At Last, Modu-Sheriff Triumphs | Independent Newspapers Limited
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At Last, Modu-Sheriff Triumphs

Posted: May 17, 2016 at 6:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


… PDP BoT Concedes He Can Continue As National Chairman Till 2018


Rotimi Akinwumi



At last, embattled Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff has emerged as the sole candidate for the position of national chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the forthcoming national convention.

This is as the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) on Monday has apparently bowed to power brokers in the party, conceding against their popular stance that Modu-Sheriff can continue in office after the party’s convention.

The BoT members, after about six hours meeting, announced that they had also accepted that the national convention of the party slated for this Saturday, May 21, in Port-Harcourt should hold.

However, in accepting that the convention should be held, the BoT urged the National Executive Committee (NEC) to ensure that the controversial amendment proposed to the party’s constitution is dropped forthwith.

The NEC meets today at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

The board also insisted that the party must ensure that Modu-Sheriff keeps to his promise to vacate office in 2018 at the mid-term convention for another person to be chosen from the Southern part of the country.

The board had since the emergence of Modu-Sheriff in January openly expressed reservation to his headship of the party, and had severally insisted that he, along with the current members of the National Working Committee (NWC) should vacate office and not return through any election.

The meeting on Monday also resolved that its Acting Chairman, Walid Jibrin, should be made the permanent chairman of the board while Chief Ojo Madueke was elected the secretary of the board.

With the crisis resolved, the threat by the PDP Stakeholders’ group to constitute a steering committee to run the party has thus fizzled out.

Earlier in the morning when the meeting commenced, Modu-Sheriff had given his word of honour to the BoT members as he assured that the controversial amendment of the party constitution will be put on hold while the party will work to resolve other problems affecting it before the May 21 national convention.

Although Modu-Sheriff said he was not the chairman of the party when the constitution amendment was undertaken, he said as a leader he accepted the responsibility and blames traded by members arising from the exercise.

He noted that besides the election of party officials that would take place at convention venue in Port Harcourt, the party will seek for a resolution to be passed on the zoning of Presidency to the North as recommended by the Ike Ekweremadu report.

On the flawed party congresses, the National Chairman stated that a committee would be set up to review the conducted congresses with a view to correcting the attendant problems.

He also dissociated himself from the insult on the Jerry Gana-led Concerned PDP Stakeholders saying he did not authorize his aide to engage in such a misadventure while apologizing to the affected elders.

However, while the BoT met behind closed doors, Modu-Sheriff was also involved in another meeting with some governors elected on the platform of the party, in his office.

After about six hours of meeting, the BoT brought its deliberation to a close and Chief Maduekwe was mandated to read the communiqué of the meeting.

He however disclosed that the decisions taken at the meeting were not easily arrived at as members took time expressing their displeasure over what had transpired within the party in the last few days.

In reading the communique, he said, “Three decisions were agreed upon today, one is that in spite of the well-articulated proposals of many highly respected leaders and members that the convention should not go ahead as planned in order to allow more time to resolve our differences, the consensus opinion is, because we do not vote in the BoT because a divided BoT becomes a divided conscience.

“By consensus, we decided to support the NWC and NEC’s decisions that convention should hold on May 21.

“Secondly, all the grievances which have been clearly and well-articulated by well-meaning leaders for the purpose of making the party stronger, not grievances pushed merely to smear the party or factionalize the party will be carefully looked into and in the process of political consideration, and engineering, we will see how to carry everyone along.

“We agreed to suspend amendments to the constitution. We resolved to ask the convention to ratify the motion to zone the presidential ticket to the north. When that happens the chairmanship will automatically be reverted to the south in accordance with PDP zoning principle and tradition.

“Finally, certain states where there were observed challenged during the congresses, which even the chairman and governors acknowledged, the party will look into what happened in those states and make amends,” the BoT secretary added.

Chief Maduekwe defended the decision of the board, adding that as conscience of the party, it will be a national tragedy if they allow PDP to die.

Modu-Sheriff also confirmed to newsmen that he will contest the election even as he’s emerged as the sole candidate for the election.

In a chat with newsmen at the party’s secretariat, he  said his candidacy was first endorsed by the party’s Northeast and his home state of Borno in a unanimous voice vote.

“Yes, I am contesting for the position of chairman at the convention. I have been unanimously endorsed by the Northeast zone and Borno State as sole candidate.

“The Taraba State Governor (Darius Ishaku) moved the motion for my adoption and his Gombe State counterpart, (Ibrahim Dankwabo) seconded the motion”, he said.

Present at the meeting were: Chief Tom Ikimi, Josephine Anenih, Chris Uba, Adolphus Wabara, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Wilberforce Juta, Architect Ibrahim Bunu, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Senator Stella Omu, Amb Esther Audu, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri and the former PDP Chairman Chief Vincent Ogbulafor.

Others were Prof Jerry Gana, Chief Mike Ogiadome, Barr Tanimu Kabiru Turaki, Inna Ciroma, Rex Onyeboh, Remi Adiukwu, Alh Bello, Hon Margret, Senator Jona Jang, Prof Stella Atu, Baba Shetima, Hon Patience Ogodo, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, Senator Ahmadu Ali.