•Proposes national convention in 2017
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has said he and members of group have resigned their fate to the pronouncement of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court.
Sheriff, who insisted that he would not quit the struggle unless the party is returned to its rightful owners, told journalists at a press conference yesterday in Abuja that his faction was planning a national convention in the first quarter of 2017.
Speaking on the failed attempt to resolve the PDP crisis, Sheriff said since negotiations with Ahmed Makarfi faction has broken down, he and his group have no alternative than to await the verdict of the court on who the rightful leader of the PDP is.
“We’ll abide by the decision of the judiciary on the PDP leadership crisis,” he said.
Sheriff accused the chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Makarfi of employing blackmailing tactics against him during the botched peace negotiations on the PDP crisis.
An enraged Sheriff said: “I have offered that both the caretaker committee and the NWC be dissolved to give way for a new Independent Leadership. But the caretaker committee has refused to agree to anything except recognize then and let the caretaker committee run the party till 2018.
“We have therefore resigned our faith to the decision of their Lordships of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Courts. However, we are ready to return to the negotiation table today if Makarfi sees reason to do so.
“I have been blackmailed to the extent that I am alleged to be sponsored by the APC to build a one party system. Contradictorily I have been accused at the same time of staying on to stage my emergence as the presidential candidate of the PDP. This is the extent to which the illegal caretaker committee can go to hold on to power. Blackmail has been their stock in trade.
Sheriff, who spoke while receiving a delegation of some members of the PDP in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) lamented the hijacking of the party structures by few influential people.
He said as part of the struggle to change the old ways of doing things in the PDP, his group has committee for constitution review chaired by Hon. Bernard Mikko and the Mobilisation Committee Chaired by Dr. Patrick Okomiso submitted their reports last week
Part of the recommendations of the committee, is that presidents and governors produced by the party after their second tenure and eight years in office should be barred from adopting candidates to succeed them.
“Also, the national chairmen and party chairmen and excos from wards, local governments, state and national be barred from adopting candidates. Any candidate so adopted shall be disqualified.
“We want every voice to be heard and every vote to count. hopefully we shall conduct a free and fair convention in the First Quarter of 2017. Our task is to return the party to the grassroots. To this end we shall continue to review all the states chapters that are affected before the convention.
“In the cause of the last six months we have worked assiduously to reposition our great party the PDP through harnessing the enormous potentials of the party at the grassroots,” he said.
On the election in Rivers State, the former governor of Borno State said that he has asked an 11-man fact-finding committee set up to monitor the election to brief him and that he hopes to speak on the matter after receiving their report.