeal filed by the PDP Caretaker Committee challenging the Appeal Court, Port Harcourt judgment,  which affirmed Senator  Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.

The Appeal Court in its judgment also declared the PDP May 21, 2016 National Convention,  where the caretaker committee was appointed after the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) led by Sheriff , as null and void.

Sheriff, through his counsel, Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), had filed a motion challenging the competence of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee to file the appeal in the name of the PDP. 

The Supreme Court,  it was gathered, would be taking the motion alongside the substantive suit.

Recently, activities at the National Headquarter of the PDP, Wadata House, where Sheriff operates from have grounded to a halt.

Apart from the presence of security officials and party officials who breeze into the secretariat once in a while,  the PDP headquarter is more or less a dead zone.

Party sources said this is because of apprehension over where the Supreme Court judgment would swing to.

Daily Sun gathered that the Sheriff group has put on hold some of its planned programme,  pending the ruling of the Supreme Court on its motion challenging the locus of the caretaker committee to file an appeal in the name of the PDP,  without the permission of the national chairman.

Also, activities in the temporary secretariat of the caretaker committee located in Wuse, in the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT),  Abuja has also died down completely.

However, both Sheriff and Makarfi camps told Daily Sun yesterday, in separate telephone interviews, that it is not true that they are apprehensive over the Supreme Court  case.

According to Sheriff’s deputy,  Cairo Ojoughoh, they are on the side of the law,  so there is no need to be afraid.

“Why would we be apprehensive when we are on the side of the law. We are sure that the Supreme Court will do what is right,” Ojoughoh stated.

On his part,  the legal adviser of the caretaker committee,  Dave Iorhemba, said the committee has a good case.

He said: “We are not apprehensive. Our case is good. We want the Supreme Court to make a prouncement on the place of party convention in the affairs of political party, not just the PDP.  We have a good case before the court.”

This is coming as the Minority Leader,  House of Representatives, Hon Leo Ogor,  has called on the Supreme Court to expedite on the PDP leaderships tussle.

Ogor,  who said they are awaiting on the verdict of the apex,  told Daily Sun in an interview that the earlier the Supreme Court gives its judgment on the party dispute,  the better for the PDP.

The minority leader said the outcome of the Supreme Court case would determine their next action,  noting that he is convinced that the caretaker committee did not get a fair judgment from the Appeal Court.

“For us,  we wait on the Supreme Court. And like I have always said,  justice delayed is justice denied. The Supreme Court will do us a major favour by coming out with a clear position as soon as possible,  because various elections are taking place at the moment.

“And it is important that this matter is taken care of for once and for all.

“I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we didn’t get fair judgment from the Court of Appeal,  that is why we have ran to the Supreme Court. Whatever decision that comes out from the Supreme Court,  we will take our next step from there.

“We know we are at the final bus stop, whatever comes out from there,  the next step will be taken,” Ogor stated.


… ‘Why apex court can’t hear Makarfi group’s appeal’ –Shefiff, Ladipo

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

As the Supreme Court resumes sitting today over the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party led by Ali Modu Sheriff (as Chairman), Prof. Wale Oladipo (as Secretary) said the Makarfi Committee, having been declared illegal by the February 17, 2017  judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, lacked the powers to take decisions for the party, including  initiating court proceedings in its name.

The sacked National Caretaker Committee of the party led by Ahmed Makarfi in  an appeal marked: SC/133/2017 before the Supreme Court is challenging the judgement of the court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division which declared the Senator Sheriff-led National Executive Committee as the authentic leadership of the party.

But in a written arguments in support of an application filed on March 21, 2017 seeking the striking out of the appeal, the Senator Sheriff-led NEC of the party said having been sacked by the Court of Appeal, the Makarfi Committee, lacked the powers to take decisions for the party, including  initiating court proceedings in its name.

The written addresss was filed on May 10 in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directive on May 4, 2017. The PDP leadership is contending that the Makarfi Committee did not obtain the necessary authorisation of the PDP to appeal in its name and on its behalf, because the PDP under the current leadership, was comfortable with the Appeal Court  judgment and did not intent to challenge it.

It further contented, in the address written by a group of lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), that since the Court of Appeal, in its February 17 judgment, declared that Sheriff-led NEC as the authentic leadership organ of the PDP, the Makarfi-led Committee could no longer pursue an appeal in the name of the party.

The Sheriff-led PDP leadership argued that the decision of the Makarfi committee to file an appeal in the name of the PDP without its (the party’s) authorisation was not only illegal butviolated the party’s constitution.

Relying on the provisions of Chapter 5, Articles 35(1), 36(1) and 42(1) of the PDP constitution, it argued that the party, with a corporate personality, could only act through the principal national officer, whose powers and functions are stated in the constitution.

It referred to a May 18, 2016 judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital territory (FCT) in suit No: FCT/HC/CV/1443/2016, ordering a return to status quo as at May 18, 2016 and the subsequent judgment of the Federal High Court in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016, to the effect that only the Sheriff NEC could instruct lawyers for the party, and urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal.

The Sheriff-led PDP leadership noted that it has not by its argument said the Makarfi Committee cannot appeal the May 17 judgment of the Appeal Court, having been parties in the case from the trial court, it (the Makarfi Committee) or its members could only appeal as interested parties after first, obtaining the court’s leave to so appeal.

In a counter argument, the Makarfi Committee, represented by a group of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), wants the court to discountenance the Sheriff NEC’s arguments and proceed to hear its appeal, in which it among others, urged the Supreme Court to set aside the Appeal Court judgment of February 17.

In its reply argument dated May 15, 2017, the Makarfi Committee queried the legitimacy of the application filed by the Sheriff-led NEC and argued that it was not only strange, but intended to frustrate the hearing of the main appeal.

It argued that it was wrong for Sheriff and others, who had briefed Akin Olujinmi (SAN) to represent them in the substantive appeal and had filed a respondents’ brief, in which they also made similar arguments in relation to the competence of the appeal, cannot again, brief Fagbemi to ask the court not to hear the appeal but to strike it out.

Relying on Order 8 Rule 6 (1), (2) and (4) of the Supreme Court’s Rules, the Makarfi Committee faulted the March 15, 2017 letter of the Sheriff-led NEC applying to withdraw the appeal and the subsequent application for its strike out. It argued that since the appeal was not filed by Sheriff and others, they lacked the right to apply to withdraw it.

The Makarfi-Committee argued that it was still a valid body with the power to file the appeal despite the Appeal Court judgment of February 17, 2017, because it was a creation of PDP’s highest decision making body, the National Convention, which disbanded the Sheriff-led NEC and preplaced it with the national Caretaker Committee.

In a response on point of law, filed by Fagbemi on May 18, the Sheriff-led NEC faulted all legal arguments by the Makarfi Committee, urged the court to discountenance its contention and hold that it lacked the locus standi to file an appeal in the name of the PDP, having been sacked by a subsisting judgment.

Meanwhile it was learnt yesterday that the Supreme Court has rescheduled the hearing of the appeal relating to the PDP leadership dispute for today (May 22).

The court had, on the last date, May 4, 2017 ordered the filing of the written briefs and adjourned to May 25 for hearing. It could not be ascertained yesterday what informed the court’s decision to bring the date forward.         (The Sun)

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PDP Will Not Win Any Seat In Abia Come 2019 – BB Apugo |The Republican News

A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Benedict Benjamin Apugo has said that the APC would win Abia, in 2019.
President Buhari last week went back to London over his health condition; do you think the president is still capable of carrying on with the affairs of the country effectively?
Mr. President has gone for a medical checkup just like any other human being could have done; I don’t see any strange thing in it. It is the people who are mischievous that are creating all these nonsense. But we here are praying that God Almighty will continue to grant the president good health to continue with the good intention he has for this country. I don’t think anybody should have cause to fear, he will return safely and continue with his good works.
The leadership of the National Assembly has come out openly to condemn the anti-corruption war by the present administration. What’s your take on this?
Well, the problem is that these people who are corrupt are fighting back but I don’t know the extent they will go. We need a strong judiciary to be able to handle these corruption cases. You see, when a corrupt person who looted his state goes to the senate, you bring a bill for anti-corruption court,  what do you think the person will do?” You think he will let it sail through? That is exactly what is happening. I don’t think the strategy being employed for the anti-corruption war is bad, but the people fighting back are making it look childish because most of them in the senate there are supposed to be in jail. Like my own former governor, he is supposed to be in jail. So, that is why it looks like nothing is happening. They are not supposed to say those words they said the other day. It makes mockery of the red chamber, they should guard their utterances and not to betray the trust the people have in them.
We were told that Gov Okezie Ikpeazu visited you last week Thursday for the first time since he became governor, how do you feel about the visit?
Well, I am an Abia indigene. You see sometimes our people don’t know how to play politics, for the fact that people belong to different political parties should not make them enemies. But because of the selfish posture of certain people that have managed Abia politics, that is why it looked like heaven fell down when Gov Okezie Ikpeazu came to pay me a courtesy call. Last week Thursday was the first time he was visiting since he became the governor. So, he is our governor and I use this opportunity to congratulate him for his victory even though it was Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) internal matter, but it is victory and I congratulate him for that.
People are of the opinion that the governor’s visit was a bit late, do you see it that way?
Well, people are entitled to their opinions, they might see it that the visit came very, very late, but the fact remains he visited and I have accepted him. I accepted him because he is not TA Orji’s governor; he is governor for all Abians. Like I have always said, within this period he is governor of Abia State, he should use it to answer his name which is Ikpeazu, not TA Orji because I believe he has been answering the name of his predecessor. He (Ikpeazu) is a young man who should have his name immortalised for what he will do in Abia State.
Now that Ikpeazu is going to be the governor of the state till 2019, do you think he is going to bring the much needed infrastructural development to Abia State?
If he wants to immortalise his name, like I told him when he visited me, he should work for Abia people and forget about using Abia money to give T.A Orji as a way of paying him back for facilitating his election. I am repeating it; he should use such money to develop Abia state instead of sharing it out to people who do not mean well for the state.
What are those things you will want the governor to do while in office?
I made the governor to understand that we cannot develop Abia without an outlet and the easiest outlet Abia should have is the Airport, whether it is cargo or airstrip where somebody can fly from Abuja or Lagos and land, go round Abia and see places to enable him or her decide on the type of investment he would want to invest in, in the state. I advised the governor on job creation and also on the need to develop our tourist sites that will enable people to visit Abia state because nobody is coming here; the immediate past governor, T.A Orji killed this state. Nobody comes to Abia state and if people don’t come, how would they know that there is a place call Abia state? I advised him on these and I believe very strongly will do something about them.
Do you see the visit as a way of trying to reach out to the opposition particularly those in the APC?

People may be saying with the visit, I will now be interested in what Abia state government is doing. But the fact remains that  over the years because of what has been happening, I have not been interested in Abia state government. I am interested in Abia state, not the government. I will be interested in Abia government if Gov Ikpeazu starts implementing one or two of those things I have asked him to do. I’m not talking about APC, if the governor wants to join APC he is free to join. APC is a political party that anybody can join and a lot of people are joining now. But when we say people are free to join APC, not people like T.A Orji because he is a political liability and will remain perpetually so.
What is your advice to those that contested the election with the governor and later took him to court, but lost?
My advice is that Ikpeazu should embrace them, he should even visit them and they too should take it as a game. I have said it earlier that because people are in different political parties should not make them enemies. So, Ikpeazu should embrace them, so that they can all work together for the interest of Abia people. And if they have advice, they should go and give him, Ikpeazu should open his hands and door and receive them. Ikpeazu should not be afraid of T.A Orji again because now, he has gotten some people backing him unlike before when he felt it was only T.A Orji that was backing him.
Abia state is controlled by PDP; recently you said your party APC will win the state in 2019. How possible with that be?
APC will make it in 2019. If Ikpeazu wants to join my party, like I said earlier, he is free, in fact everybody is free except the person I told you earlier is a political liability and everybody knows that. But if it is PDP, forget about that because it cannot win even council election.
APC will win in all the zones. Forget about what T.A Orji’s boast the other time, where he said he has never lost any election and he will continue to win. Where did he win the election? Did he win by getting three votes in his boot as a sitting governor? We know how he has been wining the elections and he knows that those things that have been aiding him are no longer there. He is now like a short distance runner who had always been aided by the wind to win his race and suddenly the wind ceases and the runner crashes out.
T.A Orji did not win anything; it was all those nonsense that happened during former President Goodluck Jonathan that aided him, he did not win anything. Even in our village here, when he backed some people to contest our village election, he lost all in Ibeku land and he has now resorted to using the court to remove the person that won. But we will make sure it does not happen.                   (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Former Minister Of State For Defence, Obanikoro Joins APC

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The former minister of state for defence and former Lagos state gubernatorial candidate of People Democratic Party, PDP, has  decamped from PDP to APC.

Musliu Obanikoro who is dealing with case of graft brought against him by the EFCC  has refunded a large sum of money he allegedly stole while he was the minister of state for defence under the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

A Source very close to the party informed The Republican New reporter about his move to APC.

It has been alleged by the public that many members of PDP and other opposition parties members, who feel that their hands are not clean with regards to economic crimes and other forms of corruptions quickly decamp to APC to avert the actions of EFCC.

Though, this has been disputed by APC, but it is very plausible indeed.

This is a developing story, and we will bring you the update later.

DETAILS LATER…………..

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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)

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