The Sun News

South’ll produce next PDP chair –Sheriff

•2019 cause of crisis in party, says Dickson

From Iheanacho Nwosu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has reiterated he will not contest the party’s chairmanship at the forthcoming convention, stressing that the position has already been zoned to the South.

Sheriff, who stated this, yesterday, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, however, said it will become clearer which of the three geo-political zone in the South would produce the national chairman after the convention committee has been constituted.

On speculations that he is interested in contesting the 2019 presidential election, the party leader said God will decide his fate in 2019, stressing that all political positions he had held in past were made possible by God.

“Every position I have occupied, God made it possible. I am a firm believer in the will of God. I told you I will not run for chairmanship position. I didn’t tell you any other thing. The rest, we leave to God.  “The chairmanship will not come to the North, not to talk of me contesting,” he said.

The PDP leader added that although would quit as chairman after the party’s convention, nothing stops members of his National Working Committee ( NWC) from contesting any position of their choice at the convention, especially, as they have agreed to forfeit the remaining part of their tenure to enable the convention hold.

Furthermore, Sheriff said his consultation with key stakeholders in the party has reached advanced stage. He said as soon as the consultations are over, the PDP national convention would hold in line with the recommendations of the party’s Reconciliation Committee headed by Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.

The PDP chairman said he had met with the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin and would meet with the National Assembly caucus soon.

Asked if he has spoken with the chairman of the party’s caretaker committee as part of his consultations,  Sheriff said: “I spoke with Makarfi and he said he will get back to me, but he has not.

“I wouldn’t know what is in their minds. But, from their statement, it is left for Nigerians to deduce what they are up to. “We are not relenting. We will carry everybody that means well for the party along. We are on course. We will go on as planned.”

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has given a fresh insight into the crisis rocking the PDP blaming it on 2019 general election ambitions.

He said some chieftains of the party are locked in a battle over who controls the leadership and structures of the party ahead of the next general elections .  “The whole quarrel is not about what’s best for PDP; it is about ambitions of those who want to control PDP structures. It’s about those who want to contest presidential elections and other elective offices in 2019, which is their rights; they fear that if a certain person is in control, they are shut out,” Dickson told newsmen in Abuja.

He said PDP should be supported, rebranded and redesigned in such a way that “this culture of impunity that is at the root of what is going on doesn’t happen again.”

“I take exception to some of the public statements Markafi  and some of his supporters have been making. I don’t want to join issues with anybody because I’m for peace and reconciliation. I want to remind Makarfi and his supporters that, whereas it is good for him (Makarfi), that in every state, because of this crisis, we have the so-called Makarfi group and the Sheriff group, the party is polarised  down the line. It may be good for him; he may be enjoying it, but, this party is bigger than Sheriff and Makarfi.” The Bayelsa State governor said PDP and APC have become “national institutions that we should treasure, sustain and support.”

“I want a strong party, our democracy needs a strong party in government and a strong party in opposition. Because of this crisis, PDP has continued to fail Nigerians in the area of providing credible, constructive opposition,” he said.

For the crisis in the party to end, Dickson insisted that Makarfi and other leaders of the party must be ready to make sacrifices even as he recommended that political solution must be embraced by all the warring parties.

“PDP leaders should make sacrifice, individual and personal sacrifices, so we can move forward. And Makarfi, who enjoyed confidence of the majority of party members, has to lead that process. And I remind him about the story of Solomon and the two women  who were arguing over the ownership of a child. The woman who really had the child, who carried the pregnancy for nine months and went through the rigours of labour said don’t kill the child, instead of killing the child, give him to her, at least, the child will survive.

“Makarfi and leaders of PDP need to learn from that wisdom, that if you say you’re the genuine stakeholders of the PDP, you should be the first to make the sacrifice, especially when you’re raising so many concerns about a so-called mole. I am not in the position to confirm or deny that. Then, you should be more interested in ending the crisis and seeing to it that a negotiated solution is created; a window is created for an exit, so you can retrieve your party and rebuild. That is what I’m promoting,”Dickson said. He expressed disappointment that Makarfi rejected the proposal and template for conducting national convention of the party which his committee submitted to him,

a move he described as a clear sign that the chairman of the PDP national caretaker committee was not keen to have the disagreement in the party resolved.

Caretaker committee faults Dickson’s call for its resignation The PDP national caretaker committee (NCC) has faulted calls by Dickson for its resignation.The committee, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja, yesterday, urged the Bayelsa governor to direct his request to the organs of the party that set up the caretaker committee.

While describing the call for its resignations by Dickson as “shocking and embarrassing,” the committee said it will quit whenever the organs of the party that established it decides.

“The national caretaker committee did not appoint itself; it’s a creation of national convention of the party at which Governor Dickson, as a prominent leader of the party, was present.

The statement said if Dickson wants the NCC to be disbanded, he should convince the 80 percent of the members at the national convention on the merits of his point of view, stressing that the NCC has no choice than to obey the command of its principals. We are no sit tight like Senator Sheriff.” “Nigerians are aware that former President, Goodluck Jonathan had suggested the resignations of Sheriff and the NCC as a solution to the crisis in the context of finding a suitable political solution to the crisis.

“While the NCC agreed to step down in the interest of peace, Sheriff bluntly refused. Who should we blame for the lingering crisis in the light of this? Definitely, not the NCC. It is, therefore, most unfair to say that the NCC is averse to finding a political solution to the crisis,” the statement said.

Besides, the committee expressed worry that Dickson, who is the chairman of PDP reconciliation committee, is undermining the work of his committee by taking sides in the crisis rocking the opposition party.

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