The lingering crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP assumes a new dimension on Sunday as some men of Nigeria Police Force, heavily armed sealed and took over the premises of the national headquarters of the party, prevention entrance to the secretary.
No fewer than 30 armed policemen, who were led by an assistant superintendent of police, Mr. Ime Obot, prevented journalists from entering or coming close to the two-storeyed building, Punch Newspaper reports this morning
Five security vehicles were packed around the building.
Two trucks were used to block the road in front of the secretariat.
One of the trucks, with number plate NPF 5209C, was used to block the road from the headquarters of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Three other vehicles, including a Hilux van, were used to block the back gate of the building which is used by the party’s national officers, especially the national chairman.
This step, which was noticed on Sunday, was said to have been carried out by the police to prevent the breakdown of law and order at the secretariat.
It would be recalled that a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, was purported removed as the PDP national chairman at the party’s convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Saturday.
Sheriff, however, described his removal and the sacking of the members of the National Working Committee as a nullity.
Constitutionally, the ex-Borno State governor’s tenure expires on Saturday.
But some officers of the party, like the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, and the National Auditor, Adewole Adeyanju, including Sheriff, are in court, contesting their tenure.
They had secured a court order, restraining the party from filling their offices at the Port Harcourt convention.
Sheriff said the court action and the claim by the Independent National Electoral Commission that it would not monitor election into the above three offices were part of the reasons why he called off the convention.
He said he and members of his NWC were to meet at the party secretariat on Sunday.
Our correspondent gathered, however, that the policemen were deployed in the secretariat to prevent Sheriff and some members of his sacked NWC from meeting at the secretariat, Punch Newspaper reported
Sheriff had said the emergency meeting of his NWC would hold at the secretariat on Sunday (yesterday). He further stated that the constitution of the party does not provide for a caretaker committee.
In his argument, he said that the appointment of a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party was alien to the PDP’s constitution.
His media aide, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, who spoke with journalists while the meeting being held by the Sheriff group was still ongoing on in Abuja on Sunday, added that the meeting was discussing the four court orders which he said compelled Sheriff to call off the convention.
He said, “In Port Harcourt, the court papers were served on the chairman. He decided to summon the meeting of the governors, members of the Board of Trustees and others. Before then, he said he had not been served the court papers.
“He told the gathering that there could be a problem if the party ignored the orders.
“He informed the governors that the convention should be deferred. But they (the governors) were angry because they had already pencilled down those they wanted to put in offices.
“To show our sincerity, we approached the court in Lagos to vacate the order, we were denied. As of Friday, all the court orders were subsisting.
“Because of the conflicting interest, some agreed, some did not. He (Sheriff) went ahead to meet with the NWC members and they said he should address a press conference to call off the convention.
“All members of the NWC members, except the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, left. Their personal interest took the better of them. You can open the constitution of the party from the beginning to the end, you won’t find caretaker committee anywhere.
“If we are able to vacate the injunctions, we will meet and fix another date for the convention.”
Oladipo had earlier told Punch Newspaper correspondents that the group would address a press conference at the national secretariat.
However, the presence of policemen at the secretariat was said to have aborted the plan.
Report according to Punch Newspaper suggests that the policemen were drafted to the secretariat by the PDP governors.
The governors were said to have taken the action to prevent Sheriff and his faction from taking over the secretariat.
Excerpts From Punch Newspaper