PDP crisis: Makarfi chides Sheriff over attack on Jonathan, Wike


The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has chided the courtbacked National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, for attacking former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. Sheriff had, at a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, accused Jonathan of collecting N50 million from Wike to organise last week’s stakeholders’ meeting to reconcile warring factions in the PDP. Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, addressed the media briefing. But at another media briefing in Abuja yesterday, Makarfi said it’s uncharitable for Sheriff and his camp to concoct deliberate falsehood aimed at impugning the character and public perception of the former president. In the text of the address read by the spokesman of the Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the faction said it’s the height of lunacy for Sheriff and Ojougboh to allege that a person of Jonathan’s standing could be induced by anyone to organise a meeting. Makarfi said: “These people are pigs in the mud and they have no qualms in dragging decent people into the pit. “Our first reaction after reading the concoction put together by Cairo Ojugboh was to ig- Na’Abba blames Obasanjo for executive, legislature face-off Aformer Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke( SAN), yesterday raised the alarm that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is planning to raid his home in Okene.

He also said it is likely that the anti-graft agency might plant incriminating documents or cash in the house. Adoke, who cried out through a statement by his Media Officer, Mr. Victor Akhidenor, in Abuja said the EFCC was seeking evidence to indict him. The statement said: “We have been reliably informed of a plan by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to raid the Okene, Kogi country home of Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. “We gathered that the swoop on the country home of the former Attorney General and Minister of justice could happen any moment from now as part of the EFCC’s sustained campaign to soil the good name of Mr Adoke in the guise of seeking evidence to indict him. “It would be recalled that only last week, the EFCC invaded Adoke’s residence in Kano State, breaking doors, upturning chairs and tables and generally disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood. “They claimed they were looking for documents with which to substantiate their wild allegations of corruption against Mr Adoke. It did not find anything incriminating as there was no such document.

“But that action alone has established one fact; that the EFCC had no shred of evidence on which it had charged Mr. Adoke to court. It was after charging him that they now started hunting around for evidence. Is this FORMER Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of being behind the frosty relationship that has existed between the executive and legislature since the return to democratic rule in 1999. The former speaker said former President Obasanjo wanted what he described as a subjugated legislature, but met a stiff opposition in the House of Representatives. Speaking at a national conference on “Political Party Supremacy and the Dynamics of Parliamentary Autonomy” organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), the former speaker said the decision of former President Obasanjo to impose a leadership on the National Assembly and the resolve to fight back by the lawmakers are responsible for the relationship that has existed between the two arms of government since 1999.

Tracing the origin of the crisis, Na’Abba said Obasanjo’s first step was to change the date of the inauguration of the National Assembly from June 3, 1999 to June 6 to allow him ample opportunity to manipulate the election of the Senate President, thus paving the way for the emergence of Evan Ewerem as Senate President instead of Chuba Okadigbo that was preferred by most senators. He said: “The action of June 3, 1999 by Obasanjo, the election of Ghali Na’Abba as speaker of the House of Representatives on July 22, 1999 and the election of Senator Chuba Okadigbo as Senate President convoluted to define the relationship between the legislature and the executive. “The relationship between the National Assembly and the executive arm became characterized by antagonism. It was clearly more than the necessary kind of friction which was desirous for the proper functioning of the legislature.” Also speaking, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim also blamed the former President for the lack of party supremacy in the current political dispensation, pointing out that by declaring himself as the leader of the party, he succeeded in eroding the powers of the party to control their members.

He said: “The original sin was committed in 1999 when the then newly elected President Olusegun Obasanjo declared himself the leader of the party, thereby usurping the power of the party chairman. “Once he did that, sitting governors in the state declared themselves party leaders at the levels. Party executives then became simple figureheads without real power or influence.” In his paper entitled ‘Political Party Supremacy and the Challenges of Executive and Legislative Relationship in Nigeria’, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, said the Nigerian nation had seen the worst of all sorts of bad governance, pointing out that while there is corruption all over the world, the type of corruption in Nigeria “is uniquely different. There is an element of greed in our brand of corruption. In other words, we are greedily corrupt.” nore him since he is not an officer of the PDP. “But ignoring him may send wrong signal to the unsuspecting members of the public and members of our party, hence the need for this clarification.

“Mr. Ojugboh in recent times has been making a series of unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations against major stakeholders of the PDP, especially those people his renegade group believes are seriously against the evil intention of Ali Modu Sheriff to destroy the only main opposition voice in the country, the PDP. “However, we are not surprised that Mr. Cairo would hallucinate and find pleasure in castigating Governors Nyesom Wike and Ayodele Fayose of Rivers and Ekiti states at every turn, but has never been able to utter a single word of criticism against their paymaster, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), despite its gross ineptitude and maladministration. “For the record, the last stakeholders’ meeting convened and chaired by former President Jonathan was not sponsored or organised by Governor Wike or Fayose as alleged by Mr. Cairo Ojugboh”.

According to Makarfi, the need for the meeting was agreed upon at the residence of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Aliyu Gusau, in the presence of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, Professor Wale Oladipo, Senator David Mark, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ben Obi. “Gen. Gusau and Senator Mark were mandated in that meeting to approach the former President to convene an all-inclusive meeting of stakeholders in order to chart a way forward for a lasting peace in the party”, Makarfi added. The Caretaker Committee expressed dismay at Sheriff’s penchant for blackmailing every available public institution in the country just to mislead the unsuspecting public. Makarfi continued, “Again, we wish to take serious exception to the baseless allegation made by Ojougboh that Governor Wike bribed the judiciary to get justice in the Rivers State governorship election at the Supreme Court. “This is another high point of rascality by the Sheriff renegade group and we have been reliably informed that the latest accusation against the judiciary is part of their calculated and clandestine plot to blackmail the justices of the Supreme Court.

“They did the same to the justices of the Special Appeal panels during the Ondo State governorship election case when the panel, led by Justice Sankey, was falsely accused of collecting over N200 million from former Governor Olusegun Mimiko in November 2016. “We believe the judiciary and indeed all Nigerians are taking note of the antecedents of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and co. as we urge the judiciary not to ignore such weighty allegations by this irritant group”. The Makarfi camp expressed satisfaction that the ongoing campaign by Sheriff to infiltrate the ranks of party members in the South East and South South was being spurned by key stakeholders. He stated that the PDP is not organising any campaign or rally in any part of the country at the moment and urge members to remain steadfast and continue to ignore any meeting called by Sheriff and his “doomsday naysayers”. According to him, there will be no elective national convention of the PDP as announced by Sheriff until the appeal pending before the Supreme Court is decided.

He advised state chapters to ignore any directive from Sheriff regarding the convention. He also enjoined stakeholders to ignore the request made by Sheriff for state chapters to submit their lists of delegates on or before April 27 and his call for the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on May 3. The PDP, he said, will announce meetings of the various organs of the party at the appropriate time after due consultation with all stakeholders. “For the umpteenth time, we wish to reiterate that Senator Sheriff and co. are in defiance of the Court of Appeal order of status quo ante May 21, 2016 with self-appointed officers like Cairo Ojugboh. “Only three officers are with him, and, therefore, such NWC is non-existent. As for the deputy officers who shamelessly assumed offices as NWC members on the false claim of the purported resignation of the substantive officers, their comic action against the party speaks volume”. The Makarfi camp called on all organs and key stakeholders in the party nationwide to continue supporting the Caretaker Committee in moving the party forward. According to him, the only interest of the Caretaker Committee is the survival of the PDP against the “suffocating influence” of the ruling APC.