The Independent National Electoral Commission will next week decide on which factions of the Peoples Democratic Party it will recognise.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, gave this indication in an electronic mail sent to one of our correspondents in response to an enquiry on Sunday.
He insisted that that the commission had not recognised any faction of the PDP, adding that INEC’s position would be based on the judgment of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt to be delivered on July 4.
“INEC has not yet recognised any of the PDP factions. There is a pending case in court on this contentious issue, which is likely to be decided on July 4. INEC’s position on the matter will depend on the anticipated court judgment,” Oyekanmi said.
He said that although INEC monitored the primary organised in Edo State by the Ahmed Makarfi faction, he said the action of the commission was based on the order of the court in Port Harcourt.
He added that the Ali-Modu Sheriff faction later went to court to vacate the order, which the commission based its action on.
The CPS stated, “INEC did monitor the Makarfi group’s primary election in Edo State, based on the Port Harcourt High Court order, which gave recognition to his group. Now, the Modu Sheriff group has also gone to court to vacate that order, and the court will deliver judgment on the matter on July 4. To that extent, INEC will not monitor the Modu Sheriff’s planned primary election.”
Justice Makhmud Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt will on July 4, rule on the PDP National Convention held last month on May 21.
While Modu-Sheriff, convened the Port Harcourt convention, the party’s elders organised the Abuja meeting.
But the conventions ended in a deadlock. Instead of electing new officers, the convention produced a caretaker committee headed by Markafi.
Sheriff is insisting that he remains the acting chairman of the party.
Makarfi had approached the court on May 23 to seek an order of interim injunction restraining Sheriff from parading himself as the national chairman of the PDP.
Meanwhile, the PDP Reform Group has urged organs of the party to suspend Sheriff and former National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo and others before they destroy the party.
The Convener of the group, Mr. Ariyo-Dare Atoye, made the plea in Abuja, on Sunday.
He advised the party hierarchy to immediately convene an emergency meeting to suspend the former chairman and members of the dissolved National Working Committee.
According to him, the group which is made up of many youth organisations is worried by the enormous space allowed Sheriff and “some misguided” members of the former NWC.
He accused the Sheriff-led group of working hard to undermine the image of the party and endanger the forthcoming Edo State governorship election.
The convener also observed that the Sheriff-led group had thrown caution to the winds and would stop at nothing to bring down the party as such they must not be allowed to succeed.
Atoye said, “As a concerned coalition of young party members, we are compelled to ask the party leaders, governors and stakeholders to urgently convey an emergency National Executive Council meeting to address this matter without delay.
“And without prejudice to anyone in particular, we are calling on the PDP NEC to immediately suspend the major actors in this show of shame and commence a firm disciplinary action on them and finally take the most appropriate decision afterwards as a deterrent to others.
“They have become belligerent interlopers working with enemies without, to bring the PDP into disrepute and undermine it future.
“They have jettisoned the path of peace and currently aligning with fifth columnists to ensure that the PDP loses the Edo governorship election as a payback.”
The group noted that the National Convention of a party was the highest and final decision-making body “and as such, any uniform decision taken at that level is legally binding on every genuine member of the party irrespective of feelings and or interests.”