PDP govs, Sheriff may clash again over secretariat reopening

Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party and the factional National Chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, are set on another collision course over moves by the governors to get the party’s national secretariat in Abuja reopen.

The governors are backing the National Caretaker Committee of the party, led by Ahmed Makarfi.

The national secretariat of the main opposition party, located at Zone 5, Abuja, was locked by the Police on May 22,  following violent clashes between the supporters of the two rival factions.

Though the secretariat was reopened briefly, a repeated clash between the groups made the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to have a meeting with both Sheriff and Makarfi.

The two gladiators were said to have agreed at the meeting that the secretariat should be locked until the determination of suits on who is the authentic leader of the party between them.

However, our correspondent gathered in Abuja on Sunday, that following last week’s judgment of a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,  which affirmed Makarfi as the leader of the party, the governors were already planning to have a meeting with the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.

The meeting, it was further gathered, would discuss how to withdraw the policemen stationed at the secretariat and allow the Makarfi group access to the building.

The spokesperson for the national caretaker committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, confirmed the planned meeting, but said that no date had been fixed for it.

He said the governors and the members of the national caretaker committee including leaders of the party, were still discussing on when the meeting would hold.

Adeyeye, a former minister of state for works said, “We are still discussing with our governors and our leaders concerning the meeting with the acting police boss.

“We will actually meet with the IGP this week, but I don’t know the exact date yet. We will resolve this crisis in order to allow the party to move on.”

Sheriff, though acknowledged that there were moves to find a political solution to the perennial crisis in the party, however, ruled out the possibility of his group compromising on the ceding of the national secretariat to the Makarfi group.

He said he would not agree that the judgement of Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, covered the Makarfi group on that.

Speaking through the Deputy National Chairman of his faction, Dr. Cairo Ojughoh, Sheriff insisted that the judgment of Liman would not stand.

He said, “It is true the two groups are discussing, looking for ways of finding political solutions to the crisis.

“However, that political solution does not include the permission for the Makarfi group to open the national secretariat. We are not part of such an arrangement and we won’t support it.

“This is because the court says that only the Sheriff group should be allowed to send names of candidates for elections in both Edo and Ondo states to the Independent National Electoral Commission. That is a confirmation of authority.

“The Port Harcourt judgment they are brandishing can’t stand. It is a flawed judgement and in any case, we have appealed against it.”

He called on the Police to hold the Makarfi group responsible for the breakdown of law and order that he said could follow the move to “illegally reopen the national secretariat when all issues have yet to be resolved.”

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