Nigeria Police Seals Off PDP Headquarters as sacked chair Modu Sheriff fights
The police yesterday sealed off Wadata Plaza, headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja.
It is all in a bid to prevent the party’s crisis from growing. But ousted National Chairman Ali Modu Sheriff met with his strategists in Abuja and vowed not to surrender his mandate.
Sheriff’s camp has also vowed to deny factional National chairmen Ahmed Makarfi and Sen. Ibrahim Mantu access to the secretariat.
Sheriff and his loyalists were contemplating a court action last night, although a decision was yet to be reached as at the time of filing this report.
To show his determination for a fight to the finish, Sheriff shunned calls from Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The governor was said to have called Sheriff many times but the deposed chairman spurned the entreaties which he termed as “medicine after death”.
The battle may be dirtier because Fayose’s ally, Sen. Kashamu Buruji, turned back emissaries sent to him by the governor on the way forward for the party.
Instead, Kashamu opted for a rapprochement with Mantu’s 57-man caretaker committee, with a plea to give Sheriff a second chance at the next National Convention in three months time.
Basking in their victory over Sheriff, the Makarfi Caretaker Committee and the Mantu Interim Committee may this week merge “to put PDP in a good shape”.
Sheriff met with his loyalists, strategists and some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to discuss four options:
rejection of the imposition of the Caretaker Committee headed by Makarfi because it is a constitutional aberration;
probability of seeking an injunction in court to restrain either the Makarfi Committee or the Mantu Committee;
Sheriff to continue to operate from the National Secretariat without allowing either of the caretaker chairmen access to the place; and
approaching like-mind leaders of the party and PDP governors to see reason and allow Sheriff to remain in office.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Sheriff met with his strategists and some NWC members on Sunday and they have vowed not to surrender their mandate to either Makarfi or Mantu.
“Sheriff told his loyalists that he will do his best to resist the impunity in the party being championed by some PDP governors.
“The battle for the soul of PDP may take a longer time than expected because Sheriff is contemplating a court action to stop Makarfi and Mantu from parading themselves as national chairmen of the party. The two conventions which produced them were illegal.
“Neither Makarfi nor Mantu will have access to the National Secretariat of the party.”
As at 4pm, Sheriff was still locked in a meeting with his loyalists, including some former governors.
The day started on a dramatic note, following entreaties to Sheriff by Fayose.
Another source spoke of how Fayose called Sheriff seven times yesterday, but the embittered national chairman shunned his calls. Fayose was one of those who led the revolt against Sheriff in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
“We were all shocked that Fayose woke up from the other side of the bed on Sunday to foster a fresh rapprochement with Sheriff, who refused to link up with the governor.
“The same Fayose sent emissaries to Sen. Buruji who rejected the team.”
Makarfi and Mantu factions may meet on Wednesday to reconcile and merge in the interest of the party.
A source in Mantu’s faction said: “Certainly, the two factions may meet either on Wednesday or Thursday to harmonise and reconcile. We share the same vision on how to reform the PDP and we have both achieved our objective that a stranger like Sheriff should not lead our party.
“At our meeting on Sunday, what we agreed was that we should watch events for some days before we meet and decide on the way forward with the Makarfi group.
“The truth is that some of the party leaders behind Makarfi are also members of the Mantu group. Makarfi, Sen. Ben Obi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye and five governors are all in Mantu group. Any reconciliation with Makarfi will be a homecoming for either side.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “We are even at advantage because the certificate of registration of PDP as a party is with Mantu group.
“If Sheriff locks up the National Secretariat of PDP, we can operate from Legacy House or we will acquire a new secretariat. Let us see who controls the party in the real sense.”
The source admitted that Sen. Buruji had reached out to the Mantu group to give Sheriff a second chance.
“Through some of his cronies, Kashamu pleaded with us to work with Sheriff. He said Sheriff is not as bad as being painted.
“But we sent a message back to Kashamu that he should look elsewhere for reprieve for Sheriff.”
A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) gave seven reasons why the governors and PDP leaders had a rethink on Sheriff.
He listed the factors as:
refusal to keep to his pledge to end his tenure on May 21;
his candidacy has created a sharp division in PDP which may lead to the final fall of the party;
alleged dictatorial tendency of Sheriff including issuance of threats to state chairmen of the party;
he might likely run an autocratic party machinery which will further divide the PDP; and
beholding the party to some new godfathers like Governor Wike and Senator Buruji who determine what goes on in the party.
There are also alleged secret plot to secure the presidential ticket of the party in 2018 because he has allegedly approached some governors to be his running mates and antecedents as an opposition politician have made many PDP leaders to be uncomfortable with him.
“I think the fears of playing into the hands of the opposition forced our leaders to make a U-Turn on Saturday. We chose to be cautious, “the BoT member added.