PDP Crisis: Sheriff Sacks Edo PDP, Names Caretaker Members
Last week’s election of Pastor OsagieIze-Iyamu as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September election in Edo State has set the Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi’s factions of the party on a fresh collision course.
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff who, until recently was the PDP acting national chairman, yesterday suspended the state executive committee of the party “sequel to various petitions deriving from allegations of irregularities arising from the last state congresses that sought to elect State Executive Committee for the chapter.”
He had earlier nullified the Plateau State congress of the party and promised to set machinery in motion for the emergence of a fresh executive committee for the state PDP.
Sheriff and the National Secretary of the PDP, Prof. Wale Oladipo, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said the suspension of the Edo PDP exco was part of the decision taken at the NWC meeting of June 21, 2016.
They said the suspension would enable the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party investigate the allegations contained in the petitions and come out with a fair and just decision.
Sheriff proceeded to appoint an eight-member caretaker committee to run the affairs of the state chapter for a period of three months.
The members are: Chief Ebenezer Alabi (chairman); Barr. Zealiwe Edmund (secretary); EhimekpenOkharedia, Mrs. Melody EkunneOsagie, Blessing Agbabaku, Negerese Berry, Hon Daniel OhioleAsekhame and Mr.DanOmozokpai as members.
The Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee, in a swift reaction, asked the Edo state chapter of the party to ignore the suspension order.
It said: “Procedures for taking such far reaching decisions are prescribed in the constitution of the party, so it’s the organ so empowered to take it.
“It is no longer news that the Ali Modu Sheriff led National Working Committee and indeed all national officers were removed by the party’s convention, which is the highest decision making organ of the party,” it added in a statement by spokesman for the committee, Prince AdedayoAdeyeye.
Continuing, he said: “This purported suspension is clearly part of the desperation of Senator Sheriff and his paymasters to orchestrate confusion that would lead to the failure of the party in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State; an election that the party is otherwise very well placed to win.
“The Caretaker Committee recognises and would continue to relate with the leadership of the party in Edo State that was validly elected at the recent congresses, even as it calls on the members and teeming supporters of the party in the state to remain steadfast and vigilant in the face of the mischief being perpetrated by Sheriff in order to destroy the party.
“The Caretaker Committee also appeals to the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services and indeed all security agencies to call Sheriff to order as well as keep more than an eye on him so that he doesn’t precipitate crisis in any part of the country for which he is well known, since we, as Nigerians already have enough on our hands to contend with.”
Also reacting to the purported suspension, the chairman of the Edo PDP, Chief Dan Orbih said Sheriff lacked powers to suspend any state chapter.
He said: “For us in Edo State PDP, we will ignore the ranting of Sheriff and face the business of defeating Adams Oshiomhole and his surrogate, that is, their APC candidate.”
Orbih said Sheriff’s action was a clear indication that he is not a true member of the PDP.
He added: “Let me quickly remind Sheriff that we, members of the National Executive, were the ones that appointed him as an acting chairman.
“He was never elected as chairman of the party and he should atop arrogating powers that he doesn’t possess to himself.
“The only body that is constitutionally empowered by the party to carry out the functions of the national executives of the party today is that of the Makarfi-led national executive, which by law is the national executives in place.
“At the time we appointed Sheriff to act as the national chairman, we gave him a mandate that should last for three months and at the end of the three months, we never renewed his mandate.
“I advise him to stay clear of Edo PDP and face his political integration in Borno where since he left office as governor has been a hotbed of political crisis.”
In nullifying the Plateau PDP congress earlier, Sheriff also dismissed claim by the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee that he was working for the APC.
He said: “Makarfi should shut up” and threatened to expose the committee chairman and Ben Obi, its national secretary.
At the meeting with the Plateau delegation, which pledged support for him, the factional leader of the opposition party said he would soon inaugurate a committee to organise a fresh congress in the state.
Sheriff alleged that Makarfi and Obi had been paying secret visits to an APC chieftain.
He challenged them to dare him and see how he would expose them.
“If there are people in the PDP working for the APC, it’s Makarfi and Obi. Makarfi should not force me to reveal details that I should not reveal under normal circumstances,” he said.
“Makarfi and Obi have gone to visit one APC chieftain in his house twice and this particular individual is still in the APC. It would have been better if the man had left the APC to join the PDP.
“They are reserving the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP for this individual who has been funding their activities.
“If Makarfi continues to attack my person, I will be forced to reveal further details of their alliance. So, Makarfi should just shut up.”