The battle for the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took a new dimension yesterday as the Concerned PDP Stakeholders Forum made true their threat to unseat the national chairman of the party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff.
The group led by former minister of information, Prof. Jerry Gana, comprising of former governors, former ministers and former federal lawmakers has listed a 57-member steering committee to oversee the affairs of the party.
It would be recalled that rising from its meeting on Thursday, the group had resolved that a 21-member steering committee be set up to manage the affairs of the PDP, and work intimately with the party’s respected BoT members.
A communiqué at the end of the meeting stated that, “we the founding fathers, stakeholders and leaders of the party from all the six geopolitical zones hereby announce a 21-member steering committee to manage the affairs of the PDP, and work intimately with our respected members of BoT who are the conscience of the party till such a time that a proper, lawfully organised national convention of the party, where a new authentic leadership of the party will be duly elected in accordance to the provisions of our party constitution and guidelines.”
While they called for the postponement of the May 21 convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and suspension of the party’s constitution amendment, they also insisted that Sheriff must vacate office by the end of this month.
They also kicked against the zoning of the party’s national chairmanship position to the North-east.
However, instead of the 21-member steering committee, the committee swelled to 57 yesterday. The members of the committee are Senator Ibrahim Mantu; Prof Tunde Adeniran; Hajiya Inna Ciroma; Amb Nkoyo Toyo; Mallam Shehu Gabam; Chief Raymond Dokpesi; Princess Rabi Ibrahim; Hajiya Mairo Habib; Amb. Wilberforce Juta; Arc Ibrahim Bunu; Alh. Adamu Maina Waziri and Prof Jerry Gana.
Others are Sen. Joseph Akaagerger; Prof Abubakar Suleiman; Sen. Bala Mohammed; Barr. Tanimu Turaki (SAN); Rt. Hon. Gambo Sallau; Senator Zigo Azeez; Chief Ishola Sarafa; Hajiya Zainab Maina; Chief (Mrs.) Remi Adiukwu; Iyom Josephine Anenih; Dr Morrof Akiwande and Amb. Ojo Maduekwe.
Also on the list are Prof A. B.C. Nwosu; Chief Dubem Onyia; Sen Ben Obi; Chief John Odey; Dr Bolere Ketebu; Hon Mike Ogbeide; Prof. Sam Oyovbaire; Amb Esther Audu; Sen Florence Ita-Giwa; Alh Shittu Mohammed Kabiru; Chief Lucky Igbinedion; Bonnie Haruna; Ibrahim Shema; Chief Donald Duke; Attahiru Bafarawa; Mahmood Shinkafi; Abdulkadir Kure; H. E. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi; Achike Udenwa; H. E. Babangida Aliyu; Okwesilieze Nwodo; Deacon John Dara; Gbenga Daniels; Sen. Folashade Grace Bent; Elder Bulus Dareng; Dr. Mike Ogbeide; Alh Baba Basharu; Alh Awwal Tukur; Dr Doyin Okupe; Dr Patrick Okomiso; Sen Anietie Okon; Alh Aminu Yakudima; and Mr Nichola Msheliza.
Similarly, it was gathered that the orum is tinkering with the prospects of floating a new party.
A dependable source close to the Gana-led group disclosed that the group made up of founding members and elders of the party is plotting to form another party if they fail to pull the rug off the feet of the embattled national chairman as well as get the party’s NEC to reverse its zoning arrangement.
The anti-Sheriff elements who met at an undisclosed venue yesterday, in Abuja, were said to be angry that the Sheriff group has hijacked the party which they toiled and laboured to build and vowed to resist it.
Our source revealed that part of the plan to stop the hijack of the party by the loyalists of Sheriff, is to register a party which is alphabetically ahead of the existing party (PDP).
The factional group, our source disclosed, is looking at “Action Alliance Democratic Party (AADP)” as the new party.
It was also learnt that the Gana-led group has put up a think tank that would streamline the new party in terms of its structure, manifestos and mobilisation.
According to our source, “the factional group who are aggrieved and opposed to Sheriff and the zoning arrangement chaired by the Akwa Ibom state governor, Emmanuel Udom, have resolved to leave the party for Sheriff and cohorts.
“You see, you can’t have the national chairman and at the same time have the president, all we are saying is that, if the president goes to the north, the south gets the national chairman or vice versa, that is our position.”
The zoning of National offices of recent has been a contentious issue within the party.
The zoning committee headed by the Akwa Ibom state governor had zoned the office of the national chairman to the North-east.
This is in spite of the party’s 2019 presidential ticket zoned to the North by the National Executive Committee (NEC).
But Sheriff has since dismissed the group, describing it as self-styled.
Sheriff, through his media aide, Inuwa Bwala, said those angling to frustrate his confirmation as substantive chairman are those who really want to destabilise the party.
He alleged that those who are aggrieved with the national chairman were cap in hand begging for favours from him and when they were not obliged, they insisted in pulling him down.