The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff, has advised the Prof. Jerry Gana-led Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee to stop speaking for the party.
Represented by his National Deputy Chairman, Dr Cairo Ojougbo, at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, Sheriff described the Gana-led committee as “illegal”.
The committee was constituted on Nov. 10, 2016, by the National Caretaker Committee of the party headed by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, which was disbanded by the recent judgment of Appeal Court, Port Harcourt.
The court, in the judgment declared Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of the party.
The committee had been visiting founding and prominent members of PDP, including former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme, Chief Tony Anenih, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sheriff said that the report of the committee, which was submitted to the scrapped national caretaker committee on Feb.17, 2017, would not be useful in the ongoing effort at re-positioning the party.
“Prof. Jerry Gana going round the country on behalf of the PDP is unacceptable to the party. I have the report of Gana here where he recommended that all members of the Sheriff group should be suspended from the party.
“We find it very uncomfortable that a person of Jerry Gana’s standing, if actually he wants to help the party as at this time of crisis, would recommend that a faction or members of the party should be expelled for their political beliefs.
“That is very unbecoming of a man of Gana’s status. So, we take very serious views to his going round as whatever committee he calls himself.
“The committee was not set up by the party and we are giving notice that forthwith, he should discontinue with it,’’ he said.
On the party’s national convention, Sheriff said that the Standing Committee on Reconciliation’s report submitted by its chairman, Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, had been adopted by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
He said that the report had become a working document of the party.
The chairman expressed displeasure over media report that Makarfi, as chairman of the unrecognised caretaker committee said that Dickson’s committee was illegal.
He insisted that the committee was legal, adding that its recommendations were not Dickson’s but of the committee of the party.
Sheriff said that majority of the party’s stakeholders were in full support of political resolution to its leadership crisis, except for the caretaker committee, which had vowed to pursue legal approach.
He, however, assured that the party’s NWC was capable of conducting free, fair and acceptable national convention in due course.
“The reason why the caretaker committee is protesting is that they have seen that the table is now crumbling fast under their feet.
“All the organs of the party are cueing into the reconciliation and when the reconciliation pulls through, they are out and Sen. Makarfi can only come as member of the Board of Trustees (BoT).
“They get subvention from the governors every month and when reconciliation happens, the N50 million monthly subventions from governors will stop.
“Secondly, Makarfi wants a situation where he will tailor-make the convention to suit his interest because he has come out to say that he will be contesting the presidency of the country.
“We are very mindful that we are not going to tie our party around any individual, and that is why the national chairman, Sheriff said ` look, I am going to throw everything open`’’.