By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was once again yesterday shut following the crisis rocking the party. When THISDAY got to the secretariat this morning, there was increased security presence unlike what used to be.
The shutting of the Wadata Plaza we, learnt followed a directive by the Inspector General of Police, Solomom Arase who in a bid to find lasting solution to the lingering crisis rocking the Party issued the order and convened a meeting with the two warring factions of the party.
Most of the staff who arrived for normal office duties met a brick wall as the gates were securely locked and manned by a detachment of officers and men of the Nigerian Police.
However, there were no further disturbances from any of the aggrieved groups that almost had a violent clash on Thursday. It was learnt that that security agencies had sent out words of caution to all the feuding parties that it would no longer tolerate any protest that may endanger public peace.
Also we gathered that following the Port Harcourt High Court ruling which further barred the ousted national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff from occupying the seat again, the embattled former governor of Borno State had pull back his supporters so as not to attract the wrath of law.
Speaking shortly after a PDP national caucus and governorship meeting the Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said the party was confident that justice would be done to the matters in court, adding that security agencies should always be on the side of what was right.
The crisis in the PDP blew open last Monday when the sacked former Chairman of the party, Sheriff stormed the secretariat with many of his supporters in an attempt to reclaim his position.
But less than two days after he stormed the National Secretariat of the Party along with his loyalists to take over as National Chairman, aggrieved youths sacked him from the national secretariat.
The group of youths under the aegis of PDP National Rebirth Group and PDP Concerned Rescue Group had invaded the party’s premises on Wednesday morning, sealed off the party’s national headquarters and handed the keys over to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin.
The sequence of events that led to the present state of affairs in the PDP began shortly after the party was slammed with a Lagos High Court injunction barring elections into three principal offices, the National chairman, National Secretary and Auditor.
Sheriff and two other members of the dissolved PDP NWC, the former National Secretary, Prof. Adewole Oladipo and National Auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju had approached. a Federal High Court, Lagos praying for an interlocutory injunction restraining PDP from conducting any election into the offices of the national chairman, national secretary and national auditor which they occupied, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
They got the court to bar the party from conducting elections into the three offices pending the hearing and determination of the suit. The judge had also restrained INEC from monitoring the election.
However, party leaders including governors, lawmakers and other delegates had proceeded to the convention ground where they sacked the former chairman, Sheriff along with the other members of the National Working Committee. In place of Sheriff- led NWC, a National Caretaker Committee was appointed with Makarfi as Chairman, Senator Ben Obi (Secretary), Senator Ugbesia (Member), Sen Abdul Ningi – (Member), Prince Dayo Adeyeye (Member), Aisha Aliyu )Member), Barrister Usman (Member).
In a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, which was made available to the media in Abuja, the IG warned the feuding party members to immediately resolve their internal crises.
Arase particularly charged Sherif and Makarfi, to call their followers to order and avoid untoward conducts at the party secretariat.
The meeting, according to the statement was attended by the Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Musa Daura, representatives of each of the warring factions -Sherif and Makarfi agreed to nominate four representatives for peace talks aimed at harmonising their position within one week.
While appealing to the politicians to help in educating their followers on the need to act and conduct themselves within the ambit of the law, Arase said the Force would not relent in its mandate to protect lives and property of Nigerians without fear or favour.