Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, while speaking with journalists after closed door session of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senators, revealed the position of the senators on Ali Modu Sheriff, chairmanship of the party. Our correspondent ADEKUNLE ADESUJI wa there. Excerpt:Can tell you discussed with your colleague at the closed-door meeting?
We discussed about the overall well-being of the nation, we also discussed about the ongoing issues in our party and then we discussed the way forward. We also used that opportunity to pray and wish the President quick recovery and quick return to the country.
As a caucus, we believe strongly in peace and we believe the Peoples Democratic Party so that Nigeria can have a robust democracy. We believe that without the PDP being strong and united, Nigeria may slide into a oneparty state and democracy may be in peril.
We also said if it is possible that while the judicial processes are on, that as a caucus we should also pursue the alternative platform of having out of court settlement and this can only start with us meeting with our governors and thereafter meeting with leadership of the party, the two groups and all the other strata of the party, that is the Board of Trustees, former governors, the National Assembly members and of course the National Caretaker Committee, the recently pronounced Chairman by the Court of Appeal so that we can spearhead a major political turnaround that will involve the whole stakeholders and bring holistic peace to the party
If we succeed in doing so, this could even be a major way out instead of continuous processes in court. We will pursue that option without prejudice to the ongoing court processes until we can arrive at a solution where we could at the end of the day use what we have with the totality of all agreeing as consent judgment.
What is your reaction to continuous defection of Senators from your party to All Progressive Congress (APC)?
I don’t see any “defection’’ happening, I only see interest playing out. PDP in the Senate is still very strong and very robust. We started with 49 senators and we are still well over 44 and we are still going to get more. So, how can you say defection of two or three senators who have interest outside the chambers will affect the unity and strength of the caucus. That is not true. Please ignore some of those things because every politics is local.
There are local circumstances that may make everybody to decide the party to go to. Even if there were no wrangling in PDP there will still be defections. If you access your chances of a re-election in 2019 in your locality and then you see that a would be opponent is five times your size, what do you do, you have to start looking for an alternative platform so that you don’t lose out in 2019 and would that mean that it is PDP issue, no, it means personal issues. So, anything that has to do with the strength of the PDP dwindling is propaganda and I don’t want you to engage in that.
Let me use this opportunity to assure our teeming supporters across the nation that the party is still very strong and as you know every politics is local. So the struggle for chairmanship at the party secretariat does not in any way diminish the strength of the party in all the wards of the nation, in the 774 local government. So PDP remains a veritable, strong and viable alternative.It is only PDP that will assist the APC in deepening democracy and that is what we must all work on.
It is rumoured that there is division among you over court decision on Sheriff. What really transpired in the meeting?
We held this meeting because there was a letter from Sen. Sheriff to the caucus and so we had to meet first to know whether this is the right time, whether the meeting is right or not and what we agreed is that let the leadership first, thereafter we meet with the Sheriff group; then we meet with the Makarfi group; then the BoT and then see whether all can to a consensus and not just we running to the party office to go and meet him, that will look like sectionalism.
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