Not content with the interventions of courts in their battle over the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State traded blame over the party’s crisis yesterday.
But this is coming as the former members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP on Tuesday rose from a meeting announcing their loyalty to the decision of the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt and withdrew their support from Sheriff and backed the caretaker committee headed by a former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi to steer the affairs of the party.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, by the outgoing national vice chairman of the party, Uche Secondus; deputy national secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe; national legal adviser Victor Kwon; national woman leader, Amb. Kema Chikwe; national youth leader, Abdullahi Maibasira; national financial secretary, Bolaji Anani; national treasurer and Alhaji Buhari Bala, they said as products of the party’s convention in Port Harcourt, they accepted all its decisions and resolutions.
The officers also said the party’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, whom they said was “indisposed on health grounds” had also agreed with the resolution.
Reacting to allegations that he was out to destroy the PDP, Sheriff, through his spokesman, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, said that the former Borno governor was actually out to build the party “and rescue it from the clutches of overzealous stakeholders who plundered the fortunes of the party over the years.”
He said that Sheriff was not interested in being the chairman of the PDP in the first place, adding that it would be an irony to say he came to destroy an institution he did not want to lead.
“Having been convinced that he was the best material at that point, he accepted the responsibility because he was so much in love with the party; and it was at the point that people like Wike and Fayose discovered that they couldn’t control or manipulate Ali Sheriff to act their scripts, that was the point at which they started mobilising against him.
“Wike took advantage of the convention being planned in his domain to domesticate all arrangements towards the national convention, by hijacking all committees, dictating to all committees the manner they should go, doctoring the delegates list and trying to cajole Ali Sheriff into accepting what would have been the worst disaster to PDP.”
Bwala reiterated that Sheriff, faced with many court rulings, chose to obey lawful court pronouncements, and called off the convention for another day.
Asked if Sheriff was among those who took the PDP to court, he said the chairman did not go to court, but quickly added, “people went to court on his behalf.”
He, however, disclosed that Sheriff appealed the case and asked the court to vacate the injunction, because he claimed he was not party to it. “Unfortunately, the Appeal Court refused to vacate that order which compelled him to call off the convention,” he added.
On his part, Wike yesterday accused Sheriff of a clandestine plan to destroy the party. Wike who was the chairman of the 2016 National Convention Planning Committee said the former Acting National Chairman participated in all the processes leading to the national convention, including the screening where he was disqualified.
He explained that Sherriff should apologise to the PDP for denying he filed a suit against the party to abort the convention that eventually produced former Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Makarfi as caretaker chairman.
Piqued by the crisis plaguing the PDP, Wike in a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday said Sheriff changed his position on the national convention when he got information that he was not qualified to contest the election on Saturday.
“We have seen that there is a hidden agenda. But nobody can destroy the PDP. The PDP will wax stronger,” he said.
The governor stated that Sheriff had subjected himself to screening by the National Convention Screening Committee on Friday wherein he praised the transparent process, but only to cite a court order, on Saturday during a press conference when the result of the screening committee did not favour him.