• We’re still party members –Sheriff
From Paul Osuyi, Asaba, Femi
Folaranmi, Yenagoa and Ben Dunno, Warri
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, took its first bold move aimed at reconciling the various factions and interest groups in the party, as it opened a reconciliation and conflict management office.
This followed last week’s Supreme Court judgment, which ousted Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and affirmed the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee as the authentic national leadership of the main opposition party.
According to the Special Adviser to the PDP chairman on Reconciliation and Conflict Management, Mr. Ighoyota Amori, besides total reconciliation, the office, located at the national headquarters of the party, otherwise called Wadata House, in Abuja, is also to manage conflicts within the once fractured party.
Amori, a former senator who briefly represented Delta Central before the Appeal Court sacked him, said the office is fully functional in line with its mandate to reposition the party for total victory at all levels in 2019.
He maintained that it behooves on all stakeholders to make the party’s dream to return to power in 2019 a reality, noting that, “we have gone beyond the blame game. PDP is one family and we must forge ahead to collectively face the challenge that is before us.”
Amori said Nigerians were suffering under the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led government of Muhammadu Buhari, stating that the PDP must come together to take back power and remove Nigerians from untold hardship.
“The people are wailing and waiting for PDP as the party with the solution to the nations economic crisis. It is a wake up call to us and the only way to achieve it is to put our past behind us and come together as one united force. The task ahead is more supreme than the tin matters that beset us as a party.”
He lauded the verdict of the nation’s apex court saying “no doubt the restoration of peace to PDP rekindled not just the hope of members of the PDP, but also the entire Nigerians.
“The courage of the panel of justices that delivered the epoch judgment is a big signal to the ruling APC that the nation’s judicial system would no longer be under their beck and call.”
He expressed the confidence that despite the grand plot to see the PDP go into extinction, the party was rejuvenated by the judgment.
“The nationwide excitement and jubilation by party members indeed attested to the acceptance of the Makarfi leadership that is committed to revamping the party to reclaim the presidency come 2019,” he added.
While urging all party stakeholders to sheath their swords and embrace the new found peace, Amori equally appealed to potential aspirants not to destroy the PDP with unguarded statements either written or spoken.
Notwithstanding the “shocking” apex court decision, Sheriff faction still remain in the PDP.
Deputy National Vice Chairman of the sacked Sheriff faction, Cairo Ojougboh, who made this known in Warri, urged party faithful to remain committed to the party as they await the outcome of the interpretation of the supreme court judgment by its lawyers and the decision by the national executives on the way forward.
Speaking during the inner caucus Delta State executive meeting of the party held in Warri, Ojougboh noted that counsel to Sheriff was still waiting for the printed copy of the in order to fully digest it and come up with the necessary advice to the national executive on the next line of action to be taken by the group.
“For now, we are still members of the party and we will be ready to work for the success of PDP in future elections.
“We are PDP members and faithful ones. We are awaiting the written judgment and the advice of our lawyers,” he said.
He urged the party faithful in Delta to return to the grassroots and woo people to strengthen the party while they await directive from the former executive of the party.
Meanwhile, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has called on the ousted chairman and his supporters to team up with Makarfi to build a new party.
Governor Dickson, said in a statement that the apex court’s judgment produced ‘no victor, no vanquished’ and called on the contending forces to see it as such.
He advised the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee and all leaders of the party to deliberately and ‘consistently pursue true and genuine reconciliation of all contending parties in the party with the view to organising an all-inclusive National Unity Convention to select the national leadership of PDP.
He said true reconciliation and a national unity convention would build confidence in the party as well as ‘‘endear Nigerians to PDP and persuade those who had defected from our great party to return to PDP ahead of 2019.’’
While stressing that the judiciary only adjudicates on matters but never reconciles contending parties, he said now that the Supreme Court has delivered the much expected judgment, the PDP must now reconcile and truly put its house in order to effectively play its role as the leading opposition party in Nigeria.
He appealed to all PDP faithful and leaders to respect the judgment of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter by cooperating with the National Caretaker Committee to deliver reconciliation and an acceptable Unity National Convention within the shortest possible time frame.
‘‘I call on Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his supporters and all contending parties in our great party, PDP to respect the verdict of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter. I urge all contending parties in the PDP to embrace peace and genuine reconciliation and support the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of our party with a view to organizing an all- inclusive National Unity Convention. Without such support, genuine reconciliation cannot take place; without such support, the Caretaker Committee will have a Herculean task organising an acceptable convention, without genuine reconciliation, the party cannot move forward’’
Dickson who lamented that the prolonged PDP leadership crisis was unnecessary in the first place, expressed optimism that the PDP leaders had learnt their lessons and would take steps to put in place measures to forestall re-occurrence of the needles crisis and litigation.
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