The Nation - The leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took a new twist on Thursday with the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff threatening to drag a former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Sheriff alleged that Gana unilaterally took a N500 million loan from a second generation bank on behalf of the PDP, without getting approval from the leadership of the party. The party chairman however did not state the time Gana allegedly obtained the said loan.
Addressing newsmen at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Thursday, the Media Adviser to the party chairman, Mr. Inuwa Bwala who spoke on behalf of his principal, said Gana lacked the credibility to criticise Sheriff.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum held earlier in the day, Gana, in apparent reference to Sheriff, said the PDP had been hijacked by hoodlums and gangsters who are bent on destroying the party.
He accused the Sheriff-led National Working Committee (NWC) of impunity and reckless imposition of candidates in the just concluded ward and state congresses across the federation.
Gana said, “To save the PDP from imminent collapse, we need excellent and competent leaders to run the party; not incompetent persons without dignity of purpose parading themselves as leaders.
“The Southern part of the country should produce the next national chairman because the North had produced seven national chairmen since the birth of the PDP in 1998.
“The Southwest geopolitical zone has never produced the national chairman in the 16 years of the existence of the PDP”.
Gana, leading other prominent members of the party, also described the planned amendment to the PDP constitution, championed by Sheriff as illegal and insisted that the national convention slated for May 21 be put on hold.
But Sheriff vowed to go ahead with the amendment of the constitution and national convention.
Said he, “The national convention will certainly hold in Port Harcourt on May 21 if the world does not end before that date.
“The group headed by Prof. Gana and similar others are not known to the party. They should take their grievances to the convention if they have any. If they choose to leave the PDP, it would be good riddance.
“It would be foolhardy for the PDP chairman to involve the same people who led the PDP to failure in the 2015 general elections in rebuilding the party. These are the same people that played ignoble roles in squandering the resources of the party.
“Let it be known to Prof. Gana and members of his group that they don’t have the monopoly of mudslinging. If we are forced to open up on them, we will not hesitate to do so.
Sheriff also accused Gana and members of his group of having approached him for one favour or the other, only to turn around to attack the chairman when they failed to have their way.
In a communique issued at the end of the Gana-led stakeholders forum, the group announced a 21-member steering committee to run the affairs of the party and work with the Board of Trustees to conduct the national convention.
The communique also said, “We enjoin all our party faithful not to despair. The new steering committee will soon embark on a nationwide tour, to address and resolve all issues and areas of conflict in every state of the federation.
“We call on the governors elected under the PDP, who are our leading beacons of light, our able senators, House of Representatives and state Assembly members to take up the gauntlet and support this noble cause.
“We need to come together as a family, to fight the cancer of impunity that has eaten deep into the tissues of our party”.
The communique was jointly signed by a former Education Minister, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a former Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu; and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
Those that attended the meeting included Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Bode George, Wilberforce Juta, Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Senator Bala Mohammed, Ibrahim Bunu, Senator Grace Bent, Adamu Maina Waziri among others.