- Hold secret negotiations
Indications have emerged that the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, may have resolved to end the current leadership crisis in the opposition party.
Our correspondent gathered that Sheriff may have soft-pedalled on his hard stance over the crisis, following reconciliation moves by some party stakeholders.
Sheriff had, before now, insisted that he remained the PDP national chairman despite three different court judgments upholding his removal by the party’s national convention on May 21 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Former PDP national vice chairman (South-South), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, however, indicated that a peaceful resolution had been initiated to end the crisis.
Ojougboh stated that the Sheriff and the Makarfi groups had been holding meetings aimed at resolving the leadership crisis in the PDP.
He said that efforts, including the setting up of a reconciliation committee, were on to restore peace to the crisis-ridden opposition party.
Confirming our correspondent’s findings, the former national vice chairman who was recently elevated by Sheriff as deputy national chairman, following Prince Uche Secondus’ exit, was, however, silent on members of the reconciliation team.
Ojougboh said, “Sheriff and Makarfi groups have been discussing. I want to make this point clear, the caretaker committee that is represented and led by Makarfi and the Ali Modu Sheriff-led PDP have been discussing.
We have been looking for ways to make peace”.
According to him, the Sheriff group has submitted its terms for peace to “the intermediary. We are insisting that Sheriff must be recognised as the chairman. The condition for peace is very interesting. There is no court judgement that can solve PDP problem.”
Before his retirement recently, the former inspector general of police, Solomon Arase, had at a peace meeting he convened, advised the two groups to nominate four representatives each for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Ojougboh however maintained that the current peace mission by the two camps had nothing to do with Arase’s initiative.
The party chieftain also deplored the demand by the spokesperson of the PDP Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, for the arrest of Sheriff for contempt of court.
”If anybody is to be arrested, it is Adeyeye who is making allusion that people should be arrested. People like Adeyeye who want this crisis to continue, have been talking any how; they have their own personal agenda. I know that Makarfi will not make such statement, he is a gentleman and not somebody given to such utterances. So, I want to excuse him.
“If such statement came from Makarfi, Ali Modu Sheriff would have known what to do, to address it properly,” he added.
Ojougboh blamed the crisis in the PDP on state governors, whom he accused of attempts to hijack the party.
He added that Sheriff’s insistence to return PDP to the people was the reason he fell out with the governors.
”He doesn’t want only the governors to sit down in their rooms and write the names of candidates and submit. That is the root of the crisis we are having today in the PDP, and Ali Modu Sheriff is ready to address it. This is the only time the chairman of the PDP is saying no to the governors” Ojougboh said.