Embattled former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, yesterday rejected the resolutions reached by the Senator Walid Jibril-led Board of Trustees (BoT), saying that they fell short of expectations.
Specifically, Sheriff faulted the BoT for passing a vote of confidence on the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the party and also called for the resignation of Senator Jibril as the party’s BoT chairman, stressing that the board, on his (Jibril’s) watch, had deepened the party’s leadership crisis.
He also insisted on the resignation of the members of the Makarfi-led committee, which he maintained, is illegal, adding that he had been informed that well-meaning Nigerians had been urging Makarfi to resign.
The BoT had on Monday directed the Makarfi-led committee to hold the next national convention of the party in Abuja, and for the planning committee of the convention to be reconstituted. These were some of the demands by Sheriff.
In the build-up to the botched August 17 national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the BoT’s reconciliation committee, led by Prof Jerry Gana, had met with Sheriff over the leadership crisis rocking the party.
The former national chairman had, at the meeting, demanded that the national convention be held in Abuja and that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, be removed as head of the convention planning committee.
But deputy national chairman, of the Sheriff faction, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, yesterday, accused the BoT of aggravating the crisis in the party, stressing that their resolution ran contrary to an earlier decision reached with the Dickson/Mantu reconciliation committee over the leadership crisis.
“Having deliberated on the reported outcome of the Board of Trustees meeting of 29th August, 2016, we have resolved to state as follows:
“That the resolutions fall short of the decision reached with the Dickson/Mantu reconciliation committee; the agreement we had is that Sheriff should chair a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where Makarfi will attend as a member of the BOT; at the meeting, a chairman of the Convention Committee will be agreed upon, a new Convention Committee setup, including all other sub-committees – zoning, finance, accreditation, etc; the venue of the Convention will be in Abuja, where a new leadership of the party will emerge, internal democracy will be respected and confidence will return to the party,” he said in a statement, signed on behalf of Sheriff.
Sheriff further declared that his faction completely rejects the vote of confidence passed on the “illegal caretaker committee because a committee that has failed twice to successfully organise a convention on two occasions is a failure.
“Consequently, we can now confidently inform the general public that well-meaning Nigerians have been urging Senator Makarfi to resign to save democracy. We therefore call on his friends and associates and family to advise him to do the needful and resign now to save multiparty democracy in Nigeria and stop the impunity that has been the bane of internal democracy.”
He further alleged that Senator Walid Jibril’s chairmanship of the BoT had brought crisis to the party, noting that his tenure had expired as he had spent more than 10 years as secretary and chairman of BoT, which ran contrary to the party’s constitution.
Sheriff further said: “A party where we have eminently qualified persons like Senator David Mark, Babangida Aliyu and others cannot be led by unstable individuals controlled by the love for money.
“The source of irritation in the party is the still-born illegal caretaker committee, and the Board of Trustees should have advised that the illegality be addressed.
“Whereas the National Working Committee had agreed terms with the Reconciliation Committee on numerous occasions, the BoT will go public and make misguided and provocative statements. The leadership of the BoT must immediately be reconstituted to move the party forward.”
He added that “until we get it right and check impunity, the Nigerian opposition party won’t perform as required. As we move towards reconciliation, PDP should prevent any person or group from hijacking the party.”
He blamed the party’s failure in the 2015 general elections on impunity and vowed that, going forward, the PDP will become stronger.