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PDP BoT makes U-turn, okays Sheriff as National Chairman

By News Express on 24/02/2016

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Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have said the simmering crisis over the appointment of Senator Modu Ali Sheriff as the party chairman has been resolved.

Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, was elected by the National Executive Committee of the PDP to replace Ahmed Adamu Muazu, who resigned in May last year.

But within hours of his election on Tuesday, senior party men and members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) said he was not suitable for the post, a position the BoT members again repeated on Monday.

However, after the governors yesterday held a closed meeting with the BoT members, the National Assembly caucus led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu as well as the National Working Committee it was announced that the dispute had been resolved and that Sheriff should remain in office for three months.

Members of the BoT and other stakeholders had hitherto maintained that with him at the helm of affairs, the PDP would face serious legitimacy crisis.

The BoT’s sentiment is shared by a cross section of Nigerians who see Sheriff as an alleged sponsor of the Boko Haram sect.

A source said at the beginning of yesterday’s meeting some of the BoT members “stood their ground” that Sheriff must go.

“The leadership of the PDP Governors Forum used all entreaties to convince them but they refused. However, as you know, we are in Nigeria…they were later cajoled and enticed with many promises and they bowed to pressure at the end,” he said.

 He said the development was not good for the PDP. “We will continue to face legitimacy crisis because over 80 percent of actual PDP members don’t want Sheriff as their chairman. The PDP governors only used the resources at their disposal to have their way,” he said.

Sheriff was a three time senator and served as governor of Borno State between 2003 and 2011 when he was defeated in his bid to go back to the Senate for the fourth time.

His emergence as the new PDP national chairman was said to have received the blessings of former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Senate President David Mark, all the PDP governors and some members of the National Assembly.

The North east is expected to complete the tenure of the erstwhile chairman, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu, whose tenure was expected to expire in March.

Sheriff was not among the 26 aspirants that wanted to become the chairman of the party, following a court judgment that asked the acting chairman, Prince Uche Secondus to vacate the office.

Briefing newsmen yesterday at the end of the meeting held at the Ondo State Governors’ Lodge, Abuja, which lasted for several hours, chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko said all the issues surrounding the party’s chairmanship had been thrashed out.

“I am happy to let you know that all the major organs in the party; the Governors Forum, National Working Committee, National Assembly Caucus and the Board of Trustees have agreed to stand by our national chairman to ensure that our party moves forward.

“We have put behind us all the controversies in the press in recent times. I want to assure you that we are together as a party.

“We have also mandated the national chairman and the NWC to put in motion immediately the processes of ensuring that within three months, a National Convention of our party is convened.

“And we will brief all our members nationwide within the next two weeks on the timetable in that direction. In the next two weeks, the timetable will be out,” he said.

Present at the briefing were Governors Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State, Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Minority Leaders and former governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Akpabio, PDP national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh and PDP women leader Kema Chikwe among others.

The Board of Trustees (BoT) acting chairman who doubles as secretary, Senator Walid Jibrin also made on u-turn, saying that Sheriff had been accepted to administer the affairs of the party and organise a National Convention within three months.

However, there was a sharp division within the ranks of the party as its former ministers that served between 1999 and 2015, insisted that Sheriff must resign.

The former ministers held their meeting at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, where they rejected the new party chairman, saying due process was not followed in his appointment.

Addressing newsmen at the end of their meeting, which lasted for about five hours, chairman of the PDP Former Ministers’ Forum and former minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, said Walid Jibrin was on his own to have said that the BoT had accepted Sheriff.

He said a reasonable percentage of the former ministers are BoT members but were not consulted.

“We the PDP ministers from 1999 to 2015 reject Senator Sheriff as national chairman of our great party, the PDP, due to the illegitimate process that brought him. We call for the conduct of congresses and national convention before the end of March.

“We condemn all acts of impunity in running the affairs of the party. We will continue consultations with critical stakeholders to strengthen the party. Our decision is guided by the party’s constitution. The person who presided over the meeting that brought Sheriff was ordered to vacate that seat by a court of competent jurisdiction. So things must be done properly.

“The BoT’s position does not change our decision; we still feel the way we feel. Consultations will continue and when we see reason, we will reconsider and review our decision. But now, we stand by our communiqué. So that window is there for consultations.

“We note with dismay the threat to one of us, Femi Fani-Kayode, by Senator Sheriff; a threat to him is a threat to all of us,” he said.

Similarly, former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode described as empty, the threat by Sheriff that he would deal with him for his comments regarding his alleged link with the Boko Haram sect.

Sheriff, at his formal take over as national chairman on Monday, said: “Fani-Kayode will not go scot-free” for comments portraying him as sponsor of the sect.

But Fani-Kayode said it was unfortunate that Sheriff who came as national chairman to move the party forward was issuing threats to members, adding that he was ready to meet Sheriff in court.

Some of the former ministers at the meeting include that of state for power, Mohammed Wakil, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, John Ode, Aminu Wali, Ojo Maduelke, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau among others.

Speaking on why the decision of the former ministers’ forum cannot stand, Mimiko said: “All I can tell you is that every past minister is a product of the state caucus of the party. They emanate from the state. The caucus of the party is all designed that every state is represented by the chairman of the party.

“Secondly, all the key organs in the party are also represented in the caucus. The governors are there, National Assembly members, National Working Committee members, BoT members are there. And I tell you that every governor, NWC member, member of the National Assembly emanate from the state organ of the party.” (Daily Trust)

•Photo shows Modu Sheriff.

Source News Express

Posted 24/02/2016 12:10:39 PM





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