Bayelsa State Governor and Chairman of the PDP standing committee on Reconciliation, Hon. Seriake Dickson, has called on the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker committee (NCC) to step down in the interest of the party.
This is coming on the heels of the endorsement of the recommendation of Governor Dickson’s reconciliation committee for a political solution by 23 State Chairmen of the party on Friday night.
Governor Dickson made the call while speaking with newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
The Governor pointed out that the stage was now set for all the chieftains and elders of the party to impress it on the caretaker committee to cede its authority to the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led leadership.
He said: “When the idea of making Sheriff the National Chairman of our party was hatched, I personally kicked against it.
“I also turned down all the overtures from Sheriff because I did not believe in him and what he did.
“So now, my position is that we have to move forward. I am a politician of conviction, I am not a politician of convenience and I am not a typical Nigerian politician’’.
He said the party had come to a threshold when the right political decision should be taken to end the prolonged crisis.
He added: “The Makarfi-led caretaker committee should remember that it was a brain child of the majority of party members including I at a convention in Port Harcourt.
“I and up to 80 per cent of the population of the PDP members were for Makarfi but the unfolding events have compelled us to adopt a political resolution instead of embarking on further bickering.
“As politicians and democrats, we must first obey the constitution and all other instruments of civil rule and which includes obeying the judiciary”.
He also said: “We had expected that the Court of Appeal would give us judgment, but it rather upheld Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.
“Whether anybody likes Sheriff’s face or not, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee was stripped of its authority to manage the affairs of the party the day the judgment was delivered.
“It was in the spirit to honour the court’s pronouncement that the party’s reconciliation committee that I chair submitted its report on how we shall move forward to Sheriff.
“In fact, as it stands now, Sheriff has started addressing issues within the party, he is the one sending names of party members contesting elections in various states.
“If there is going to be a by-election in Kaduna today, Makarfi’s home state, INEC would not accept correspondences from Makarfi any longer because his business in the party has ended’’.
Dickson noted that Sheriff had always been disposed to political settlement of the crisis, adding that Makarfi had remained adamant.
His words: “So the reconciliation committee which I chair met several times to review our position in the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
“The reality is that Makarfi no longer has the legal backing to carry on with the task of managing the party.
“We are aware of this quagmire, and therefore, the reconciliation committee went ahead to formulate a realistic, practical and strategic response to this reality because in the end it would be to the benefit of PDP’’.
Dickson said the template to ensure the conduct of the party’s National Convention in June was uppermost, adding that Sheriff was positively disposed to it.
“So if you said you are passionate about the survival of the party, then you should be willing to sacrifice your ambition.
“The crisis has caused us a lot, our elected officials, top notch members are decamping to even lesser parties.
“The party continues to fail Nigerians because the crisis has so far prevented it from being a sound credible opposition even in the face of bad governance in the country right now,” he said.
On whether it was right to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal, Dickson said an amicable resolution of the crisis remained the best option.
“Yes, we said they can go on to appeal but without prejudice to the Supreme Court case; let us intensify and fast track the peace moves,’’ he said.
But the Makarfi-led NCC made it clear that if he (Makarfi) must resign, Sheriff too must resign for any political resolution of the crisis in PDP to be meaningful.
The NCC has also vowed to pursue its appeal in the Supreme Court to a logical conclusion in the interest of fairness, justice, equity and the nation’s democracy.
Meanwhile, the crisis in the PDP may be nearing an end with the intervention of 23 State Chairmen of the party endorsing the recommendation of Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson’s reconciliation committee for a political solution.
They also supported the committee’s reports and recommendation for an all-inclusive unity convention to be held as soon as possible.
The 23 PDP State chairmen in a joint communique read to journalists in Abuja by the FCT chairman, Yunusa Suleiman, after their emergency meeting held on Friday night, said Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, remained the chairman of the party, going by the pronouncement of the Appeal Court.
They suggested that every organ of the party, group or individuals that has anything to add to the recommendations should present same to the national chairman for consideration and deliberations, saying it would deepen internal democracy and support an all-inclusive regeneration of the party.
The communique was signed by PDP chairmen from Jigawa, Adamawa, Niger, Gombe, Taraba, Zamfara, Yobe, Kebbi, Kwara, Bayelsa, FCT, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Imo, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Kogi, Benue and Cross River states.
The communique reads: “The PDP Chapter Chairmen are very concerned about the crises engulfing the party as it is degenerating into the several decamping from the party across the Nation. Baring in mind the upcoming Presidential Election timeline recently announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as other elections fast approaching, and as key political actors of the polity, we cannot sit back and allow our party denigrate to this level and has thus decided to come forward and proffer solutions to this crisis.
“After exhaustive deliberations on the issues affecting the party, we the Chairmen of State Chapters in the country at its meeting held on the 17th of March 2017 resolved as follows:
“In line with the only template presented by the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of our Party headed by Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, we wish to state that we support the recommendation that a political solution is the best and only solution to our crisis without prejudice to the on-going judicial processes.
“We are also in support of the committees’ recommendation of an all-inclusive unity convention to be held as soon as possible.
“We therefore suggest that every organ of the party, group or individuals that has anything to add to the aforementioned recommendations should present same to the National Chairman for consideration and deliberations as we believe this will deepen our internal democracy and support an all-inclusive regeneration of the party.
“We as legitimately elected Chairmen wish to state on the grounds of clarity that we shall never be in support or be a part of any thought of tinkering with the option of leaving the PDP and forming another party.
“We shall at all times align ourselves to any judicial pronouncement of a superior court on this matter. We call upon all party leaders and members to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the survival of the party at this critical period of our history.
“We also call upon the National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sherriff and the National Working Committee (NWC) to abide by the recommendations of the peace and reconciliation committee for the sake of our great party.
“As a forum, we shall continue to engage the party leadership and all relevant stakeholders with a view to having a hitch free convention and call upon all leaders and party members to work towards the realisation of this objective.
“The Chairmen appreciate the efforts of the former President, Governors, the Peace and Reconciliation Committee, Past leaders and elders of the party for their untiring efforts at resolving the on-going crisis in the party.”