National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) said National Chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, has no good intentions for the party.
Publicity Secretary of the committee, Mr Dayo Adeyeye, stated this in a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
Speaking at the backdrop of a statement credited to Sheriff on his 2019 presidential ambition, Adeyeye said that all efforts of the national chairman were geared towards his hidden ambition.
He said that Sheriff was holding PDP to ransom because he wanted to hijack the party and use it for his selfish interest.
“We had raised the concern that Sheriff was not interested in conducting a national convention that will be in the interest of the party and all members.
“He was planning a convention that will put his cronies in critical party positions who will then rubber-stamp his candidacy when the time to pick the PDP candidate for 2019 Presidential Election comes.
“We are worried that some important party leaders also could not see beyond the facade, tagging along with Sheriff as he drags the party through the mud in his bid at achieving his selfish ambition.
“ We hope perceptible minds in the party can now see why it is extremely dangerous to trust Sheriff with the organization of any convention,’’ he said.
Adeyeye said that having Sheriff as PDP presidential candidate would be a real delight for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It is as good as having your sparring partner as your opponent in a major bout.
“We want to make a serious contention for power in 2019. We don’t want to field a candidate who is the captain of the second team of the ruling party,’’ he said.
On the allegation that the caretaker committee was already boasting of going to obtain victory on the party’s leadership crisis at the Supreme Court, Adeyeye said it was blackmail from Sheriff’s group.
According to him, it is rather the Sheriff group that is already blackmailing the Supreme Court on the matter the way they did to the Court of Appeal in the Ondo governorship in 2016.
“They did the same against the second panel for which the Supreme Court awarded costs of over N20 million against them and their lawyers.
“They were the ones celebrating that appeal court judgment even before it was given. They said they knew the judgment.
“Their subtle blackmail of Supreme Court is unbecoming.’’
Dr Cairo Ojougboh, acting National Deputy Chairman of the party, in a separate news conference also in Abuja, accused the caretaker committee of boasting about the party leadership crisis now before the Supreme Court.
Ojougboh alleged that the caretaker committee was already boasting that the judgment rejected by the Court of Appeal would be adopted by the Supreme Court.
“We make bold to say nobody can buy the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court cannot be bought.
“The PDP has implicit confidence in the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Samuel Onnoghen and his colleagues in the Supreme Court.
“We, therefore, advice Makarfi and his co-travelers that their wishful judgment which they are parading will remain in the trash can,” Ojougboh said.
Meanwhile, the PDP members and their leaders in the South-South said they remained committed to the party and the resolutions of the May 21, 2016 national convention in Port Harcourt.
National Vice Chairman of the party in the zone, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said all party members in South-South were under the authority of the National Caretaker Committee headed by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, which was constituted at the Port Harcourt convention.
He assured that the loyalty of members to the committee would be sustained until the verdict of the Supreme Court on the appeal before it on the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt had on Feb. 17, 2017, ruled that Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff remained the authentic chairman of the PDP.
The court also directed that status quo before the national convention in Port Harcourt, which sacked the leadership of the PDP and constituted the caretaker committee, should remain.
But, a minority judgment by a one of the judges, out of the three justices of the Appeal Court that heard the case, recognised the resolutions and actions taken at the Port Harcourt convention.
The judge held that as somebody appointed to administer the party for about three months and organise a national convention, Sheriff had by the resolution of the convention, seized to be chairman of the party.
Ogidi expressed optimism that the final verdict of the court on the issue would vindicate the position of majority of the party’s members, and would uphold the minority judgment at the Appeal Court.
According to him, the minority judgment captured the crux of the matter and it is the way to go to restore sanctity in the PDP.
On the merger talks between PDP and some political parties, Ogidi said that it was real but that the merging parties would adopt PDP as their new party.
According to him, PDP is the brand and cannot be changed. Yes, other parties will merge with us but the name PDP will be retained after the fusion.