It is no longer news that the former Borno State Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has been adjudged as the authentic Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; but the shocking new is the Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who may have endorsed him when he referred to him yesterday as 'MY CHAIR' as both held a closed-door meeting in Abuja.
News Punch reported yesterday that the victorious former factional chairman, turned authentic visited Goodluck Jonathan yesterday at his Abuja resident.
Jonathan, before now is believed to be behind the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the. In fact, all his associates, and aides, like Governor Nysom Wike of Rivers State, and other are in the sacked faction.
Jonathan’s endorsement came amid protests by the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee and other critical organs of the party against the Appeal Court’s ruling that affirmed Sheriff’s chairmanship.
Receiving Sheriff and members of his team at his Maitama, Abuja residence yesterday, Jonathan, who kept addressing Sheriff as “my chairman”, said there were no factions in the party.
Speaking after a closed door meeting with Sheriff and his team, Jonathan said: “We are not factionalised. We are one. There are bound to be differences in politics. We cannot run away from that.
“It is the way we resolve these differences that makes us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will still meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party.”
Also speaking after the meeting, Sheriff said his mission was to unite the party and place it on a sound footing to provide credible opposition to the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Sheriff said he would not respond to the unprintable names he was being called by his traducers, stating that there would be no difference between him and those against him if he decided to respond to them.
“I will not respond to the name-calling because if I do, there would be no difference between them and me. Very soon, you will hear from me when I finish my consultation as I will roll out my programmes that will lead to the holding of a national convention,” he added.
Saying he was still consulting, Sheriff stressed that there could be only one national chairman, adding: “We are putting everything together to ensure that the party is united.”
“We are not fighting and this is no time to join issues with people. We want everybody to come back to the party. Very soon I will get back to you when I finish my consultations. I won’t tell you anything before I finish consultations.”
He added that the constitution of the party does not recognise a caretaker committee.
“There is only one PDP and there is only one national chairman. A group of people has the right to sit and discuss as only a group of people but not as PDP. If I go down to their level to exchange words with them, then I would not be different from them.
“We don’t have anything like caretaker committee in our party. As father of the party, I will make sure everybody is united. I will make sure that everybody gets what they want in PDP.
“By the time I finish my convention, Nigerians will know that we mean well for the party,” Sheriff said.
The meeting, which held behind closed doors, was also attended by Sheriff’s Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bernard Mikko; and the National Youth Leader, Mr. Demis Alonge-Niyi.
Also at the meeting were the party’s National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, and the Financial Secretary, Mr. Adewole Adeyanju.
As the meeting was ongoing, the sacked National Caretaker Committee of the party said it had appealed the Court of Appeal judgment which removed it from office.
The committee, which was headed by a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, stated this after the faction’s stakeholders’ meeting.
The meeting was held at the private residence of the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, who is the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Even after their closed-door meeting, which was held with a few members of Sheriff’s entourage, the former President still referred to Sheriff as “my chairman.”
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Jonathan said the troubled party remained one, adding that there was no faction in it.
Acknowledging that there were problems in the party, the ex-President, however, stated that efforts were being made to resolve them.
Jonathan added, “We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics. It is the way we resolve these differences that makes us human beings and that is what makes us leaders.
“We are not factionalised; we are one. I have met with Sheriff and I have met with others. I will meet with others (again) so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party.”
At the PDP Stakeholders’ meeting, however, the Makarfi group passed a vote of confidence in the caretaker committee, insisting that the committee would remain in place until the determination of its appeal at the Supreme Court.
A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, read the communique of the meeting, which was attended by the governors of Akwa Ibom State (Udom Emmanuel); Delta State (Ifeanyi Okowa); Rivers State (Nyesom Wike); and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Members of the National Assembly, former ministers, former governors and members of the Board of Trustees of the party were also in attendance.
Reading the communique, Gana said, “That we fully endorse the prompt and proactive decision of the National Caretaker Committee to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the decision of the Court of Appeal as well as filing an application for injunction pending an appeal, all of which were done in the morning of Monday, February 20, 2017.
“Having duly filed both an appeal at the Supreme Court and an application for injunction pending appeal in the morning of Monday, February 20, 2017, we pass a resounding and unqualified vote of confidence in the leadership of the Senator Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP and pledge our unalloyed support to it as it pilots the affairs of the party in this critical transitional period of the party’s life.
“To this end, we are not at all deceived by the supposed olive branch being offered by Senator Ali Modu Sherrif, knowing that the only thing that can come from traitors of his ilk is nothing but a poisoned chalice and a Greek gift.”
Earlier in the day, the Nigeria Police Force had barricaded the International Conference Centre, Abuja, venue of the scheduled stakeholders’ meeting.