Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be on the verge of restoring peace to its fold after nearly five months of leadership conflict that almost threatened the existence of the party.
The two principal actors in the dispute — the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and its former National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff — yesterday came close to laying to rest their disagreement when they both issued a joint statement in Abuja, saying that they had reached an agreement to set in motion a joint reconciliatory process.
Makarfi and Sheriff said they had agreed to sheathe their swords and were resolved to end the bickering over the leadership crisis that engulfed the party following the National Convention of the party in Port Harcourt early this year that resulted in the ouster of Sheriff as the party’s chairman.
The two leaders of the party met for several hours for the first time yesterday and resolved to pursue a united PDP.
The position of both factions was made known at a joint press conference held yesterday by the Secretary of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi, and the acting Deputy National Chairman of the Sheriff-led faction of the party, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh.
Ojougboh, who read the resolutions reached at the meeting, said the two factional leaders met and took “a holistic review of the state of affairs” of the PDP.
The statement, which was jointly signed by Makarfi and Sheriff, said: “It is time to heal the wounds, and bring about a united, focused and constructive opposition party that can bring sanity to our democratic process, bring relief to the teeming supporters of our great party and to the benefit of our great country, Nigeria.”
The resolutions added that both parties agreed to “consult widely with all relevant organs of the party; set up a joint committee that will carry out a holistic reconciliation of all aggrieved segments of our party across the country and diaspora; and pursue the vision of the founding fathers of our great party, the PDP”.
They called on PDP members to remain calm and refrain from any actions and utterances that could further bring about divisions or disputes in the party.
The statement read: “In reviewing the crisis that has engulfed our party since the loss of the 2015 general election after 16 years of uninterrupted leadership at the centre, it became obvious to both of us as principal actors that it is time to heal the wounds.
“And bring about a united, focused and constructive opposition party that can bring sanity to our democratic process, bring relief to the teeming supporters of our great party and to the benefit of our great country.
“Based on the above, we have both agreed to consult widely with all relevant organs of the party, set up a joint committee that will carry out a holistic reconciliation of all aggrieved segments of our party across the country and in Diaspora and to pursue the vision of the founding fathers of our great party.”
According to the statement, details of all the reconciliation committee and its mandate will be made public soon.