14 July 2017

Nigeria: PDP Pledges to Grant Amnesty to Sheriff Faction

The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said on Thursday in Abuja that the party's leadership tussle was a "hard battle."

The committee's spokesperson also announced that 'amnesty' would be granted to the Sheriff faction of the party.

Mr. Makarfi spoke when he received a delegation of the PDP former ministers forum led by its chairman, Taminu Turaki, who paid him a courtesy visit.

He, however, said that the outcome of the battle as decided by the Supreme Court was sweet and good, not only for PDP members, but also for Nigerians generally.

The Supreme Court had validated Mr. Makarfi's leadership chosen from a 2016 national convention and annulled Ali Sheriff's claim as chairman of the opposition party.

"It is a victory for all political parties because the issue of convention was involved and the Supreme Court upheld the power of the convention," he said.

He recalled that the party's leadership crisis erupted after its convention in Port Harcourt in 2016.

He said that through it, the PDP had paid the price of democracy for other political parties.

Mr. Makarfi further said that committees would be set up to resolve some issues in the party's South-West chapter as well as interact with the Ali Sheriff faction and other stakeholders.

"We will leave the room open. Sheriff accepted the judgment going by what I read in the media."

He urged party members who had defected to the All Progressives Congress and the newly found political parties to return to the PDP fold.

Mr. Turaki had earlier congratulated Mr. Makarfi, his caretaker committee members and all PDP members on the victory at the Supreme Court.

He said the party must look inward, learn from its past mistakes and ensure that things were done in a transparent manner going forward.

He stressed that there must be plain ground for all party members to explore, adding that its leadership must adopt an all-inclusive process.

Dayo Adeyeye, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP National Caretaker Committee, had earlier said that the party would grant amnesty to Mr. Sheriff and his loyalists.

Ali Modu Sheriff

He described Mr. Sheriff as "a monumental distraction, who created a painful and agonising period for the party" and advised him and his supporters to desist from committing fresh offence.

"Our hands are extended to all those on the other side; we will grant general amnesty to everybody; we have declared no victor, no vanquished.

"We want to give them full embrace and cooperate with them," he said.

On the Osun West Senatorial election, Mr. Adeyeye said it was the cooperation of both sides that led to PDP victory.

He added that the party would have won in Edo and Ondo states, if its members had cooperated.

Therefore, he appealed to those who had cases in court to withdraw such cases.

Mr. Adeyeye said that the PDP would provide virile opposition to the APC as the country prepares for 2019 general elections.

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