|Ali Modu Sheriff|
The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) assumed a new dimension yesterday as governors under the platform of the party, dumped Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.
This happened as elders of the party under the aegis of Concerned PDP Stakeholders Forum, led by Prof Jerry Gana, held a parallel national convention in Abuja.
According to an inside source, the governors’ decision to dump the embattled national chairman, who they had earlier rallied support for, was the aftermath of a discovery that Sheriff, who is nursing a presidential ambition in 2019, had promised four governors the vice president position.
It was gathered that Sheriff’s game caught up with him when the 12 governors elected on the platform of the party upon arrival in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday, realised that he (Sheriff) had been talking to four of them, namely; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State governor; Dave Umahi, Ebonyi State governor, Ayo Fayose, Ekiti State governor and Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor, and had promised each of them that they would be his running mate in 2019 when he gets the party’s ticket to run the presidential election. The party had earlier zoned the 2019 presidential candidate to the north.
The governors were said to have at this point, asked Sheriff to excuse them, while they went into a meeting with former governors who were also in Port Harcourt for the convention. At the end of the meeting which lasted till 5am on Saturday, Sheriff was nowhere to be found but the meeting had resolved that he be removed as party chairman and a caretaker committee to be composed of representatives of the six geopolitical zones be formed, to oversee the affairs of the party for 90 days.
The governors yesterday inaugurated a committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State to organise another national convention within 90 days.
The court order restraining the party from going ahead with the election of a new national executive, which the governors had earlier resolved to ignore, became useful at this point, as it was agreed that it would give them a leeway to reconcile factions of the party before a new convention.
The choice of Makarfi, Leadership Sunday gathered, was because of his neutrality of the factions in the party and the respect he commands among stakeholders in the party, in the belief that his emergence would bring healing and unite the factions ahead of the convention.