The caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Wednesday, July 6, formally took over the national secretariat of the party with representatives of all the party’s major organs in attendance. But the embattled chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, insists the handover is illegal and that he would sustain his judicial actions against the Makarfi’s caretaker committee.
Sheriff’s faction said it will file contempt proceedings against the committee before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos. The party’s National Secretary under Sheriff’s leadership, Prof.Wale Oladipo and the Deputy National Legal Adviser, Bashir Maidugu, said the Makarfi committee do not have the power to run the party.
The PDP at its May National Convention had appointed a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party after Sheriff, Oladapo and the party’s National Auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju, obtained an order restraining the party from conducting any election into the offices of the national chairman, national secretary and national auditor, which they occupied, pending the hearing and determination of their substantive suit before Justice Ibrahim Buba.
It gathered that the handover at the PDP national secretariat was attended by all the governors elected on the platform of the party as well as PDP leaders in the National Assembly. In his remark at the handover, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekeweremadu, said that the development means the party is set to take over power in 2019.
Also, the former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who formally handed over the party to the Makarfi leadership urged the new team to prioritise grassroots mobilisation, so as to win back the people’s confidence. Secondus was deputy to Sheriff and agreed to the party’s decision to appoint a new caretaker committee at its last national convention – but the decision did not go down well with Sheriff.
“This party is strong and capable of resolving its problems. This party is not divided. This party will move forward. This party is ready to capture power in 2019. On behalf of the former National Working Committee, we are here to formally hand over to the national caretaker committee, who will midwife the national convention,” Secondus said.
Makarfi assured the party that his committee will operate within the mandate given to it. He called on aggrieved party members to to toll the line of peace and join hands in moving the party forward.