Thursday, 2 March 2017

PDP crisis: Jonathan asks Makarfi, Sheriff to step down

As part of measures to resolve the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has asked the two protagonists, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi and Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, to step down.

Makarfi, the Caretaker Committee chairman, who is backed by governors elected on PDP platform and Sheriff, national chairman, who got a favourable judgment at the Court of Appeal recently, have been fighting for the control of the PDP, which has not only polarised the party but also weakened it.

After a meeting with Jonathan on Tuesday, PDP governors told the press they had resolved to adopt a political solution to the crisis. Sources at the meeting told Daily Sun that at the head of the political solution was Jonathan’s insistence for Makarfi and Sheriff to step down, for a new dawn in the party.

It was gathered that Jonathan reasoned that since the leadership of either of the two warring party leaders would not solve the problem, the best solution was for them to step down.

Competent sources revealed that Jonathan’s message on this had been dispatched to Makarfi and Sheriff, but at the time of going to press, it could not be confirmed whether they would heed the advice.

Apart from asking Makarfi and Sheriff to step down, it was learnt, Jonathan also suggested that the governors be left to run the party and put it back to reckoning. Towards this end, the governors would be left to nominate another chairman, who would emerge at a national convention.

Jonathan had met with Sheriff in Abuja last week, where he told the former Borno State governor to soft-paddle on his hardline posture.

The former president also met with Makarfi and emphasised that the most important thing was for the PDP to unite and come strong, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Jonathan had told a committee set up for the reform of the PDP, led Prof Jerry Gana, that the loss of PDP in 2015, was  a temporal setback, boasting that the party was still a force in the country.

After the meeting with Jonathan, Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose, had stated that then former president was “genuinely interested in finding a solution to the party crisis” while urging party members to refrain from making inflammatory statements that could compound PDP’s problems.

Fayose said: “It is my pleasure to tell you that (Jonathan) is genuinely concerned with what is going on in the party. And, he thought  that an interactive session with the governors would go a long way to douse tension.

“One, we want to assure all our supporters that we believe in this party.  We believe in the success of this party.  We want to appeal to everybody to be wary of making statements that could further worsen the situation. Rather, we should make complimentary statements that can enhance the party the more.”

“Again, we know that there are so many matters before the court.  But, we believe that  a political solution will go a long way to solve this matter. And I believe in this party; we will all be willing and ready to pursue a political solution, in which, at the end of the day,  every interest will be well represented.  That was the position of this meeting.”

The Sun
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