Following the Supreme Court verdict yesterday, Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has taken over the party’s secretariat.
The secretariat had on different occasions been sealed off by the police owing to the leadership tussle between Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff, which smouldered until yesterday.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared Makarfi as the authentic chairman of the PDP, ending a 14-month leadership battle.
Speaking with party supporters at the complex, the PDP chairman described the judgement as “no victor, no vanquished”, saying “we must be open to reconciliation, but there’s a caveat”.
“Reconciliation does not mean we take what belongs to people and give it to you. It must be based on equity, equality and values,” he said.
“With this caveat, we should be prepared and willing to reconcile with everybody.
“Anybody that can meet these criteria, we should be willing and open to reconciliation with such a person, no matter who they are.”
On May 22, 2016, the police sealed off the PDP headquarters after “confusion” at the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt a day before.
On June 13, 2016, Sheriff took over the secretariat following a court order and on arrival, he said his mission was to “resume officially and takeover”.
However, he was stopped from entering the complex by security agents stationed at the gate, to the disappointment of his supporters, who were armed with placards and were chanting songs of solidarity.
Sheriff alighted from his car to address newsmen, saying he remained the national chairman of the party until 2018 based on the ruling of a court that reportedly affirmed his position.
He, thereafter, asked the police officers to vacate the premises, but they did not comply.
After making multiple attempts to enter the place but was barred from doing so by police officers stationed there, he went to speak with Solomon Arase, former inspector-general of police (IGP), on the matter, and was assured that he would be allowed in when his supporters had pulled back.
But when he returned a second time and sought to make his way in, he was stopped by the police again.
He then left the premises, only to return a third time, eventually succeeding.
The complex was sealed off again after Makarfi appealed against the order of the court recognising Sheriff as PDP chairman.
But on Wednesday the gates of the secretariat were opened to Makarfi and his supporters amid celebration.
…defectors can now return to natural home– Jonathan
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s judgment affirming Ahmed Makarfi as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan has urged defectors to come back.
Jonathan called on party members who jumped ship as a result of the long-running leadership crisis to return to “their natural home”.
He said the favourable ruling does not belong to a section of the party.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Jonathan said Makarfi should see the decision of the court as “a moral victory of constitutionality over arbitrariness”.
“I congratulate my political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, on the successful resolution of its leadership crisis by the supreme court of Nigeria. I believe in our jurists. We may have issues with some individuals but the Nigerian judiciary deserves our respect and commendation. They have served this country well,” he wrote.
“Today’s verdict is a judgment where there are no winners or losers. It is a verdict that will bring our party together. We should all thank the supreme court of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“As I congratulate the Ahmed Makarfi led Caretaker Committee, I want to strongly urge them not to see this as a victory of a section of the party, but as a moral victory of constitutionality over arbitrariness. Thus, they must take inspiration from General Yakubu Gowon and declare a ‘no victor and no vanquished policy’.
“As a senior member of the party, I hereby call on all those who left the party because of its leadership issues to return to their natural home and build the PDP.
“The PDP is an inclusive vehicle not an exclusive one. We see Nigerians as human beings deserving of the rule of law, separation of powers and a free market economy that provides a level playing ground for all.
“The party that gave Nigeria the largest economy in Africa is a party whose heart is large enough to find a place for all Nigerians.”
…no victor, no vanquished – Mark
Former Senate president and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BOT), David Mark has described the Supreme Court’s verdict on the leadership crisis that has bedevilled the party as “no victor no vanquished.”
Senator Mark in a reaction to the verdict, which affirmed Senator Ahmed Makarfi led national caretaker committee as authentic chairman of the party as against Senator Alimodu Sheriff faction said that in all, it was the party that won.
He acknowledged that the legal battle would have been avoided if some of the gladiators heeded wise counsel but was pleased to note that the matter had come to an end and the party was back as one family.
Senator Mark counseled members of the party to put the issue behind them and reenact the indomitable spirit of the PDP as a strong and formidable family it has been known for since its inception.
“The disagreement between both side of the divide was a needed elixir for the unity of the party to face the challenges ahead,” he stressed.
He was optimistic that useful lessons had been learnt which will put the party in a better stead for future electoral victories.
He stressed: “now we know the authentic leader of our party. It is no longer in doubt that PDP still has the credible and defined road map for the socio-political and economic recovery of our nation”.
Meanwhile, the majority leader of the senate, Ahmed Lawan, said most court judgments were far from fair when the PDP controlled the federal government.
He said this on the floor of the senate yesterday while reacting to the supreme court judgement which affirmed Makarfi as the authentic chairman of the PDP.
Lawan, who is of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the judgement goes to show that the Muhammadu Buhari administration believes in the separation of powers.
He said in spite of the ruling, the PDP will continue to remain in “diaspora”.
“Nigerians overwhelmingly and massively took out PDP from the running of this country and PDP will remain in diaspora. All the same, we want to congratulate Nigerians for the kind of judgement that the supreme court gave under this administration,” the senate leader said.
…end of division in Kwara PDP– Oyedepo, Fagbemi
By Kayode Adeoti
Following the Supreme Court judgement that declared Ahmed Makarfi as the bonafide National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the factional chairmen of the party in Kwara State; Iyiola Oyedepo and Prince Sunday Fagbemi may soon close ranks as they both opined that the development is the end of polarisation of the party in the state.
In a text message forwarded to this medium yesterday, Oyedepo said, “There will be no faction in Kwara State soonest.”
In the same vein, Fagbemi during a press conference at the party secretariat along Asa-Dam road, Ilorin, yesterday, said he had put a call through to his rival (Oyedepo) to congratulate him on the victory. He added that they’ve both been members of Makarfi’s faction while the crisis lasted.
According to Fagbemi, the ruling of the nation’s apex court has rekindled Nigeria’s believe in judiciary as the last hope of the common man, adding that the judgement is a relief to the larger population of the PDP.
He submitted further that the party will now be able to put its house in order to perform virile opposition role, “absence of it has made the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to be slumbering and denying the citizens of good governance.”
“We thank the judiciary for staying on the side of the truth and we urge its officials to continue in that direction, so that together, we can build a country where there will be equal opportunities for all, regardless of status.
“With this landmark judgement, our great party is now in a better stead to play its role as the leading opposition party in the country,” Fagbemi noted.
He further posited that the court’s verdict will give better opportunity to reposition the party for the 2019 challenges, adding that the defeat of APC in the Senatorial bye- election in Osun State on Saturday is a pointer to the beginning of success for PDP.
One of the founding members of the party in Kwara, Barr. Kunle Sulyman in his remarks corroborated Fagbemi, saying he is greatly indebted to God for the victory.
He said during a press briefing in Ilorin that it would have been a great disaster on the party if the judgement has gone in favour of Sheriff, adding that lawlessness and dictatorship would have taken its toll on democracy.
Sulyman said, “If the decision had gone otherwise, it would have been a massacre for democracy in the country and the nation would have gone into dictatorship that no one will be able to control.
“We are the recognised group of Makarfi in Kwara with many of our strong members in Abuja representing us in the court. The likes of Abubakar Sulyman, Makanjuola Ajadi, Ibrahim Bio, John Dara and Abdulraman Abdulrasaq, who is the major financier of the party and Fagbemi is the authentic state chairman,” he said.
He also affirmed that the party is now set to build a structure both at state and national level that will dislodge the ruling government in 2019 general elections.
He further enjoined aggrieved members to join forces with the party in moving it forward.
Present at the press briefing were; Hon. Iliasu Ibrahim, Henry Olaosebikan, Col. Lawal Alao and Hajia Fatimo Gegele among others.