The national caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who was appointed by the Port Harcourt convention, has reacted angrily to the invasion of the PDP National Secretariat by Ali Sheriff, saying Mr. Sheriff was being sponsored by the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, to scuttle PDP’s chance in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state.
Mr. Sheriff had stormed the PDP secretariat on Monday with thousands of his supporters saying a court had recognized him as the chairman of the party.
The former Borno governor, who announced plans for the forthcoming Edo state election and the appointment of a committee for that purpose, also resumed duties at the Wadata plaza on Tuesday.
However, the spokesperson for the Makarfi committee, Dayo Adeyeye, addressed a press conference on Tuesday at the residence of one of the members of the Committee, Abdul Ningi, in Abuja said Mr. Sheriff was working for the APC to destabilize the PDP.
“The All progressive Congress, APC, has contracted Sheriff and his cohorts to scuttle the chances of the PDP in the Edo governorship elections.
“We have credible intelligence that Sheriff had a meeting on Sunday night with an APC governor from the South West, where it was agreed that he would be given full security and financial support to exacerbate the crisis in the PDP with the objective of preventing our party from presenting a candidate for the Edo governorship elections,” he said.
He also said Mr. Sheriff has the mandate to ensure that ‘in the very least’ the PDP is prevented from offering a serious challenge to the APC.
Mr. Adeyeye however, said, the PDP “will take all necessary measures to prevent the party from being hijacked by political merchants”.
The caretaker committee also accused the Nigerian Police of working in cohort with Mr. Sheriff acting on “orders from above”.
Mr. Adeyeye said when they heard of the plan to invade the PDP secretariat, they alerted the police to secure the building and to protect the lives and properties of members, adding, “up to a point, the police discharged their responsibilities satisfactorily. However, later on without any justification whatsoever, Ali Modu Sheriff and the other renegades were allowed to gain entry into the secretariat, where they later proceeded to address a press conference”.
“While we are still trying to understand the role of the police in the entire saga, it is curious that the police made no arrest of the thugs who openly brandished various dangerous weapons in and around the premises of the secretariat in full glare of the police.
“It is also curious that the police claimed to be acting on ‘Orders from above’ in allowing Sheriff and his cohorts to gain entry into the secretariat. If we may ask, who is the authority that issued the ‘Orders from above’?
“What we are however very certain about is that Sheriff and his fellow renegades are being used by the enemies of the PDP to destroy the party and to prevent it from reorganizing itself, so as to provide a credible opposition and alternative platform for the forthcoming Edo State Gubernatorial election and 2019 elections,” he said.
Show your court orders
Mr. Adeyeye also challenged Mr. Sheriff to show the court orders he claimed recognized him as the authentic chairman of the PDP.
“In his press conference yesterday, Senator Sheriff gave the false impression that he has court orders that empower him to continue as National chairman of the PDP.
“Despite his bravado, he did not display or make available the court orders to the gentlemen of the press.
“The truth of the matter is that Senator Sheriff has no court orders to back his claims. He and his cohorts continue to shop around to buy any court order at any price, but so far they have not succeeded, thanks to the vigilance and integrity of the judiciary,” he said
Mr. Adeyeye said Mr. Sheriff was appointed and not elected by the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the PDP to complete the tenure of Adamu Mu’azu.
He added that the tenure of Mr. Mu’azu would have ended on the 14th February 2016. He said Mr. Sheriff was given an extension of three months by the NEC to organize a National Convention.
“The appointment of Senator Sheriff was not ratified by any National Convention of our party; so constitutionally, he has no other mandate which can extend beyond 21st May, 2016,”he said.
Mr. Adeyeye said the case before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Lagos was instituted by Mr. Sheriff and others to restrain the PDP from conducting election into the offices of the National Chairman, National Secretary and National Auditor.
He also said the court did not restrain the PDP from conducting the National convention.
“The National Convention is the supreme organ of the party under Article 33 (02) of the PDP constitution.
“In the exercise of its power under Article 33(5) (b) & (e) of the constitution, the National convention removed all officers of the NWC of the party and set up a caretaker committee to plan and organize a National convention within 90 days
“The National Convention of PDP can only be called by NEC and once that is done, it is only the Convention that can cancel and postpone its proceedings. No individual or other organ of the party can postpone or cancel the National Convention.
“The National convention therefore took place legally and constitutionally.
“The former deputy national chairman, Chief Uche Secondus acted for the former national chairman who was absent in accordance with the provisions of Article 35(3) (b) of the PDP constitution.
“The Federal High Court in suit NO FHC/ PH/CS/524/2016 has endorsed the decisions of the National convention held in Port Harcourt on 21/05/16,” Mr. Adeyeye said.
Court order sacking Sheriff subsists
Mr. Adeyeye added that the court order of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice A.M. Liman is still subsisting and has not elapsed contrary to the insinuation of Mr. Sheriff.
He said the order will subsist until the determination of the motion on Notice, adding that the determination will come up for hearing on Thursday.
The caretaker spokesperson said only three of the members of the defunct National officers are still parading themselves as officials adding that constitutionally they cannot form a quorum for any legitimate business of the party.
“Under Article 29(4) of the PDP constitution as amended the quorum of the NWC is two- third of the membership drawn from at least two- thirds of the zones in the country.
“It is therefore very clear that three people cannot make up the National Working Committee. We also wonder who Sheriff would be chairman over when he is already rejected by 99.99% of the party,” he said.