The chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC), of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who was accorded recognition by the Supreme Court on Wednesday as the authentic leader of the party, has promised to embark on aggressive reconciliation among all members of the party.
Markafi and Modu Sheriff
Makarfi pointed out that the sacked National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his loyalists among others would be granted amnesty by his leadership. This is just as Senator Sheriff; yesterday vacated the national secretariat of the party in Abuja as his personal belongings were packed out, after the two-term governor of Borno state and erstwhile Senator, accepted the verdict of the nation’s apex court and congratulated Senator Ahmed Makarfi on his victory. Speaking through the National Publicity Secretary of the NCC, Prince Dayo Adeyeye at the party’s temporary office on Wuse 2 in Abuja yesterday, Makarfi said that the 2019 general elections will be a walk over for PDP, declaring that the era when the All Progressives Congress (APC) ride roughshod over Nigerians was over. The former governor of Kaduna State, who noted that Nigerians lost hope when the PDP was in crisis, however urged party members who defected to the ruling party as well as those in the newly founded political parties to return to the fold. This is even as the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Sen. Walid Jibrin, in a terse statement said “I would have resigned as BoT chairman if Sheriff had won.” Also yesterday, Makarfi met with former PDP Ministers, during which he promised that the party “Will set up some committees to resolve some issues in the South West and we will also interact with Sheriff and some of his people.” Continuing, he said, “We will leave the room open. Sheriff accepted the judgment going by what I read in the media.” In his press conference earlier, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, disclosed that the party would grant amnesty to Sheriff and all his loyalists. While he described Sheriff as a monumental distraction, who created a painful and agonising period for the party, Adeyeye noted that they must desist from committing fresh offense. His words, “Our hands are extended to all those on the other side. We will grant general amnesty to everybody. We have declared no victor, no vanquished.
We want to give them full embrace and cooperate with them.” Adeyeye however warned that the embrace to Sheriff and his followers would be predicated on their abstinence from committing any fresh offense. He said that they will use the model in Osun West Senatorial election, noting that the cooperation of both sides led to PDP’s victory. According to him, “If we had done that in Edo and Ondo states we would have won. Going forward, we appeal that those who have cases in court in states should withdraw their cases.” On PDP’s plan to bounce back in 2019, Adeyeye promised that the party will give virile opposition to the APC, noting that the two years holiday they gave them is over. He said, “Everybody is happy. People are happy because there is a ray of hope for them because APC has been a disaster. When PDP was in crisis, Nigerians lost hope completely. Now that PDP has overcome its leadership crisis, the election of 2019 will be a walk over for PDP. The arrogance of the APC is just too much. “We want to send a signal to APC that PDP has come together and they will see the virile opposition. We have given them two years holiday and they have run roughshod over Nigerians. “We will provide very strong opposition to APC and make Nigerians see the evils of this government,” he said. Adeyeye appealed to defected PDP members to return, saying, “We also appeal to our members who defected to APC and also our members who moved to the new parties should return. We will do justice to all. Some people are illegally holding some position, but we have to do justice even though they will not be happy.” However, in another development, the former acting spokesman of the party under the leadership of Sheriff, Hon. Bernard Mikko, said they are shocked by the Supreme Court verdict which sacked them from office on Wednesday. In a statement, Mikko said “We received with shock the 12th July judgment of the Supreme Court on the leadership of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “Though we still await the full written judgment of the highest court from our lawyers who will fully brief us on the details of the judgment; in the interim, we ask all members and supporters to remain steadfast in prayers for Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, we continue with our avowed demands that the party must be given back to the owners at the grassroots to always elect their party officials and those to contest elections for them at all levels. Internal democracy must be institutionalised in the party”, he said. Yesterday, one of the aides of Sheriff, identified simply as Usman, was seen removing some of the personal effects of the erstwhile chairman from the office which he had occupied since February following the Court of Appeal judgment that recognised him as National Chairman. Usman was sighted at the party’s national secretariat at about 1.30 pm after he had gone to Sheriff’s former office on the second floor to remove his personal belongings such as portraits and others. Also yesterday, Sheriff on his twitter handle stated that he would abide by the decision of the court, and called for reconciliation. He said, “The Supreme Court has spoken. I congratulate Senator Makarfi. We must all put our hands together to channel a new course for the PDP. “Moving forward, we must embrace true reconciliation, so as to be united as a formidable option to send the APC packing in 2019. “This is the time to build the PDP and to focus on the future, which include reclaiming power from the APC,” he added. Also speaking on the Supreme Court ruling, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni has said that the judgment delivered in the matter between Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff was to stabilise Nigerian democracy. The SAN who described the judgment as a sound one said that it proved the fact that Supreme Court has not reneged on its responsibility of ensuring that our democracy was not left in the hands of politicians to be derailed. Speaking with Daily Times on phone on Thursday, Ukweni who was still in Abuja and listened to the judgment said “It was a good judgement, it has again proved the Supreme Court’s position in stabilising the Nigerian democracy. “From the time of inception of the present democracy, you find out that Supreme Court has not reneged in its responsibility of ensuring that our democracy was not left in the hands of politicians to be derailed, they have been playing their roles as the guidance of the people, that exactly manifested in the judgement.” Speaking on members who left the party to the All Congress Party (APC), the SAN said “those who left on the basis that the party was in shamble now have reasons to return to the party because the Supreme Court has put all of them together, they should work together, everybody should come back now into the same fold and work together for the interest of the party.”