THE National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi has dismissed, as fake, some state chapter chairmen who met in Abuja on Thursday night to declare their support for the National Chairmen of the party, Senator Ali Sheriff.
Led by the chairman of the Bayelsa state PDP, Moses Cleopas, the 23 participants at the meeting had also thrown their support behind the recommendations made by the Governor Seriake Dickson’s reconciliation committee which called for the conduct of a unity national convention by the end of August.
However, the Makarfi-led PDP has now described those at that meeting as dissidents purporting to be state chairmen of the PDP.
A statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja on Saturday, said what those in the meeting did was “another illegality perpetrated by dissidents within our party through the alleged endorsement of the report of the Governor Seriake Dickson led Reconciliation Committee of the PDP, at an assembly of 23 men purporting to be different state chairmen of our party.”
It said: “At the illegal assembly held in Abuja on Friday night, the group of fake State chairmen also announced their support for the illegal occupation of the party secretariat by Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff under the pretext of being PDP National Chairman.”
“We wish to state without ambiguity that the action of these elements is a ruse, lies from the pit of hell and a mere continuation of the impunity of Senator Sheriff and his dissident backers within the party.”
“For the record, we wish to make it abundantly clear that many of those men are not elected state chairmen of our party, not at any time, even when Senator Sheriff was the recognised Chairman of the party.”
“Many of those who attended the meeting and their sponsors are double dealers, and in politics such as we play in Nigeria, it is not uncommon to find those who will run with the hare and at the same time hunt with the fox.”
PDP admonished Nigerians to be aware that since the Appeal Court judgement of Port Harcourt division pronounced the May 21 Convention in same city illegal, “Senator Sheriff and his men have been making frantic efforts at causing more problems for the party by going round the states, disorganising the party at state levels by giving recognition to illegal persons as State Chairmen.”
The statement added: “Not minding the fact that the judgement of the Appeal Court has been challenged at the Supreme Court, we wish to state clearly that Senator Sheriff’s actions are in clear violation of the judgement of the court of Appeal which ordered reversal to status quo ante May 21.”
“The continued parade of Dr Cairo Ojougboh as Deputy National Chairman and Hon Bernard Mikko as Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP are acts of impunity and will be challenged in court.”
“It is a known fact that, no meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) nor National Executive Committee (NEC) was held to appoint these men nor confirm them in such positions, respectively.”
It explained that the idea for the rival leaderships of the party to resign was not muted by the National Caretaker Committee but by former President Goodluck Jonathan, expressing the caretaker committee’s commitment to the peace deal.
The statement further read: “We make bold to say that the caretaker committee did not suggest the resignation of Senator Sheriff as panacea for peace but former President Goodluck Jonathan did.”
“The former President suggested the resignation of all NWC members returned by the Court of Appeal. By the same token it was suggested that the National Caretaker Committee members should also resign.”
“We wish to restate our commitment to the peace deal and suggestions by the former president at achieving it.”
“The caretaker committee will wish to reiterate that in view of the provocative actions of Senator Sheriff, we remain committed to seeing through the appeal filed at the Supreme Court as a way of settling once and for all, the crisis being fuelled by the dissidents.”
“It should be noted however, that parading himself as National Chairman with illegal State Executive Committees by Senator Sheriff will surely aggravate the situation.”
“While Senator Sheriff and his co-travellers continue to engage in self-delusion, the caretaker committee continue to receive strong and open support from the known and constitutionally recognised party organs.”
The party said if Sheriff goes ahead to organize the national convention, he would not find members to attend.
It pointed out: “We wonder who Senator Sheriff wants to conduct his illegal convention for. Is it trees, goats or sheep?”
The committee appealed to all party faithfuls to remain calm and committed to the cause of the party, while the matters before the Supreme Court “are carefully and meticulously sorted out in the interest of the party.”