PDP BoT Takes Over, Sacks Sheriff, Makarfi

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AS the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defies solution, its Board of Trustees (BoT), on Wednesday, formally took over the administration of the party pending the amicable resolution of the crisis.

Addressing the establishment staff of the National Secretariat of the party and newsmen in Abuja, on Wednesday, the BoT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, declared that the action became necessary, following the conflicting court orders hanging on the neck of the party.

He explained that the board “is the only legal body of the party now that has not been encumbered by any court order.”

According to him, “nobody has taken the BoT to court. Today, the BoT remains the only legal body now in the whole set up and that is why we are here to play our role. We are here to perform our duty according to PDP’s constitution and our problems will soon be resolved.”

This came just as the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee set up to oversee the affairs of the party at the Port Harcourt National Convention, which was earlier speculated to assume office at the Wadata Plaza, National Secretariat in Abuja, failed to show up.

The crack in the party widened, following the conduct of separate national convention by two factions of the PDP on May 21, 2016.

Some elders on the platform of Concerned Stakeholders of PDP held their non-elective convention in Abuja and chose a former Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu, the faction, led by Modu-Sheriff, held theirs in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The elders mandated the BoT to take over the running of the affairs of the PDP.

But political intrigues, coupled with two contradictory injunctions by a court in Lagos and another in Abuja, compelled the party leaders that converged on Rivers State to put on hold the planned elective convention.

Instead, leaders chose a former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the chairman of a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party for 90 days, within which to hold a fresh national convention.

The party leaders also sacked Modu-Sheriff as PDP’s acting national chairman. This may have put paid to Sheriff’s ambition of becoming substantive chairman had exacerbated the crisis of confidence among the major stakeholders in both factions of the party.

The decision of the leaders at the Port Harcourt convention to suspend the convention had hinged their order of the Federal High Court in particular, barring election into the key offices, including the post of national secretary.

However, Sheriff fought back, saying he remained the chairman of PDP, thus the police had to seal-off the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, to prevent possible breach of public peace by the three factions.

The office was reopened on Wednesday, based on a request by the party.

Senator Jibrin, who said his board would be operating from the boardroom of the secretariat, declared “we are not going to take over anybody’s office.”

The BoT chairman, who was at the meeting with the secretary of the board, Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe; former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu; former Senate Majority Leader, Senator Stella Omu, among others, explained that the sealing-off of the national secretariat by the police was to protect and safeguard the party’s property.

According to him, “we, the BoT, have been asked under the constitution of the party to be in charge of the assets and the liabilities of the PDP generally. It is in that respect that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, having considered the importance of our constitution and having considered the importance of the staff of the PDP headquarters here, that this place be opened and not only be opened, but entrusted in the hand of the BoT.”

While describing the seeming crisis rocking the party as temporary, which would be overcome soon, he pointed out that the BoT had reached out to those involved in the crisis with the aim of resolving it.

According to him: “We have gone very far to resolve this matter, we are making contacts, consultations and we are not here to blame anybody, but to resolve the problem. PDP will never die, we are only on sabbatical and once the sabbatical is over, we are going to take over our leadership, we are coming back in 2019.”

Speaking on the forthcoming Edo State governorship election and the process that will lead to selection of the party’s standard-bearer and how the party will meet INEC timetable, Jibrin said “I want to assure that we are putting heads together with our lawyers, which will not last long; so be rest assured that everything will be in order.