PDP: Makarfi, Sheriff prepare for epic battle

Barely 48 hours after the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, declared former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, as authentic National Chairman of the  People Democratic Party (PDP), the gladiators in the party’s crisis are preparing for what could pass for the final battle.
While the Sheriff group has started consultation and moblisation, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee has called for an emergency stakeholders meeting to decide next line of action. Also, the group is consulting legal experts, to prepare a watertight case at the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, Sheriff stormed Minna, the Niger State capital, where he had a closed-door meeting with former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, and ex-Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu.
Although details of the meetings were not made known to journalists, it was gathered it was not unconnected with the outcome of the appeal court ruling over the PDP crisis.   Speaking with journalists, after a two-hours meeting with IBB, Sheriff said the appeal court ruling was a victory for the party 

“My victory is for the PDP. There is no loser and no winner; it is just a misunderstanding within a family, and we are calling on everybody to come together so that the party can be a formidable one once again,” he said. On the purpose of his visit to General Babangida, Sheriff said: “IBB is our father. During our meeting, he said he was happy with my statement after the court’s ruling. He told me to continue that way, so that I can bring everybody back together to make the party a formidable opposition party.
“What we want to do now is to put the party back to shape, so that every aggrieved person is brought back as one united family once again. Look, united we stand, divided we fall.”
When asked if he reached out to Makarfi after the appeal court’s victory, he said: “I have called Makarfi himself, and I have called on everybody to come back, so that we can work together.”
Also speaking, former Governor Aliyu said: “Now we have a legal decision, which supports the position of the matter. Even though other people talk about going higher (Supreme Court), others are saying ‘No’, we should start widening the solution, that we don’t waste time in terms of legality.
“That is why, for the moment, until anybody is able to go higher and set aside the decision of the court, Ali Modu Sheriff is the chairman of the party. Those of us who love to see solution to this party will continue to find ways of mending it. I think we should all bury our ambitions; you can’t have an ambition without a platform. “We need to all come together and appeal to all PDP lovers and members to really look at the issues objectively, so that we have a platform that we can call a party, which can win elections; not a fragmented party.”

IBB had earlier commended Sheriff for the manner he handled his victory at the appeal court, saying: “I am happy with your statement after the court ruling. It shows there is room for reconciliation and unity. There is the need to bring everybody back together to make the party a formidable opposition party.”
Meanwhile, the Makarfi faction has convened an emergency stakeholders meeting to discuss the appeal court’s verdict. Also, the faction has started consulting legal luminaries over the judgment on the party’s leadership tussle.
A highly placed source within the Makarfi group said it had become necessary to seek legal advice on the issue,  as Sheriff neither appealed against the judgment of the Abuja High Court nor obtained a stay of execution. The source said the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt merely nullified the convention that sacked Sheriff as party chairman, without dealing with the issue of his eligibility to be national chairman.
According to the source, with the judgment of the Abuja High Court still in force, and the nullification of the convention that set up the National Caretaker Committee, technically the party has no leadership at the moment. 
Ahead of today’s stakeholders meeting, the leadership of the caretaker committee met with a small group of  party leaders last night to critically appraise the situation and come up with an agenda in the stakeholders’ meeting. Those expected to attend today’s stakeholders meeting include National Executive Committee ( NEC) members,  Board of Trustees (BoT) members, PDP National Assembly caucus, former PDP governors, former ministers on the platform of the PDP, party elders and former members of the National Assembly.
PDP: Makarfi, Sheriff prepare for epic battle PDP: Makarfi, Sheriff prepare for epic battle Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Monday, 20 February 2017 Rating: 5

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