Makarfi Must Vacate Office for PDP to Have Peace, Sheriff Insists
Embattled acting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Monday, maintained that if the party desired peace, Makarfi must vacate office as the national caretaker committee chairman.
Sheriff is also insisting that the appointment of the national caretaker committee at the Port Harcourt convention was illegal and unknown to PDP constitution.
But the former governor ally, Senator Buruji Kashamu, said Sheriff should sheath his sword and join hands with the national caretaker committee in the process of organizing fresh national convention.
Sheriff, who spoke when a delegation of PDP members from the 17 local government areas of Abia state paid him a solidarity visit, said part of the terms of reconciliation is for a fresh national convention to be held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja rather than Port Harcourt.
He also suggested the formation of a harmonized convention committee with 10 members each from his group and the Makarfi committee.
Sheriff said he was approached for reconciliation by the PDP governors from the north east, Darius Isiaku of Taraba and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe but that told the peace meeting that unless the Makarfi-committee is sacked there will be no truce outside the court.
"Yes we have met and issues were discussed but all the issues I put forward to them was for the Makarfi Caretaker Committee to resign. Since it is an aberration as far as our party constitution is concerned. I told them that I am not ready to be a permanent chairman but I want the party to be placed in proper stead.
"If he resigns tomorrow I will ask the members of my NWC whose tenure still lasts to 2018 including myself and set up a convention Committee in Abuja and put respected members of leader in the World as members of the committee," he said.
Sheriff said that beside the resignation of Makarfi, he must be allowed to nominate the chairman and 10 others into the new convention committee.
"In that convention I will give away my mandate that does not expire until 2018 and I remain the national chairman of this party until 2018. If the leaders of our party felt that we can find a solution without exhausting the Court then I am open to it we can find a political solution.
"Nothing like what has been reported. If you do not stand on the truth, the end result will be a serious distraction. The convention committee that we will do I. Will nominate the chairman 10 people and Makarfi group will present 10 people and plan a convention that will take place in Abuja.
"I will give up my tenure if people believe that I was doing that for myself. I said Makarfi Committee must resign the party does not believe in. If I go to the convention and say that I don't want to continue to 2018 it is okay, that in the sight of law is allowed but as it is now I remain the chairman till 2018.
"I have given the people opportunity to see that Sheriff is not the problem. The problem is that some people wants to make the party their personal property. And that will not happen under Sheriff," he surmised.
But an ally of the embattled former national chairman, Kashamu, on Monday asked Sheriif to stop further resistance and support the efforts at reconciliation so that the party can move forward.
"One thing I took away from the many reconciliation meetings and diplomatic shuttles is the fact that the PDP is blessed with many good leaders among who are Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Therefore, I can only plead with our great leader, Senator Sheriff, who has been hurt, to soft-pedal and let go, in the interest of the party and our teeming members. He has shown that he is a principled man and a courageous person," he said
Also, Buruji said since the former Borno governor and Senator Makarfi have said they are not interested in contesting for the office of national chairman of the party at the national convention, Sheriff should encourage all his people to participate in the rescheduled national convention.
On the comments credited to Dr. Cairo Ojougboh to the effect that the cases in court will be pursued till the end, Buruji cautioned against fueling the crisis further.
Buruji who gave reasons for his recent rapprochement and support for the resolution of the leadership crisis in the party, said his grouse was that he was not carried along in the decisions to sack Sheriff.
"It has become necessary for me to make a few clarifications and offer some insights into where we are. Let me clarify that no one has dumped anyone. We are members of the same party.
"When I was asked by our leaders to support our revered national leader, Senator Sheriff, as the National Chairman, none of the leaders told me that they had changed their mind. Therefore, my support was to maintain the dignity and respect for the office of the National Chairman," he said.
Narrating what went on at the reconciliation meeting held between Sheriff and Makarfi- led Caretaker Committee last before the National caucus meeting, Buruji said there was an agreement to convene an expanded National Caucus meeting and that a harmonized National Convention Committee (NCC) should be set up.
" Disputes and disagreements are part and parcel of any dynamic organization. But while we disagree, we must not throw away the baby with the bath water as true party men and women. There must be room for of the disputes and disagreements.
"After series of meetings with many of our respectable leaders, a larger meeting was held with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi last Tuesday at the Taraba State Governor’s Lodge, they both agreed that the two of them will address the nation and members of the party at the National Convention. In effect, the two great leaders showed that they have the interest of the party at heart.
"However, the only point of divergence was who should preside over the expanded national caucus meeting and constitute the National Convention Committee.It was then proposed that they both Co-Chair the expanded national caucus meeting and jointly constitute the National Convention Committee. Other proposals were made.
"It was at this stage that I decided to attend the expanded national caucus meeting and join hands with other well-meaning leaders to see through the reconciliation process. As a true party man, I could not but support the reconciliation process in order to move the party forward," he said.