The factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Dr. Alli Modu Sheriff, has described those governors in the party who have pitched tent against him as ‘Smaller youths and Boys’, who do not have the will power to take the party out of its current predicament.
The party is currently submerged in leadership crisis, leading to the emergence of two factional national chairmen, one led by Senator Modu Sheriff while the other is led by Senator Ahmed Markafi.
Addressing a mammoth crowd of party members Tuesday at the Royal Crown Hotel, Agbor, the country home of Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the governor of Delta State and Chief Dr Cairo Ojugbo, the Deputy National Chairman of the party who are at war path, Senator Sheriff said, “I was at the comfort of my home when the leaders of the party came to me to be their National Chairman”.
According to him, the position of the national chairman was zoned to north east, revealing that the leaders of the north east came to him inquiring to know the person to be the chairman of the party, “and then I nominated Engr. Mohammed Abagana, we endorsed him from the state to be the chairman but when the leaders of the party meant in my absence, they said among the seven persons aspiring to be the national chairman, none of them could lead the party out of this problem”.
“Seven persons went out for election in my absence, I got 69 votes and the next that was closet to me was nine. When destiny beckons on you there is nothing that you can do”.
The national chairman said he set up committee to conduct elections across the country, “we had successful congresses in all the states of Nigeria apart from five states. They found out that here is a chairman that nobody can control, I said the party must go back to the owners which is the grassroot and that is you”.
While narrating how he emerged the national chairman, Senator Sheriff said, “my zone which they zoned the position to, the north east went to Port Harcourt and the delegates from the north east running about 490, only two from Taraba State did not vote for me. So, they found out that this chairman cannot be stopped. Along the line, some people went to court and I call them and said if a court of competent jurisdiction says I should not do elections because the tenure of the executives has not expired and I called in a press conference that the election is hereby cancelled until further notice”.
He noted that some persons went into hiding to dissolve the executives and introduced caretaker committee, “which is not in the party’s constitution, which is a total aberration and we said we will continue our jobs as executives and we rely on the hope of the common man, which is the court to decide on who is right and who is wrong”.
“Until we do another convention and elect executives and that convention has to be presided over by me, this is what the constitution of our party has said. We are law abiding, whatever the court says we will do”, stressing that before he assumed office as chairman of the party at the national secretariat, the place has become a curse to the party, “I am not the kind of person that some few smaller young men or some boys will say that no come and do this”.
What God has done to you, God has done it to me, if you say you are a governor, I was a governor for eight years. If you say you are a senator, I was in the senate three times and I left the senate as a leader of the senate”, noting that he was around the people who brought the 1999 constitution to bear.
“What is remaining is to get the PDP and give it to the people so that it can form government in 2019, you should be rest assured that this party will go back to you. You that are the leaders from the units, wards, LGAs, states and at the national level, it is only the people that you chose that will occupy positions”.
He condemned the idea of persons who are not on the ground coming home only when elections are near to contest while party leaders impose such persons on the people with impunity, “there are people who want to do politics and they are seated in Abuja and Lagos when the time comes they say they want to be governors, senators. This is what we are trying to avoid, party must be given to the grassroot”, recalling that the party at a time had 29 governors, “but today, we are only 12 because of the impunity. If somebody is elected by the people to represent them, somebody seating in Abuja will change the name and put his houseboy. That will not happen, they can do it with another chairman but not with me because I do not need hand-out from anybody”, Senator Sheriff declared.
He charged anybody who want to occupy any elective position to go to the grassroot and confront his/her people by way of testing his/her popularity, “let your people give you the mandate. We will never allow them to destroy this party”.
On the issue that led to the shifting of the event from Grand Hotels, Asaba to Agbor, Senator Sheriff said, “Somebody, when he saw the intimidating crowd, quickly started creating problem and I told Dr Cairo, don’t fight. The people that has problems with their community, want to use you to settle scores, don’t allow it”.
He described the meeting as awesome and more than a town hall meeting held anywhere across the country.
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