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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sheriff’s loyalists in Benue are APC members – Abba Moro

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Comrade Patrick Abba Moro, has averred that members of the parallel executive council (exco), recently inaugurated by the Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction of the party in Benue State belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Moro, one-time chairman of Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State and immediate past Minister of Interior, made the assertion at the weekend in an interview in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The leadership crisis tearing the PDP apart at the National level reared its head in Benue State last month when some members of the party, reportedly gathered at the Makurdi residence of Senator Joseph Akaagerger to inaugurate a parallel state exco, which they claimed, followed the conduct of congresses by the faction. Sheriff was said to have been represented at the inauguration by Chief Abu King Shuluwa.

But the former Minister described the action of Sheriff’s loyalists in the state as an exercise in futility, noting that the said exco put in place by the group whose members, according to him, no longer belong to the PDP, was a product of illegality. He wondered how Sheriff, who supervised the conduct of congresses that duly produced the current substantive leadership of the Benue PDP and other state chapters, while he was the national chairman, would now turn around to inaugurate another exco, contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution, after his tenure has since elapsed.

His word: “In some states, Senator Sheriff has, without justification, inaugurated state executive councils as parallel organs to the existing state excos earlier inaugurated by him when he was the chairman. Interestingly, virtually all the members of these new excos are members of the APC. In Benue State, for instance, where I come from, the chairman and officials recently inaugurated by Sheriff, Hon. Owoicho Ale and his purported exco members were people who decamped to the APC along with the former Deputy Governor of Benue State, Steve Lawani in February 2016. Up till this moment, there is no record showing that they re-decamped to PDP. So, they are not members of the PDP as we speak. They are all APC members. It is therefore not surprising when people say Ali Modu Sheriff is a mole in PDP to do the hatchet job of destabilizing the party.  But the PDP is a resilient political organization, capable of weathering the storm, either through a political resolution of the crisis or through the court processes that are already in place. And we, in the PDP, have abiding faith in the judicial process of Nigeria. As a law-abiding organization, the PDP is following up on the legal challenges posed by the series of litigations instituted by Sheriff and his co-travellers. I can say without any fear of contradiction that the PDP, as it was before the 2015 election, will come out of this crisis a lot stronger.”

Moro further stated that all the committed and loyal members of the PDP who understand the ideology on which the party was founded about 18 years ago and conversant with the rules guiding its activities are solidly behind the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee.

He said: “The national convention is the highest authority of the PDP according to our constitution. And so, any decision taking at a national convention of the party supersedes any other and has a binding force on all members. The national convention of May 21, 2016 constituted a caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi. The tenure of the caretaker committee which was originally for three months was extended by one year on August 17 to enable the party to resolve all pending issues after the planned elective convention could not hold. So, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee has the legitimacy required for it to carry on with the affairs of the party for now. And I can say with confidence that all local government officials and state officials of PDP elected by the various congresses at different levels, superintended over by Ali Modu Sheriff and the defunct NWC (National Working Committee) when he (Sheriff) was the interim chairman are still in place and are working with the caretaker committee led by Makarfi. All the elected local government council members of the various councils in Nigeria; all the elected members of State Assemblies; all elected National Assembly members and governors on the platform of PDP are working with the caretaker committee headed by Makarfi.”

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