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PDP convention: Governors, BoT, others beg Sheriff



Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party and members of its Board of Trustees on Friday in Abuja, renewed their appeal to the factional National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to allow the PDP hold its national convention without legal bottlenecks.

Three governors, Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), met with Sheriff at Gombe Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Friday, pleading with him to withdraw all his cases against the party.

However, sources at the meeting said Sheriff remained adamant, insisting that his conditions be met before he could yield to their demand.

At the meeting with the governors, it was gathered that Sheriff insisted that Wike must not head the party’s National Convention Planning Committee, the convention be brought to Abuja and that he must be allowed to head the party that would midwife the convention.

Besides, Sheriff also insisted that the National Caretaker Committee of the party headed by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi be disbanded immediately and people be appointed into the National Working Committee.

Before meeting with the governors, Sheriff and his team had met with the Reconciliatory Panel of the BoT led by a former Minister of Information, Prof.  Jerry Gana.

Among those who accompanied Gana to the meeting were Senator Ibrahim Ida, former governors of Jigawa and Niger States, Alhaji Sule Lamido and Abdulkadiri Kure respectively, Senator Stella Omu, Senator Olujimi, Chief Shuiabu Oladokun, Mrs. Ina Ciroma, Senator Buruji Kashamu and many others.

Among those in the team of Sheriff were his faction’s National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; Mrs. Mariam Ali, Ahmed Gulak, Bernard Mikko, E. J.  Agbonhinyima, Chief Chris Uba, Okay Nnadozie, Dennis Alonge,  Dr. Patrick Okomiso, Ibrahim Shehu and Shettima Dhabi etc.

However, it was gathered that when the governors told him that his conditions would be difficult to meet because the party was already planning the convention for Wednesday, August 17 in Port Harcourt, Sheriff replied that there was nothing he could do about it.

“Sheriff is not ready for peace with the conditions he set. We may have to move on and leave him with his conditions because we have to continue with our preparations for the convention. We can’t be dragged out again,” one of the governors told our correspondent on condition of anonymity.

The governors were said to have expressed frustrations at Sheriff’s rigid stance on his demand.

At the meeting he had with the Gana-led BoT panel, it was gathered that a seven point undisclosed recommendations in response to the conditions given by Sheriff were presented again to Sheriff’s committee.

Details of the recommendations were not known as of press time, but it was gathered that the Sheriff camp would meet on Saturday to respond to the recommendations by the Gana-led reconciliation committee.

While presenting the recommendations, Gana said his committee “is here to present a set of recommendations that we believe if well considered and accepted and effectively implemented will promote reconciliation in our party.

“We presented the recommendations and of course being weighty recommendations. Sheriff and his team have accepted to receive this document, study it and then we will resume our study tomorrow (today) to get the responses to these recommendations and then by the grace of God reach a concussion that will give a new lease of life to the PDP. “

In his response, Sheriff said the “BoT sat and made this set of recommendations that in their views are way forward to have a resolution of the impasse that is going on in our party.

“Having seen and received the recommendations, it is natural that myself and the members of the working committee will study and also we will make the recommendations that we feel will be the way forward.

“At last, we have started talking. After due consultations with the members of the working committee, I will get back to them (the committee) so that we will continue from where we stopped.

He, however, told the members of the committee that any building without sound foundation would collapse.

In another development, Sheriff has blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan for the inability of the PDP to win the last governorship elections in both Yobe and Borno States.

He spoke when he received some members of the party from the two states at his office in Abuja on Friday.

He said if the former President had listened to him, the party would not have lost the two states.

Sheriff said, “If the then president had listened properly and did what we had intended him to do, by now we would have had the two states of Borno and Yobe but unfortunately whatever God decides, we will accept and we cannot do otherwise.”

He said that in all the meetings he had, he would not “agree on anything that will affect our integrity, followership and our political interests.

“As some of you rightly said, some of them were ashamed to identify with the party. Now the PDP has become a strong party, everybody is looking up to PDP and we will not be distracted.

“This party, as I rightly said, must be returned to the owners. Anything short of that is a non-starter. What are our problems; how do we improve our standing? Now is the time to put the party in proper shape ahead of the election period.”