PDP Crisis: Sheriff Inaugurates Panel To Conduct Another Primary In Edo State
The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party deepened on Thursday with the inauguration of five committees for the conduct of another primary for the 2016 Edo State governorship election by Ali Modu Sheriff.
This is coming barely four days after a similar primary by the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the party’s standard bearer for the same election.
Sheriff, who inaugurated the committees, cited Section 50(1) of the PDP constitution which he noted was derived from the provisions of, relevant sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, as basis for his action.
The committees are: screening, appeal, ad-hoc delegate, and the main Governorship Primary Committee.
Sheriff explained that the primary would hold on June 29, 2016 in Benin, the Edo State capital. He accused the Makarfi-led committee of importing “Fulani herdsmen” to occupy the party’s secretariat.
The embattled former chairman who was flanked by many of his loyalists at the event, however, explained that he stayed away from the National Secretariat based on the advice of the just-retired Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase.
The former Borno State governor boasted that he would soon return to the party secretariat and occupy his seat till 2018 when his tenure would expire in accordance with a court order issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
He insisted that the primary election conducted by the Makarfi-led Committee for Edo state was a nullity because according to him, the Independent National Electoral Commission did not monitor the election as required by law.
He also revealed that a court in Abuja on Thursday made another pronouncement declaring that the Makarfi -led committee could not submit names of candidates for the Edo election to INEC.
Sheriff assured that the NWC under his leadership would produce a candidate for the PDP by June 30 to beat the July 10 INEC deadline for the submission of party candidate for the elections.
The chairman disclosed that three governorship aspirants had already picked the nomination forms after paying the required N10m each into the party account to which he and the treasurer were signatory to. He did not name the aspirants.
He announced the chairman and secretaries of the committee as follows: governorship screening committee, Chief Makanjuola Ogunsipe as Chairman, with Hon Ahmed Wadada Aliyu as secretary; gubernatorial screening appeal committee have Chief Jide Damazio as Chairman with Usman Baderi as Secretary.
The three man Ad-Hoc delegate panel have a former Oyo State deputy governor, Hazeem Gbolarumi as Chairman with Bala Aboki as secretary.
In response, Makarfi dismissed Sheriff’s assertions and took exceptions to claims that he hired Fulani herdsmen to attack his opponents.
Also speaking on the issue, the Publicity Secretary of the Makarfi-led Committee, Dayo Adeyeye, accused the Sheriff group of trying to destroy the party. Adeyeye insisted that INEC monitored the primary conducted by the Makarfi group.
Adeyeye said the party had “uncovered further plans by Sheriff and his co-travelers to deceive unsuspecting members of the PDP and security operatives.