Moves by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to resolve the crisis that followed the appointment of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman collapsed yesterday. Former ministers, who are still members of the party, insisted that there was no new reason to make them change their position – that Sheriff must quit immediately.
They also frowned as the threat issued by the national chairman to one-time Aviation Minister Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who Sheriff said “will not go scot-free” because of his truculent.
“A threat to one is a threat to all,” Chairman of the Forum of the ex- Ministers, Alhaji Taminu Turaki , said yesterday.
Rising from a separate marathon meeting in Abuja yesterday, the ministers, who were informed of the party’s decision, expressed their reservations.
Turaki told reporters that their decision to reject Sheriff remained unchanged.
According to him, the process that produced the chairman lacked legitimacy and transparency. He said the party should convene its national convention before the end of March.
The former ministers condemned what they described as all forms of impunity in the running of the party, saying their decision to oppose Sheriff was based on common sense.
Shocked by the involvement of the Acting chairman of the BoT, Jubrin Walid, in approving Sheriff, the ministers said there was no meeting of the BoT where the decision was taken.
“We stand by the position of the BoT to endorse Sheriff but we still feel the same way we feel. There is a window for dialogue with other organs of the party. But for now, we maintain our position.
“If and when we see reason to accept the decision, we should be presented with fresh reasons why the decision was taken. Our position is guided by convention, the party constitution and the Nigeria constitution”.
But key organs of the party approved a three-month tenure for the embattled chairman.
The decision was reached after an enlarged meeting of the PDP Governors Forum, the Board of Trustees (BoT), the National Assembly Caucus, the National Working Committee (NWC) and state caucuses.
After the meeting, which held at the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, the party leaders said the decision to allow Sheriff stay for three months was unanimous.
Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko said the decision was taken in the party’s best interest.
He said Sheriff had been mandated to put in motion preparations for the party’s national convention to elect new members of the NWC to run the party.
Also commenting on the outcome, Acting BoT Chairman Jibrin announced the concurrence of the BoT with the decision.
According to him, Sheriff was given two weeks within which to produce a timetable for the next convention to be convened in May.
He expressed the optimism that the lingering crisis in the party would be resolved within three months.
On the rejection of Sheriff by former ministers, Mimiko said they are members of the state caucuses headed by chairmen of their various state chapters. This, according to the governor, automatically makes them a party to the decision.
Mimiko, however, said the various party organs would still reach out to the ex-ministers, with the view to bringing them on board.
At the meeting were governors of Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa states. Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio; his counterpart in the House, Louis Ogor and Dr. Ahmadu Ali, among others,
But the party’s North-west youth wing, yesterday said Sheriff must be replaced immediately.
A youth leader and the North-west coordinator of PDP youth wing, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu, said Sheriff’s appointment was illegal and should not be allowed to stand.
According to him, the leadership of the party is trying to remain in the past when other political parties are moving.
Ahmadu told reporters in Kaduna that the PDP had once again missed the point by its appointment of the Borno State-born politician without the stakeholders’ approval.
“The appointment of Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff is illegal and should not be allowed to stand. As far as we are concerned as youths in the PDP, we found the appointment of the senator as an affront and an insult on the sensibility of all members.
“His appointment has caused more havoc within the party as some leaders and a former president have condemned the appointment.
“We want to call on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to come together and salvage the PDP from total collapse and humiliation.
“It has become necessary for all of us to put our house in order in order to wrest power from the current All Progressives Congress (APC) government at all levels in 2019,” Ahamadu said.