Sheriff edged out, NWC dissolved
Makarfi now acting chairman
Convention held after Sheriff declared postponement
From Chris Anucha, Willy Eya, Taiwo Amodu, Tony John, Port Harcourt
THE battle by former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to remain as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hit the rocks yesterday after the National Convention of the main opposition party.
But there was a mild drama, as the embattled chairman announced to the media that the convention which held in Port Harcourt had been postponed, citing court orders issued against the party as reason for the postponement.
Sunday Sun, however, gathered that last minute volteface by certain governors of the PDP who have
been backing his aspiration to return to office as national chairman of the PDP might have informed his quick announcement of the postponement of the convention.
Worried by the court pronouncement asking the party not to conduct election into the office of national chairman, national secretary and national auditor, the governors were said to have resolved to ditch the embattled chairman.
Checks by Sunday Sun revealed that the arrow head of the campaign for Sheriff’s ambition to retain his office, Nyesom Wike and Ayodele Fayose, governors of Rivers and Ekiti states respectively, were the masterminds of the plot to pass a vote of no confidence on the embattled chairman at the convention.
A vigilant Sheriff, who got wind of the plot, Sunday Sun learnt, quickly reached out to the governors to placate them.
At the meeting held at the Port Harcourt Government House, a disturbed Sheriff asked the governors to allow him concession to pick his successor since they were no longer willing to back him for the office. But Sunday Sun learnt that the governors rebuffed the request, as they spurned names mentioned by the former Borno State governor.
A source told Sunday Sun that it was at that point that Sheriff stormed out of the meeting to call a press briefing at the Le Meridien Hotel, where he announced the postponement of the convention in Port Harcourt.
Sheriff told newsmen that the decision was in deference to two court judgments, asking the party not to proceed with the convention.
Sheriff said: “The challenges are that the courts have stopped our convention from taking place. After due consideration of the numerous issues and special circumstances confronting our dear party, taking into account the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to supervise the electoral Commission (INEC) not to supervise the election into the office of the chairman, secretary and auditor based on the order of
the court and in respect of the account that our party is responsible, law abiding with high respect for the
judiciary and courts, we do hereby put off the national convention from taking place.
“We will suspend it until when all the court cases have been resolved. The issues are so many. We have
about two different court cases from Abuja where they say that the tenure of 17 working commit-
tee members has not expired. It will be expiring in 2017. There is another one in Lagos which says that
the tenure of the chairman and secretary will expire in 2018. And INEC also wrote that they would not supervise the election in Port Harcourt. Taking into consideration all these, if we go out and conduct election in Port Harcourt, the National Working Committee of the party(NWC) would be charged for contempt of court. We asked for stay of
proceeding in Lagos yesterday but the court denied us that also.
“Therefore, the best and safest way out of this is to put the convention off. So, we have suspended the convention until all the court cases are resolved and we will now announce another date for the convention. We have advised all the delegates to go home. There is no convention taking place.
We do not want to disrespect the law. We are law abiding. The subject matter and bone of contention is because the court says there is no space for election.
Therefore, I will sit in the national office of the National Chairman of the party and all the members of the NWC which the court has made pronouncement would wait until the decision of the courts are all resolved. Whatever decision the court takes, we will abide by it”.
But further checks revealed that while Sheriff was proclaiming postponement of the convention,
governors, party leaders and delegates were assembled at Sharks Stadium for the convention, where
they dissolved the Sheriff-led national working committee and announced composition of national Caretaker Committee.
Sunday Sun findings revealed that the former Borno governor left Port Harcourt after addressing the media for Abuja in his private jet.