Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Two governor on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday disagreed on the latest move to reconcile the two feuding factions of the party led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ali Sheriff.
Governors Okezie Ilpeazu of Abia State and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State who spoke separately on the matter with State House corespondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, expressed different views.
While Ikpeazu described it as a step in the right direction, Fayose rejected it, saying that it was only the Court of Appeal that could resolve the party’s leadership crisis, adding that PDP state governors had not been briefed on the reconciliatroty moves.
For Ikpeazu, the new reconciliation move would be a victory for the party and Nigeria at the end.
While observing that the long period of the crisis had taken a toll on the party, he noted that it had also provided it with new opportunities to become stronger.
Ikpeazu said: “In every crisis there are downsides because nobody will wish and pray for crisis. I think also that moment of crisis are also opportunities for strength, renewed vigor and to reinvent our vision.
“So, ultimately, I think the PDP has the resilience and what it takes to bounce back as a party.”
On how to secure the support of its founding fathers and others who may have left the party, he said the party will work to bring everybody back on board.
He added: “There is no doubt that party politics everywhere involves everybody whether you are a founding father or a new member. Political party is built around people and everybody has equal stake.
“Our interest is Nigeria. Therefore, all strata of people, opinion I think will be put into consideration because they are equally important.”
Ikpeazu deemphasised the role of PDP state governors in the resolution of the crisis, saying: “The important thing is Nigeria and the important thing is democracy. Whether you are a BoT member or a party person, it doesn’t really matter. PDP Governors Forum is not political party.”
But his Ekiti counterpart disagreed with him over the new peace move, saying that it would not work unless the Appeal Court decides the multiplicity of cases already filed in respect of the dispute.
He said the governors had not been consulted while the cases in court had not been withdrawn.
Fayose said: “That move, you see, I’m not against anything called resolution within the party but everybody must wait for Court of Appeal to resolve this matter.
“Matters are in court, nobody has withdrawn any matter and they are resolving. What are you resolving?
“When matters are in court you, allow court to lay them to rest. The moment this thing doesn’t go with one side, they will tell you that we are still in court.
“But allow the court to take a stand and reconciliation would be made easy. I’m not against anybody reconciling with each other but when you see that meeting, ask the coverners if governors were briefed.
“I was not briefed. I am not the only person in the party but I then I have a stake.”
On whether the cases in court cannot be withdrawn during reconciliation, he replied: “Let’s wait till then. But my opinion is the Court of Appeal must resolve this matter.
“When you resolve the matter, you know that I am wrong and I you are right and reconciliation will be made easy.”
Recall that the two factions of the party had last Tuesday announced their decision to bury the hatchet and work together.
At a joint press conference by the National Caretaker Committee of the party led by Senator Makarfi and the Senator Sheriff faction, they had announced their resolved to reunite the party to enable it to perform its role as a viable opposition platform.
Both factions disclosed their intention to embark on extensive consultations with their respective loyalists to fashion out a way to cement the new unity after about four months of bitter rivalry.