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Dickson at crossroads of PDP reconciliation



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  • As attack on Makarfi boomerangs

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State will be having a mock time trying to redefine his status in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the Supreme Court judgement affirmed Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee, the authentic leader of the party. This is not unconnected with the governor’s attitude in working at cross-purpose with the mainstream PDP led by Makarfi, and tacitly switching camp to the antagonistic group led by Ali Modu Sheriff.

Ironically, the Bayelsa Governor could not read the trend of the leadership conflict in the party and was impatient to wait for the Supreme Court judgment before declaring the Makarfi leadership illegal or upholding the leadership of Sheriff.

National Daily investigation revealed that the governor’s action was not unconnected with a conceived political project towards building a new coalition in the South-South to challenge the status quo ante within the region and beyond. Some of the allies or principal actors were seemingly leaning towards Sheriff in the bid to ossify a new power forte to launch into the mainstream. Curiously, the Supreme Court judgment broke the straw and discomfited the political actors.

Dickson had committed a seeming political suicide when he was concluding the duties of PDP Reconciliation Committee which he was the chairman.

The Bayelsa Governor had submitted the report of the reconciliation committee to Sheriff whereas that Committee was set by the National Caretaker Committee, which subsequently, appointed Dickson Chairman. He had based his reasons on the Court of Appeal judgment which upheld Sheriff as PDP chairman; a judgment that degenerated into immediate appeal at the Supreme Court by the Makarfi and the Caretaker Committee.

Dickson did not stop at that; the governor proceeded to telling Makarfi and the Caretaker Committee members to step down in the interest of the party.

The Governor had in Abuja penultimate week, explained that the stage was then set for all the chieftains and elders of the party to impress it on the caretaker committee to cede its authority to the Ali Modu Sheriff’s leadership.

Dickson had stated that “PDP had come to a threshold when the right political decision should be taken to end the prolonged crisis,” adding that, “Sheriff had always been disposed to political settlement of the crisis but Makarfi had remained adamant.”

In defence of his action, Dickson had declared inter alia: “We had expected that the Court of Appeal would give us judgment but it rather upheld Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.

“Whether anybody likes Sheriff’s face or not, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee was stripped of its authority to manage the affairs of the party the day the judgment was delivered.

“It was in the spirit to honour the court’s pronouncement that the party’s reconciliation committee, that I chair, submitted its report on how we shall move forward to Sheriff.

“In fact, as it stands now, Sheriff has started addressing issues within the party, he is the one sending names of party members contesting elections in various states.

“If there is going to be a by-election in Kaduna, today, Makarfi’s home state, INEC would not accept correspondence from Makarfi any longer because his business in the party has ended.

“So the reconciliation committee, which I chair, met several times to review our position in the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.

“The reality is that Makarfi no longer has the legal backing to carry on with the task of managing the party.

The Governor had maintained:  “The Makarfi – led caretaker committee should remember that it was a brain child of the majority of party members, including me, at a convention in Port Harcourt.

“I and up to 80 per cent of the population of the PDP members were for Makarfi but the unfolding events have compelled us to adopt a political resolution instead of embarking on further bickering.

“As politicians and democrats, we must, first, obey the constitution and all other instruments of civil rule and which includes obeying the judiciary.

Dickson added:  “So, if you said you are passionate about the survival of the party, then, you should be willing to sacrifice your ambition.

“The crisis has caused us a lot, our elected officials, top notch members are decamping to even lesser parties.

“The party continues to fail Nigerians because the crisis has so far prevented it from being a sound credible opposition even in the face of bad governance in the country right now.”

Thereafter, Dickson commenced advocacy and mobilization for the convening of PDP national convention by Sheriff, saying that he has already convinced PDP State Chairmen in some states.

The Bayelsa Governor, within same period, also launched attack against former President Goodluck Jonathan with caustic criticism.

ALSO SEE: Former PDP ministers lobby for national chairman

The Dickson political shift from the mainstream PDP boomeranged when PDP leaders commenced the rebuilding of the party. The governor was the first PDP leader to be relieved of his chairmanship of a committee. Apparently, sensing the potential danger ahead, Dickson, while quitting the Reconciliation Committee Chairmanship, repeatedly echoed that the only way the PDP can move forward is “reconciliation! reconciliation!! reconciliation!!!

Meanwhile, at the PDP non-Election National Convention in Abuja, former President Jonathan was wildly celebrated with heroic ovation.

The governor, who is on his second term in office, is gradually being edged out of the mainstream PDP except there is a rethink or he finds a way of mending his absurdities.