- Sherriff should submit to Makarfi – Ahamba
- Every party member should have equal stake – Prince Akinsemoye
By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
The Supreme Court judgment which restored Senator Ahmed Makarfi as substantive national leader of the leading Opposition Political Party; Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, has generated fresh challenge for the party leaders in reviving the structures and political machine of PDP.
National Daily investigation found that several stakeholders and leaders in the party have been articulating the desiderata of institutionalizing internal democracy and shared values of harmony of interests in rebuilding the PDP and projecting the party to Nigerians in renewed value re-orientation and leadership rebirth.
The recent meeting of PDP leaders in which the leader of the party faction that lost at the Supreme Court, Ali Modu Sherriff, was absent precipitated advocacy for reasons to prevail over parochial interests in the attitude of stakeholders in the Party.
Sherriff had earlier acknowledged the Supreme Court judgment, advocating joint efforts to rebuild the PDP and move on.
Makarfi had also disclosed the granting of amnesty to all members that precipitated the unnecessary leadership crisis in the party. Apparently, the mechanism for reconciliation encountered no hitches,
Sherriff was, however, gathered to have later said that he was shocked by the judgment of the apex court which overturned his victory at the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, the current situation in the PDP is no longer about feelings of individuals but the collective interests of members at stake.
Speaking to National Daily, chief Mike Ahamba SAN, a chieftain of the PDP in Imo State and a former lead counsel to president Muhamnmadu Buhari in 2003/2007, articulated the need for all PDP members to submit themselves to the leadership of Makarfi and not consider the option of defection after the Supreme Court has declared Makarfi authentic leader of the party. Ahamba remarked that the crisis was over leadership not ownership of PDP. He maintained that anyone considering defection option may be communicating to the people that he was involved in the crisis for ulterior motive to pursue personal ambition.
“All I am saying is this, the struggle was for leadership of the party, not for ownership of the party. Now that the leadership has been decided, I appeal to everybody to come back let us follow that leadership and move ahead for the benefit of the country. There is no reason for defection. If somebody begins to defect as a result of the Supreme Court judgment, it means he has some ulterior motives not just the question of principles,” the legal practitioner stated.
Ahamba insisted that since the Supreme Court has adjudicated on the leadership tussle, Sherriff should submit himself to Makarfi.
“Court is a place where you settle disputes amicably, peacefully instead of fighting over it. Nobody broke head in the PDP because of the leadership crisis. We went to court as civilized people and the court has decided it. Sherriff should submit himself to Makarfi, let us go on,” Ahamba declared.
He advocated that the expectation from party leaders after the judgement is that they should embrace internal democracy. “It is the only thing that will make any political party great in this country, henceforth. They have to embrace internal democracy; it is lack of internal democracy that made PDP ship out of power. They must entrench it and make sure they make it the way of life of PDP and the only way to save democracy in this country. Otherwise the victory may be wasted,” Ahamba cautioned.
He was of the view that Nigerians are convinced that APC has failed this country, stating that the only option is, again, PDP, adding: “and we need to get ourselves together and present a better image for people who believe in democracy, even those still in our party, so that people can trust us.”
Ahamba emphasized that the judgment of the Supreme Court wouldn’t have gone the other way considering the substantive issues before the court.
“I will have been terribly surprised if the judgment went the other way because, considering my experience as a lawyer, there was no reason for the fight being carried out by Sherriff. He was given three months, the three months expired, he said he extended the period, where did he derive the power to extend his tenure. So, I knew the Supreme Court will do something and I am happy they did,” Ahamba declared.
Moreover, Prince Adebiyi Akinsemoye, PDP chieftain in Lagos State, speaking also to National Daily, said that court ruling has revived democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria, saying: “we need a strong opposition Political Party.” He advocated for a united PDP in order to strengthen the party in repositioning to handle the problems in Nigeria, noting that the APC has failed. “With this judgment, PDP should unite and be one so that they can tackle the problems; so that they can tackle the deceitful APC.”
Prince Akinsemoye was optimistic that PDP will bounce back strongly in future elections. “People are tired of the deceitful APC. During the campaign, they promised a lot of things but look at it now; what is happening, dollars is waxing stronger, the naira is sinking lower; prices have skyrocketed, Nigerians are suffering. There is hunger in the whole country,” he remarked.
Prince Akinsemoye articulated that PDP should seize the opportunity and work as one, saying that all splinter factions and aggrieved members like Musilu Obanikoro, should come back, unite and work as a team.
“Like the Yoruba adage says, let us send away the (akata) these animals, then, come back home and resolve our own differences,” the Lagos Prince said.
This time, PDP should stand as one, put an end to divisions and imposition of candidates; cautioning that
PDP leaders, elders and grassroots stakeholders should realize that this is an opportunity for them to bounce back to power.
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Prince Akinsemoye further advocated that PDP stakeholders should go back to the days of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), led by venerable Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, “where everybody has membership card, contribute, pay dues, so, nobody will say I am the financier or owner of this party or have control. Everybody will be equal have equal stake.”
Meanwhile, several PDP stakeholders are wishing the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Jibrin Walid, quick recovery. Walid who has been fighting assiduously for peace to return to PDP, was on the sick bed in Kaduna when the Supreme Court judgment was delivered.
The PDP BOT Chairman was visited by Alhaji Sule Lamido, former Governor of Jigawa State, a stout PDP leader who stood firm in the time of crisis, and a leading presidential aspirant of the party, who expressed his solidarity and goodwill to the great party leader.
Meanwhile, the rebuilding process continues in the PDP which has resolved to hold a non-elective National Convention to design new road-map for the journey towards 2019.