news

Reps caucus sets up panel on PDP leadership tussle

By  | 

John Ameh and

Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja

The caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party at the House of Representatives on Tuesday set up a committee primarily to review the leadership crisis in the party and proffer the way forward.

The caucus also asked the committee to weigh the crisis against the current political developments in the country, including claims that the ruling All Progressives Congress was struggling to fulfil its electoral promises about two years after assuming office.

The committee, which will operate on an ad hoc basis, is chaired by a member of the party from Enugu State, Mr. Pat Asadu.

It was inaugurated by the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor, in Abuja.

But, a faction in the caucus in the House, loyal to the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, described the setting up of the peace panel as “medicine after death.”

The Sheriff loyalists are led by a lawmaker from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma.

Inaugurating the committee, Ogor said, “The committee is to recommend the way forward in all the efforts to ensure the unity of the party within the House, coherence and interest of members.”

The caucus directed Asadu to produce a report in the next two weeks.

Speaking shortly after the inauguration, Asadu berated the APC’s government, saying after two years in office, it would appear that the government did not have much to offer Nigerians.

He noted that the PDP must strengthen itself and recover the leadership of the country from the APC.

Asadu added, “It takes only a cursory look at the almost two years of the present government for all to acknowledge that Nigeria needs its beloved party, the PDP, in whatever shape or form, not just as a vibrant democratic party, but also as the party that forms and runs the government of Nigeria.

“The PDP cannot and will not be allowed to die just like that while the rot that is noticeable in this government continues.

“We have to recover, rediscover and re-energise our party, to provide Nigerians with a government Nigerians actually crave for and deserve.

“The PDP government was not and could never have been perfect, and few human endeavours are totally perfect, but the worst of the PDP government is 100 times better than the best of the present APC government.

“We all are witnesses to a party under which the government has not only impoverished our people by leading us into an avoidable recession without a single clue as to how to get us out of it, but also runs a government under which all truly democratic institutions are under siege.”

But Agbonayinma dismissed the committee in an interview with Nigeria News.

He argued that reconciliation could have long taken place, but for the unwillingness of the Ahmed Makarfi-led group to embrace peace.

Agbonayinma added, “This is medicine after death; a kangaroo arrangement that will not lead anywhere.

“We are lawmakers, not law-breakers. There is a national chairman of our party; what are they saying? Until otherwise decided by a superior court pronouncement, there is no issue in the PDP.

“They should cooperate and move the party forward with Sheriff.”

Makarfi, Sheriff fight over LG polls’ tickets

Meanwhile, the Sheriff-led PDP and the sacked Makarfi’s National Caretaker Committee of the party, on Tuesday, clashed over the platforms members should contest local government elections in the country.

The Makarfi faction said it had given its  state chapters the go-ahead to decide on the political platform to adopt to contest the forthcoming local government elections in Łagos and other states of the federation.

Modu-Sheriff group, in its reaction, described the Makarfi committee as an illegal group, adding that it should embrace peace.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Makarfi committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, said in a statement on Tuesday that the party had to take the decision to prevent its members from being disenfranchised in the elections in view of the pending leadership case involving the two factions of the party at the Supreme Court.

Adeyeye stated that the national caretaker committee had to opt for the decision to avoid what he described as a repeat of the Edo and Ondo states elections, where the Sheriff group allegedly fielded lackeys of the APC to undermine the party’s preparations for the elections.

He added, “However, while we await the verdict of the Supreme Court, we are confronted with pending local government, national and state assembly by-elections in many states of the federation.

“Since the platform of our great party, the PDP is currently in dispute, we recognise the anxiety of our patriotic and loyal members to avoid a repeat of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections’ experience, where Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff and his co-travellers tried to scuttle the chances of our members by fielding APC lackeys and surrogates as alternative candidates in order to disturb, distract and dissipate the energy and concentration of our genuine candidates in those elections.

“It is indisputable that this was the main reason for our defeat particularly in the Ondo governorship election. That was why we deliberately decided not to run parallel congresses in Anambra State in order not to subject our party members in that state to the agony of a disputed platform.”

The Makarfi-led faction alleged that the Sheriff-led PDP had been creating factional chapters in different states of the federation in order to compromise the party’s chances in the council elections.

“In the circumstances and with no hope of the Ali Modu-Sheriff problem abating before the Supreme Court judgment, we are left with no choice but to consider ways by which our members will not be disenfranchised in these elections.

“However our position is not to choose a platform for any state, where true PDP candidates are denied the opportunity to stand for the elections. State chapters are allowed to take any decision they consider appropriate,” the statement added.

But the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Carol Ojougboh, urged the Makarfi faction to return to the recommendations of the Governor Seriake Dickson’s committee on reconciliation.

He said the party had conducted successful elections in Ebonyi State and was making preparations to conduct others in Cross Rivers and other states.

Ojougboh, who described the Makarfi faction as an illegal body, said the PDP, as a family, would not wash its dirty linen in public.

He stated, “As far as we are concerned, we are one family and whatever problem we have in the PDP, we should not wash our dirty linen in public.

“What surprises us is that Makarfi claims he has a strong appeal at the Supreme Court when the Court of Appeal has made it clear that Makarfi disobeyed violently the order of the courts in Lagos and Abuja. Is Makarfi (supporters) expecting that the law will be re-written for them, to suit their personal interest?

“By their attitude they are still unrepentant. We implore then to have a change of heart and return to the fold, so that we can adequately prepare to return to power in 2019. The door of peace is still open. We urge the Makarfi group to go back to Dickson reconciliation committee’s recommendations.”

Copyright PUNCH.               
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *