Monday, July 17, 2017 9:58 am
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Bayelsa State governor, Henry Seriake Dickson and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike have differed on the place of Senator Modu Ali Sheriff in the future of Peoples Democratic Party, following his sack as factional chairman of the opposition party last Wednesday.
Dickson believes that everybody, including the erstwhile chairman should be carried along in the task of reconciliation of members of the party following the leadership crisis engendered by the struggle for leadership of the party between Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment.
But Wike said Sheriff is a deadly agent of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC who must not be touched with a long pole.
Both governors spoke yesterday.
Speaking at a at an inter-denominational Special Thanksgiving Service for ‘PDP Supreme Court Victory’ at the Rivers State Ecumenical Centre in Port Harcourt on Sunday , Governor Wike said the party will embark on reconciliation after the Supreme Court Judgment.
But he was quick to allude to the fact that Sheriff may not be accommodated in the reconcilation process because he was ‘mole’ for APC.
The governor further stated that the Supreme Court Judgment saved Nigeria and there is the need to thank God for the sustenance of multi-party democracy.
“While we are reconciling, we must be vigilant. Nobody will take me unawares. Satan will never sleep. Satan will always find ways to cause havoc.
“Sheriff is an agent of the APC. Woe betide any person who is a mole of the deadly party,” said Wike who expressed gratitude to God for giving PDP leaders the wisdom to identify that with the emergence of Sheriff the Party was headed for doom and had to retrace its steps.
“PDP is the only party that is a household name in Nigeria. There is no unit in the country without a member of the PDP “.
The governor said that going forward Rivers State must get return on her contributions to the PDP.
“As we help you, you help us. If you don’t help us, we won’t help you. All of us must rise from our unit, ward and local government area to mobilise people”.
The governor canvassed total loyalty to the PDP, saying that the party is supreme.
“God saved PDP because of Rivers State. We don’t have plan B. Every other state had plan B. Our enemies will be put to shame from time to time. Rivers State is the strongest PDP State”, Wike said during the thanksgiving service which attracted PDP leaders from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
But in a statement issued yesterday, Governor Dickson, called on all PDP leaders to respect the judgement of the Supreme Court and team up with the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee to move the party forward.
According to him, since the apex court has spoken as the final arbiter, PDP loyalists should cooperate with Makarfi to deliver reconciliation and an acceptable Unity National Convention within the shortest possible time frame.
He also advised the former national Chairman of PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his supporters to team up with Makarfi to move the party forward.
Dickson’s advice came amidst insistence by Sheriff faction of PDP in Lagos State that the judgment does not apply to them.
The governor who is also the Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee of the PDP, in his first official reaction to the Supreme Court judgement which authenticated Makarfi as the party’s chairman, said the verdict produced no victor, no vanquished.
In the statement issued in Yenagoa by his Special Adviser (Media Relations), Francis Agbo, the governor advised the Senator Makarfi -led National Caretaker Committee and all leaders of the party to deliberately and ‘‘consistently pursue true and genuine reconciliation of all contending parties in the party with a view to organising an all-inclusive National Unity Convention to select the national leadership of PDP.”
According to him, such true reconciliation and a National Unity Convention would build confidence in the party as well as ‘‘endear Nigerians to PDP and persuade those who had defected from our great party to return to PDP ahead of 2019.’’
While stressing that the judiciary only adjudicates on matters but never reconciles contending parties, Dickson said now that the Supreme Court has delivered the much expected judgement, the PDP must now reconcile and truly put its house in order to effectively play its role as the leading opposition party in Nigeria.
Dickson said, ‘‘I call on Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his supporters and all contending parties in our great party, PDP to respect the verdict of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter. I urge all contending parties in the PDP to embrace peace and genuine reconciliation and support the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of our party with a view to organizing an all- inclusive National Unity Convention.
“Without such support, genuine reconciliation cannot take place; without such support, the Caretaker Committee will have a herculean task organising an acceptable convention, without genuine reconciliation, the party cannot move forward…’’
The Governor said that the prolonged PDP leadership crisis was avoidable in the first place, and believed that the PDP leaders had learnt their lessons, hoping that the PDP leadership would put in place measures to forestall re-occurrence of the needles crisis and litigations.
Speaking in Warri, Delta State yesterday, Dr Cairo Ojouigboh, and Deputy National Vice Chairman of the defunct Sheriff faction of the PDP has said they are still members of the party despite the recent Supreme Court judgment.
Ojouigboh said this in an interview with newsmen shortly after meeting with some members who were loyal to the former Chairman of the party.
Ojouigboh, however, said that they were awaiting the receipt of the Supreme Court judgment for their lawyers to study and advise appropriately.
“For now, we are still members of the party and we will be ready to work for the success of PDP in future elections.
“We are PDP members and faithful ones. We are awaiting the written judgment and wait for the advise of our lawyers,” he said.