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Friday, May 13

Crisis rocks PDP as elders ‘kick out’ Sheriff

Crisis rocks PDP as elders ‘kick out’ Sheriff

The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took a new turn on Thursday after stakeholders of the former ruling party announced the dissolution of the Ali Modu Sheriff-led executive committee.

Led by Jerry Gana, former minister of information, the group rejected the decision to retain Sheriff as chairman of the party beyond the forthcoming convention slated for Port Harcourt on May 21.

They also faulted the current zoning arrangement, saying the Port Harcourt convention will not hold.

The group announced that it had set up a 21-man committee to preside over the affairs of the party in the interim.

Some members of the group are Tunde Adeniran, former education minister; Ibrahim Mantu, former deputy senate president; Raymond Dokpesi, founder of DAAR Communications; Ojo Maduekwe, former minister of foreign affairs; Okwesilieze Nwodo, ex-chairman of the party, and Bode George, former chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Others are Wilberforce Juta, former governor of the old Gongola state; Grace Bent, a former senator, and Bala Mohammed, former minister of the federal capital territory.

They held a meeting in Abuja on Thursday after which they issued communique.

“The purported extension of the tenure of the chairman and other members of the national working committee by the Party by the NEC was an illegality and therefore untenable and contrary to the provisions of our party constitution which gives such powers ONLY to the national convention of the party,” the communiqué read.

“All actions purportedly taken by the said NEC and the national working committee, including the ward, local government, state congresses and the planned national convention of the party slated for the 21st of May 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State constitute a nullity and are of no effect.

“Deriving from all the above and in order to stop further slide into unconstitutional confusion and widespread disenchantment of party members nationwide, we the founding fathers, stakeholders and leaders of the party from all the 6 Geopolitical zones hereby announce a 21-member steering committee to manage the affairs of the PDP, and work intimately with our respected members of BOT who are the conscience of the party till such a time that a proper, lawfully organized National Convention of the party, where a new authentic leadership of the party will be duly elected in accordance to the provisions of our party constitution and guidelines.”

But Sheriff who said the group comprised self-styled leaders, claimed that they were aggrieved, and advised them to present their grievances at the Port Harcourt convention.

Briefing journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, Sheriff said he will go ahead with the amendment of the PDP constitution.

He spoke through Inuwa Bwala his media aide.

“I have seen the group of self-styled elders and stakeholders led by Professor Jerry Gana sweating on television, playing with language but at the end of the day saying nothing,” he said.

“The national convention will certainly hold in Port Harcourt on May 21 if the world does not end before that date. The group headed by Prof. Gana and similar others are not known to the party. They should take their grievances to the convention, if they have any. If they choose to leave the PDP, it would be good riddance to bad rubbish.

“It would be foolhardy for the PDP chairman to involve the same people who led the PDP to failure in the 2015 general elections in rebuilding the party. These are the same people that played ignoble roles in squandering the resources of the party.

Sheriff also threatened to report Gana to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly using the name of the party to obtain a loan of N500m from Skye Bank without following due process.

“It is on record that the same Jerry Gana on behalf of the party without using the machinery of the party collected the sum of N500million loan from Skye bank on behalf of the PDP for which the PDP has been dragged to court and is being compelled to pay back,” he said.

“Leaders of thought in this party including some elders have prevailed on the chairman not to make this matter known and to save this man from public embarrassment. But as it is the chairman may be left with no option than to drag Jerry Gana before the EFCC to explain his role in obtaining N500 million facility on behalf of the party and let him also explain what he has done with the money.”

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