- Sheriff vows to resist PDP membership of mega party Factions urged to embrace peace
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will tomorrow and Wednesday meet to receive reports of ad hoc committees set up to explore viable options for political re-alignment preparatory for the 2019 general election.
The opposition party under the leadership of the National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, had inaugurated a committee known as the “Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Jerry Gana to explore the possibility of the party aligning forces with like- minds to actualise victory at the next presidential election.
It was learnt that the Gana committee immediately swung into action and set up 11 syndication committees to reach out and understudy modalities for the formation of a mega party to confront the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, THISDAY gathered at the weekend that following some initial moves made by the committee and the mixed responses it generated, the leadership of the PDP has scheduled a meeting with the committee to review reports of the committee.
A source close to the Gana committee told THISDAY that one of the syndicate committees has recommended the floating of a new party by the mainstream PDP led by Makarfi.
He said there might be some changes in the name of the party, adding that the proposal has received the endorsement of some founding fathers of the party.
“The position of the committee is to harmonise with other parties so that we can form another party. Ali Sheriff wants a one party state,” said the source.
According the source, the committee which was saddled with the responsibility of reaching to other parties, especially members of APC desirous of teaming up with the PDP to form a new coalition is ready with its preliminary report.
The sources said part of the recommendations of the committee is for the PDP to amends its name by adding a word to give it a new acronym.
The Inter-Party Affairs Committee is made up of 85 prominent leaders of the PDP and has the former Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly as its Secretary.
PDP’s move is apparently a reflection of the new thinking among its key leaders who having experienced frustrations in resolving the differences with factional National Chairman, Sheriff, are now looking for an alternative platform to belong.
According to sources at the secretariat of the Makarfi-led PDP in Abuja, the task of the committee is to formally open up the process of dialogue and consultations with other political parties, including former members of the PDP who left to join the APC with a view to building a formidable platform.
But just as the Makarfi-led PDP leadership is making moves in the direction of joining forces to form a mega party, its arch-rival, the PDP faction led by Sheriff has sworn to ensure that such a plan does not materialise, at least with PDP being subsumed under a new party.
The Deputy National Chairman of the faction, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said last Thursday that the faction would resist attempt to surrender the registration certificate to INEC in order to form another party.
“We in the NWC are making all necessary arrangements to reposition our great party. We intend to return the party to the original owners, the grass roots.
“We encourage those who left the party to return. We are not going to allow our party to die. We therefore will not submit our registration certificate to INEC in order to form another party.
“The politics of yesterday is very different from that of today. There is no guarantee that today’s INEC will register you once you give up your certificate. So our task is to rebuild and reposition the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of the founding members of the PDP, Alhaji Mohammed Rabiu Bako, has called on Sherrif and the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committees to sheath their swords and step aside in the interest of the party.
The former Commissioner under the Makarfi administration in Kaduna State made the call in a chat with some journalists in Kaduna on the state of affairs of the party and efforts being made to move the party forward.
He said the call had become necessary in view of the need for them to make sacrifices as the party is greater than any individual or groups, hence the call for speedy resolution of the impasse so that the party would reposition itself for future challenges ahead.
“It is apparent that the two leaders are playing to the gallery with each trying to outsmart the other. This attitude is certainly and totally detrimental to the progress of our party particularly now that we are in the opposition. It is not in the interest of our party for our leaders to throw tantrums at each other at the slightest opportunity thereby personalising the leadership of the party. As it is now, one would have expected that the Board of Trustee, our respected elders and governors would have taken full charge of the situation by demanding the resignation of the leadership of the two warring camps so that normalcy will be restored in the affairs of our great party,” he said.
The elder-statesman emphasised that his call was with all sense of responsibility, having witnessed the dismal outcome of both the Edo and Ondo States gubernatorial elections being lost to this unwarranted fractionalisation.
“Sadly, we are currently witnessing defections of monumental proportions from a party that promises to wrestle power from the APC come 2019,” he added
He called on all stakeholders of the party to urge