19 June 2017

Nigeria: PDP Crisis - Sheriff, Makarfi Factions Endorse Governors' Position

Abuja — The two antagonists in the leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led executive and the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee (NCC) - have expressed their support for the resolution reached by the governors to reunite the party irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling on the leadership tussle.

Although the two sides have expressed confidence that they would get favourable judgement from the Supreme Court, but with the ruling still pending, both sides seem to be toning down their hardline positions.

The apparent softening has enabled the warring sides to avoid duplicating candidates during elections, pending the final resolution of the matter at the Supreme Court.

In line with the new spirit, the Sheriff-led executive said at the weekend that it agreed with the position of the PDP Governors' Forum that there will be no victor, no vanquished after the Supreme Court verdict.

In the same vein, a founding member of the party and former Minister of Education who is also the Chairman of the Sub-committee on Strategy set up by the NCC, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, said that at the end of the Supreme Court ruling the entire PDP family would come together and keep moving on no matter what camp they belonged to.

The side led by Makarfi had appealed to the Supreme Court against the affirmation of Sheriff as the National Chairman of the PDP by the Appeal Court and is seeking to upturn the judgment of the lower court.

But after obtaining oral and written submissions from both sides in the case, the Supreme Court adjourned without giving a definite date for delivering its judgment.

While speaking on the outcome of the governors' meeting held last Thursday in Abuja, the Ekiti State governor and the chairman of the forum, Ayo Fayose, said they had resolved to "remain confident, committed and loyal to the PDP, believing that the party which is more democratic than any other one in the country, will be united towards winning elections at all levels in 2019".

"We are hopeful that the outcome of the Supreme Court case will further unite the party. There will be no winner, there will be no vanquished. We believe in the PDP and we believe in the tomorrow of this party," he had said.

Also, in a telephone interview with THISDAY at the weekend, Sheriff's deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh said the position the governors had taken was the correct one, adding that the party was one and will reunite and grow from there.

Ojuogboh said the executive led by Sheriff was of the view that no one will be punished for any role he or she might have played during the conflict, in the spirit of no victor, no vanquished.

"We totally agree with the position of the governors. It is the Lord's doing but from experience, we do hope that they will abide by what they have said. You know that we love the party, all of us, including the national chairman. We love the party and we will do everything possible to grow the party.

"We encourage them to abide by what they have said that it will be no victor, no vanquished and we urge them to hold tight to what they believe in, because if the ruling turns against them they should not say that they are pulling out.

"We believe that the position they have taken is the correct one and that the party is one and will reunite and grow from there. Nobody will be punished for any role he or she might have played during the conflict in the spirit of no victor, no vanquished.

"It will now be the time for reconciliation, reconstruction and remaking the party," he said.

On whether the Supreme Court had set a date for its ruling on the PDP leadership tussle, Ojougboh said the court was yet to communicate a date to them.

On his part, Adeniran said irrespective of the court's ruling, the entire PDP family would come together and keep moving forward.

Adeniran, in an interview with THISDAY yesterday, said: "We are still talking with other parties of like-minds; political parties that want the very best for this country and want to ensure that we change the trend of things and to give power back to the people."

Adeniran, however, insisted that the PDP has nothing to do with the new political parties that were recently registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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