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PDP crisis: Sheriff, Makarfi clash over secretariat takeover

.Protesters besiege party secretariat

OBIORA IFOH, Abuja

Following the takeover of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) secretariat by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff last week, the leadership of the National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi has accused the police of taking sides in the conflict and assisting Sheriff to take over the secretariat when both parties should have waited for outcome of Supreme Court on the matter.But the Sen Ali Modu Sheriff-led PDP also accused Sen Ahmed Makarfi group of blackmailing the Supreme Court, ahead of its final judgment on the leadership tussle in the party.

Briefing newsmen on Monday in Abuja from a text entitled: “Let Sheriff Wait for the Supreme Court Judgement”, the spokesman of the group, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, contended that since the law enforcement agencies denied it access into the party headquarters when it obtained judgment from the Federal Court ,Port Harcourt, Sheriff should wait for the Supreme Court to deliver judgment on the matter before the secretariat is opened.

The group, therefore, called on “the police, the general public and all lovers of peace and democracy in the country to prevail on Sheriff and his group to respect the litigation process.”

Adeyeye accused the police to have taken sides in the conflict because of the directives it receives from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to favour the Sheriff side.

“In the light of the above, we are calling on the Police and the general public and lovers of peace and democracy to ask Senator Sheriff and Co. to respect the on-going litigation processes. The Police should ensure that Sheriff and Co. do not occupy the National Secretariat in order to avoid breakdown of law and order.

“We have noticed that the Police have taken sides in this matter perhaps because of directives of the APC but “a stitch in time saves nine”!”

The spokesman of the National Caretaker Committee stated that Sheriff’s group had forcefully broken into the national secretariat while the keys to the offices were in the custody of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) as stipulated by Article 32(5)(e) of the PDP Constitution (As Amended in 2012).

“We know that the Keys of the Secretariat are still with the BoT but Sheriff entered by breaking the doors in an action totally unbecoming of a person who has been Governor of a State, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and also claiming to be a National Chairman of a major Political Party.  We therefore demand that Senator Sheriff and Co. vacates the National Secretariat immediately.”

The party reiterated that Sheriff’s activities against the PDP were being aided and abetted by the ruling APC citing last week’s Rochas Okorocha’s unsolicited advice to the Makarfi group to support Sheriff.

Adeyeye also alleged that the Minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi has deployed his former Abuja Liaison Officer who was a former Intermediate Officer of the Party, Mr. John Enebeli among others to lure some members of staff in support of Senator Sheriff by promising them huge sums of money to offset their outstanding allowances.

“We have stated several times that the APC has its hand deep in the PDP crises. There is no doubt that Sheriff’s activities against the PDP are being aided and abated by the APC. For the record, just last week, the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha gave unsolicited advice that we should support Senator Sheriff.

“Also, we have it on good authority that the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has deployed his former Abuja Liaison Officer who was a former Intermediate Officer of the Party, Mr. John Enebeli among others to lure some members of staff in support of Senator Sheriff by promising them huge sums of money to offset their outstanding allowances.

“Senator Sheriff is equally luring some employees on the same jumbo promise. Let him recall that he made the same promise when he first assumed office only to dash the hope of the hapless employees.”

Prince Adeyeye alerted that Senator Sheriff and Co. have perfected plans to receive non-serving state executive committees at the national secretariat in order to mislead unsuspecting public that he has been accepted by the party organs.

Meanwhile, the Sen Ali Modu Sheriff-led PDP yesterday accused Sen Ahmed Makarfi group of blackmailing the Supreme Court, ahead of its finally judgment on the leadership tussle in the party.

Sheriff’s PDP also declared that all the activities and programs done by the Makarfi group, in the name of PDP, is illegal and ultra-vires.

However, speaking for the Sheriff-led PDP, former Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Barr Ahmed Gulak, said “The Supreme Court belongs to all Nigerians. They have been talking and grandstanding as if the Supreme Court belongs to them.

“They said they will get judgment from Supreme Court as if it is their institution. They should stop blackmailing the Supreme Court.”

He continued: “This party is bigger than everybody. The law does not see your face. It is not a popularity contest the law is the law.”

Gulak, who spoke in company of the Acting Publicity Secretary of Sheriff’s PDP, Hon Bernard Mikko, also justified their reentry into the Wadata plaza, adding that the premises was opened to them after the court of appeal judgment, noting that both camps had agreed not to head to the apex court.

He said “it is fact that former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase, with the consent of both factions closed the secretariat of PDP and both sides agreed because of the conflicting court judgment. The police shut the place in order to avert breakdown of law and order.

“Both parties agreed that in order to pursue genuine reconciliation nobody should purse the case again in Supreme Court.

“Because even if you get court victory you still need the people. So that we can have a convention where national officers will be elected.”

He added that “All the things that the Makarfi group has done before the judgement were illegal and cannot stand.”

He added that “The current judgment of Appeal has superseded all lower court orders. They remain invalid. The only judgment that can invalidate the appeal court is the Supreme Court.”

He added that the “Crisis has had its impact on the party. The unnecessary crisis has taken too long. This party is supposed to be a vibrant opposition party to bring out ills and fallacies of the ruling party. But we have been dissipating energetic on internal squabbles. That is why we say enough is enough.

“Forces of darkness have held the party down because of selfishness and impunity. We lost Edo and Ondo election because of impunity. That is why we want to give the party back to the people.”

Meanwhile, protesters for both sides have besieged the party secretariat at Michael Okpara street at Wuse zone 2.

While the pro-Makarfi protesters made up of mainly women are angry with the return of Sheriff to secretariat, the pro-Sheriff protesters were hailing the return of an authentic national chairman.

 

 

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