- Sheriff heads for court
From Taiwo Amodu, Abuja
Former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, declared yesterday that he remains the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Sheriff is set to challenge the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in court.
The NWC, under his leadership, was dissolved at the weekend at the party’s national convention in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State and a caretaker committee constituted with former Kaduna state governor, Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ben Obi as chairman and secretary, respectively.
But, Sheriff has vowed not to vacate office and, alongside certain members of the dissolved NWC, held a meeting last night at his private residence to initiate litigation against the dissolution of his executive by the party’s convention which, he claimed, has no backing of the party constitution.
Confirming the development, Inua Bwala, who is his media aide, told newsmen that the national convention held in Port- Harcourt did not enjoy the blessing of the NWC and also noted that his boss had already announced the suspension of the convention.
Bwala further said the former deputy national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, who was the only member of the dissolved NWC present at the convention ground, was not given any directive by Sheriff to represent him.
Bwala said: “Uche Secondus was not asked to act for Sheriff; he did it on his own. What happened in Port-Harcourt was a nullity as the NWC did not support it. A meeting is going on to challenge it. There is no provision for caretaker in PDP constitution. They are now meeting to know the next line of action.” Bwala further declared that his boss had no ulterior motive for postponing the convention, but, in deference to court pronouncements which restrained the party from proceeding with the weekend convention.
But,Secondus, who spoke through his aide, Chuks Akuwuti, in his reaction, faulted the allegation that he acted on his own.
He said that what he did was in compliance with the party’s constitution.
“Sheriff can’t send the deputy national chairman …we aren’t running an individual party. The PDP constitution says in the absence of the chairman, the deputy acts,” Secondus said.
Meanwhile, the party’s crisis took a dramatic twist yesterday, as gun wielding policemen took over its national secretariat in Wuse Zone 5, Abuja. Party officials, who returned from Port Harcourt where a convention was held, were prevented from gaining entry into their offices. The convention had constituted a caretaker committee with Makarfi and Obi as chairman and secretary, respectively.
However, Daily Sun gathered that policemen, acting on instruction from the headquarters, stormed Wadata Plaza when they got information that certain members of the dissolved NWC, allegedly led by Sheriff, planned to hold an emergency meeting of the NWC.
Sheriff, who stayed away from Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, where his executive was dissolved, had addressed newsmen at the Le Meridien Hotel, where he announced postponement of the convention. He premised his action on a court pronouncement, restraining the party from conducting election into the office of national chairman, national secretary and auditor.
Justice Hussein Buba of the federal high court gave the restraining order pending the determination of the suit before him. Plaintiffs in the suit were Sheriff; National Secretary, Professor Olawale Oladipo and the National Auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adewale Adeyanju whose tenures elapsed at the weekend.