Findings have shown the reasons why the Supreme Court sacked former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and few others chieftains of the party shunned the special non-elective convention of the party held at the Eagle Square in Abuja, on Saturday.
Also conspicuously absent at the convention, which was attended by over 3000 delegates, chieftains and leaders of the party, were the Governors of Bayelsa State, Chief Seriake Dickson, his Cross River state counterpart, Prof Ben Ayade, Senator representing Ogun East senatorial district in the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu, deputy to Sheriff and former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh among others.
Sources close to Sheriff told the Daily Times that the deposed National Chairman and erstwhile Borno State governor, who has not shown up in any of the activities/activities of the opposition party since the nation’s apex court ousted him, was in a dilemma as to how he would be received at such a gathering after his role in the crisis that brought the party to its knees for about a year as well as made it to record electoral defeats in some states like Edo and Ondo.
Another source however said that the former Borno state governor was out of the country as at the time of the convention and that he had been away for some time.
The absence of Sheriff, findings further showed, made his deputy, Dr. Ojougboh, former National Secretary of the party, Prof Oladipo, former acting spokesperson of his group, Hon Bernard Miko to stay away from the convention where the tenure of the party’s National Caretaker Committee (NCC) under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Makarfi was extended by four months among other decisions.
On his part, the Bayelsa state governor, Chief Dickson, who sent his deputy, Commodore John Jonah, retd, to represent him, was said to have shunned the convention in view of his alleged open romance with then Sheriff group while he was in office as then national chairman of the party.
But another source said that Dickson’s absence from the gathering was partly due to a major supremacy battle between him and another governor from the South-South geo-political zone as to who the political leader of the region is.
The governor of Cross River state, Prof Ayade, was however said to have travelled oversea on medical ground.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Christian Ita told the Daily Times that Prof. Ayade traveled abroad as he was indisposed to attend the Convention.
Interestingly, Prof Ayade was named alongside past Governor, Mr. Donald Duke and immediate past governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, as members of the planning committee.
Mr. Ita told our correspondent on phone on Sunday that Prof Ayade was represented by Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara .
Senator Kashamu, who is a known supporter of Sheriff, was absent at the convention due to the crisis in the south west zone of the party and the struggle for the leadership of the zone between him and Governor Fayose of Ekiti State.
A member of the NCC of the party who spoke to the Daily Times however said that no disciplinary action will be taken against those who failed to attend the convention, stressing that there is no compulsion in attendance of convention.
The member, who did not want his name in the print, said, “we did not not even notice that those people were not in attendance. You saw the quality of those in attendance. In a gathering where you had former President Jonathan, his deputy, Sambo, former Senate presidents, several serving and former State Governors and Senators among others, we didn’t miss anybody. It’s their own cup of tea.
“Did their absence stop us from carrying out the business of the convention? The answer is capital NO. PDP has come to stay. Nobody can stop us”, he said.
Prominent among those in attendance at the special non elective convention were former President Goodluck Jonathan, his vice, Architect Namadi Sambo, former Senate Presidents: David Mark and Anyim Pius Anyim, Chairman, NCC of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nkem Ihedioha, Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio, Chairman, PDP Governors’ forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, several serving and former Governors, former Ministers, serving Senators and members of the House of Representatives, Prof Jerry Gana and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Senator Walin Jubrin among others.
Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja/Edem Edem, Calabar