PDP crisis: Sheriff, Makarfi clash over planned convention

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and the Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, have disagreed again over the plan to hold the party’s national convention.

While Sheriff insisted that he would go ahead with the plan to hold the convention, Makarfi said doing so would prejudice the outcome of the ongoing litigation over the leadership of the party at the Supreme Court.

The Makarfi group has approached the apex court, asking it to nullify the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which nullified the election of the caretaker committee.

The judgment of the appellate court, which restored the leadership of Sheriff, has been used by the former governor of Borno State to gain access to the party’s national secretariat.

This has been criticised by the Makarfi group, saying the Police refused to open the secretariat for it when it won at the Federal High Court.

It alleged that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was behind the Sheriff faction, adding that the Police ought to have waited till the determination of its appeal at the Supreme Court before opening the gates to the secretariat for any of the factions.

But Sheriff, who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, told our correspondent that the plan for the convention would go on despite the case.

He, however, said the planned National Executive Committee meeting of the party, earlier scheduled to hold early in the week, was shelved because of the case, which comes up today.

He said the party, under the leadership of the former governor of Borno State, was meeting with its lawyers for what he described as strategy.

Ojougboh stated, “We are progressing with the plan to hold the convention, even though we have postponed the NEC meeting because we are meeting with our lawyers over the case which comes up at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

“The postponement of the NEC meeting is strategic because we need to put heads together to challenge the appeal by the renegade group in our party.

“We are sure of winning the case because the court is a temple of justice and we expect no less than that.

“The law is blind and when its principles are faithfully applied, justice will be fully served. We are absolutely optimistic that justice will be served because no one owns the court.”

He denied an insinuation that the NEC meeting was cancelled because of the fear that it could be boycotted by the majority of its members.

The PUNCH learnt that the majority of members of the party’s Board of Trustees had pitched tent with the Makarfi-led caretaker committee.

Efforts made by former President Goodluck Jonathan to reconcile the two factions have also met a brick wall as Sheriff and members of his team walked out of the meeting called by the former President to resolve the crisis.

But Makarfi said he would not be surprised if Sheriff decided to go ahead with the convention, contending that such an action would be unfortunate.

The former governor, who spoke through a member of the caretaker committee, Dayo Adeyeye, on Wednesday, stated that the Sheriff group was known for taking the law into its own hands.

He said, “We won’t be surprised if they go ahead with their so-called national convention.

“Don’t forget that the case on the leadership is still pending at the Supreme Court, yet they said they want to go ahead; that is lawlessness.

“Are they assuming that they are going to win the case or what? If they now lose, what happens? Let them go ahead with their illegality.

“We are not surprised because they are used to illegality. So, let them continue, but we know it won’t last.”

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