- Sets up 3-man committee to woo institute’s boss
Strong indications have emerged that the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party may soon lose control of the party’s critical machinery, the Peoples Democratic Institute, to the group loyal to the embattled National Chairman, Alhaji Ali Modu-Sheriff.
The Makarfi faction had, since pushing aside the faction led by Modu-Sheriff, been enjoying nearabsolute control over critical organs of the PDP.
But our correspondents gathered that the Modu-Sheriff’s faction had launched serious moves to regain control of the crisis-ridden party, beginning with the take-over of the party’s think-thank, the PDI located in Abuja.
It was learnt that a three-member committee was recently set up by the Modu-Sheriff faction to persuade the Director General of the PDI, Dr. Lanre Adebayo, to move over to his group.
The three-man committee, it was learnt, had been given a week within which to make contact with the institute’s chief executive and report back to the group.
Adebayo, it was gathered, is currently being owed over N10million salary arrears by the PDP leadership, a matter worsened by the perennial crisis rocking the party since it lost out in the 2015 general elections.
Sources within the embattled PDP lamented that the party had not been fair to the Institute under its current leadership, adding that the PDI had been run without any subvention from the party in the last four years.
The move to take over the PDI, if successful, is expected by the Modu- Sheriff group to weaken the Makarfi faction’s hold on the critical party apparatus.
The Modu-Sheriff faction is, however, said to be dangling the payment of the over N10million salary arrears owed Adebayo to secure his support, which is believed to be critical to his group’s renewed plans to regain total control of the PDP machinery.
According to a member of the Sheriff Group, who pleaded anonymity, the PDI remained strategic in the faction’s attempt to take complete control of the already troubled party.
It was, however, observed that the inability of the PDP under Modu- Sheriff’s leadership to properly fund the Institute, when it was in control of the party machinery, may make it difficult for his faction to secure the support of the PDI director general.
On the other hand, some party members, who did not want to be named, noted that the PDI boss may eventually be persuaded to switch camp if his salary arrears were paid and adequate incentives to support the Institute were made available by the Modu-Sheriff group, especially because the Makarfi leadership had failed to give any form of lifeline to the think-tank organ, in spite of the obvious fact that it had been the only body providing logistics support to the caretaker committee seen by many of them as illegal.
Some former members of the PDP, who are now in the ruling All Progressives Congress, argued that the story of the PDI was an example of the corruption and impunity which characterised the main opposition party when it was in government.
They added that the PDP had enough resources to have turned the Institute into a world class think-tank body, saying that the ruling APC had commenced work on establishing its own Institute, which would be better run.
A former member of the National Working Committee of the PDP, who also pleaded anonymity, strongly condemned the neglect of a critical institution like the PDI, stressing that the attitude of the PDP leadership exposed their hatred for idea-driven democracy.
He agreed with President Muhammadu Buhari that the PDP had left no worthy democratic legacy after 15 years in power.
The party chieftain said it was a shame that the state governors on the platform of the party could not rally support for the PDI, its think-tank.
Another prominent leader of the party, who also did not want his name mentioned, noted that the current Leadership of the PDI had transformed the Institute into a centre of excellence, adding that it was not possible to have carried out such a task without the support of the party.
He urged the current Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, to quickly come to the aid of the ailing institute to avoid further damage to the image of the party.
Efforts to contact both the factional Chairman of the party, Modu-Sheriff and the PDI boss, Adebayo, proved abortive.
Neither of them responded to the text messages sent to their telephone lines after several unsuccessful calls made to them.
But the spokesperson of the National Caretaker Committee, Dayo Adeyeye, dismissed the claims of the alleged moves by the Modu-Sheriff group to seize control of the PDI.
Adeyeye stressed on the phone that the PDP remained one family, despite the crisis the party had been going through.
He said, “I am not interested in that story; it has no truth in it. There is no factionalization in PDP, or marginalization of the leaders. The entire party is on one side. If sheriff takes things to the other side, it doesn’t matter. In fact, whether Sheriff takes the PDI or not, is it not the same PDP? So, it’s not an issue for us, and the DG is known to me. He has not made any complaint to me about any issue People are just trying to make issues where there are none. I won’t say more than that.”