By George Okoh in Makurdi
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State has condemned the recent visit by the Chairman of a faction of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to Benue State, describing it as an illegal visit by an impostor.
The party accused Senator Sheriff of plotting to assist the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming local government election in the state.
The condemnation of Sheriff was made known by the Benue state Chairman of the PDP, Chief John Ngbede.
The party said it observed with interest the visit to the state yesterday by a former national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Mohdu Sherrif, “during which he was received in solidarity by newly appointed Tor Sankera, Chief Abu King Shuluwa, and the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, who extended to him compliments of State protocol and courtesy, including official transport and security escort.
“Ironically, the same Gov. Ortom has since assumption of office refused the PDP in the state use of public spaces for its functions, even including in May this year when the party was denied space to hold its state congress for the election and inauguration of its State Exco, yet yesterday he opened his arms wide to embrace Sherrif.”
The party noted that no national leader of the PDP that was visiting the state on legitimate party business would completely shun the Party’s State Secretariat and prefer to consort with leaders of another political party as Sherrif did.
It said it was an act of utmost political recklessness for functionaries of the APC-controlled Ortom administration in the state to be seen playing active part in the visit of Sherrif and taking up supposed positions on the purported arrangement of a Sherrif faction of the party.
The state chairman said, “Subsisting court judgements have given legitimacy to the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi as its highest leadership organ duly mandated and running the affairs of the party, with all statutory organs and members of the party at the national level and in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT Abuja, the 11 state governors on the platform of the party and the National Assembly Caucus all loyal to it.
“Sherrif was used in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections to help manipulate victory for the APC against a more popular PDP, and he has come to Benue, obviously on the invitation and sponsorship of the Ortom government which is mortally afraid of the robust opposition being offered by the PDP.
“This visit of Sherrif to the state, from all indications, is the another desperate measure by the APC-led Ortom government against the PDP, at a time the ruling government is under severe pressure to conduct local government polls which it has shied away from since coming to office, for fear of the losing, owing to its poor performance track-record and an attendant mounting ill-will towards it from the suffering masses.”
He called on PDP party faithful across the state to remain calm and not be moved by any rumours and misinformation making the rounds regarding Senator Sherrif’s visit.