•Ojougboh: Our crisis saved Oyegun
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Ahead of the decisive Court of Appeal judgment, the factional leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has given an undertaking that it would abide by its verdict and would not appeal against it at the Supreme Court.
The faction which has been engaged in lingering legal tussle with the leadership of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said its struggle had made a positive impact on the polity.
For instance, it said the resistance put up by Sheriff has helped to save the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun, from being sacked.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Sheriff’s deputy and former National Vice Chairman (South-south), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said the group had reached an agreement with the organs of the PDP to the effect that all should accept whatever is the outcome of Appeal Court judgment still being awaited.
“We agreed with the stakeholders that whatever is the outcome of the Appeal Court, nobody should appeal against it. For us, we will accept it and everybody should accept it.
“After the court judgment, all of us will sit down again and discuss. It is obvious that the Port Harcourt judgment will be the deciding factor. Anybody who will go ahead after the judgment it is up to him.
“When asked whether Sheriff and Makarfi entered agreement not to appeal the outcome of the judgment, Ojougboh said the position by group came as a result of consultations with organs of the party and not with the Makarfi.
“Prior to the national convention in Port Harcourt, no member of caretaker committee was a member of the party executive. They were brought in through the back door and through the back door they will go,” he said.
Ojougboh also said the leadership crisis in the PDP has had positive spiral effect on the ruling APC, where a similar move to remove its chairman had to be shelved due to the likely resistance and negative fall-out it might generated.
“We have unmasked the success of multi-party democracy in Nigeria. Hitherto, anybody can wake up and tell the chairman of his party he can go. We want to restore the principle of party supremacy.
“ If you also consider the impact of our efforts, especially as it affects the ruling party the APC, if not for the crisis in PDP, by now their chairman would have gone. But because they know they can no longer toy with chairman of the party.
“To a large extent, we have been able to return power to the people by trying to fight the impunity in the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, staff of the PDP yesterday shunned an invitation for a meeting with Sheriff.
The staff, who met under the auspices of the PDP Staff Welfare Forum in Abuja, said they decided to shun the meeting with Sheriff because, unlike, the other factional Chairman, Makarfi, he never called for the reopening of the secretariat complex.
The police had sealed the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the PDP since May 22 last year following a parallel national convention that saw the party divided.
The party’s national officers led by former Borno Governor, Sheriff, were sacked and an interim team announced in Port Harcourt on May 21, 2016.
A statement from the Welfare Committee according to Premium Times, said yesterday’s meeting which had about 80 members of staff present “unanimously voted to reject the invitation by Sheriff.”
They said they decided to reject the invitation because “while the National Caretaker Committee under the able leadership of Makarfi, spoke in support of the call for the national secretariat of the party to be opened for Party activities, Sheriff in a statement by his spokesman, Hon. Bernard Mikko rejected the call for the reopening of the National Secretariat which was seen by the staff as an affront to the progress and rebuilding process in the PDP.”
The staff also queried the yardstick for the invitation by Sheriff, accusing him of not working for the growth and development of the party.
The staff accused him of “tacitly working against the party, as seen in his activities that reduced the fortune of the PDP in the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States.”
The staff also queried the “deaf-silence by Sheriff on various salient national issues especially the recklessness and misgovernance of the APC-led administration.”