PDP crisis: Sheriff, others to meet Obasanjo
Olusola Fabiyi, Kayode Idowu and Enyioha Opara
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party , Senator Ali Modu Sheriff , has said that he and members of his national working committee are planning to meet former President Olusegun Obasanjo .
Obasanjo , a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party , tore his membership card of the party some years ago .
This happened when former President Goodluck Jonathan jettisoned the zoning formula in the PDP and insisted that he was going to be its presidential candidate during the 2015 election .
Before then , Obasanjo had stopped taking part in the party ’ s activities.
Sheriff , who was recently declared the authentic national chairman of the party by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State , had been meeting with its key members and its founding fathers .
He had met with Jonathan and also a former chairman of its BoT , Chief Tony Anenih.
National Secretary of the party , Prof . Wale Oladipo, told one of our correspondents on Saturday, that Sheriff was planning to meet the former president who he described as an eminent member of the party .
Apart from Obasanjo , he also said that the former governor of Borno State and members of his NWC were also in consultation with former Vice President Namadi Sambo .
He said that no efforts would be spared to restore normalcy to the former ruling party , which has now been factionalised.
Oladipo said , “ We will meet former President Obasanjo . He is our leader and he is also a former president elected on the platform of our party .
“ We have high respect for him as a person and the office he occupied . Don ’ t forget that he was also a former Chairman of our BoT . ”
On why the party forced its way into the party ’ s national secretariat on Friday, he said the constitution of the party put his office as the custodian of the secretariat .
He said that it was wrong for the Chairman of the BoT , Senator Walid Jibrin , to hold the keys.
Oladipo added that the national caretaker committee had a secretary , who he said ought to hold the keys before the committee was sacked by the court .
He said , “ It is not right for the chairman of the BoT to claim that the keys were with him . The constitution of our party stipulates which office is the custodian of the national secretariat .
“ How did the keys get to him ? Assuming there was a crisis , why not keep the keys with the secretary of the illegal caretaker committee?
“ But if he had reported to the police , then that is good . He should also tell the police what section of our party constitution gives him the power to keep the keys . ”
It was also gathered that Sheriff was planning to reactivate the accounts of the party , which our correspondent gathered had been dormant .
Oladipo said that the party would liase with the director of finance on how to activate the party ’ s accounts, adding that officers of the party must show loyalty to it and not individuals .
Meanwhile , members of the PDP who are sympathetic to the factional leader , Senator Ahmed Makarfi , were stopped from staging a peaceful protest in Maiduguri , the Borno State capital , on Saturday.
They were dispersed by the police who stormed the venue of their meeting , armed with a petition from the Ali Modu Sheriff ’ s faction that their assembly was illegal and should not be allowed.
The group dispersed but Ambassador Usman Ibrahim, who addressed journalists on their behalf , said , “ We the grassroots stakeholders of PDP in Borno State unanimously accept the leadership of Sen . Ahmed Makarfi , the caretaker chairman of our great party . ”
Also in Minna , the Niger State capital , party members foiled an attempt by the police to stop a PDP stakeholders’ meeting billed to take place at the party ’ s secretariat
The PDP members from the 25 local government areas of the state had arrived at the secretariat as early as 10 . 00 am but the police were mobilised to the place to stop the assembly .
The meeting was summoned by the Tanko Beji- led state executive to affirm the position of the national working committee on the crisis that had polarised the party .
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that policemen went there to enforce an “ order from above ” that the meeting should not hold but met an already filled hall and had to use one of their vehicles , marked NPF 9993 C to block the main entrance to the secretariat.
Beji later led some officials to the police headquarters where he briefed the Commissioner of Police , Muazu Zubairu , that the meeting was a purely party affair without any plan to cause a breach of peace as being alleged .
Source: The Punch