The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has said that he and members of his national working committee are planning to meet former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo, a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, tore his membership card of the party some years ago.
This happened when former President Goodluck Jonathan jettisoned the zoning formula in the PDP and insisted that he was going to be its presidential candidate during the 2015 election.
Before then, Obasanjo had stopped taking part in the party’s activities.
Sheriff, who was recently declared the authentic national chairman of the party by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, had been meeting with its key members and its founding fathers.
He had met with Jonathan and also a former chairman of its BoT, Chief Tony Anenih.
National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, told one of our correspondents on Saturday, that Sheriff was planning to meet the former president who he described as an eminent member of the party.
Apart from Obasanjo, he also said that the former governor of Borno State and members of his NWC were also in consultation with former Vice President Namadi Sambo.
He said that no efforts would be spared to restore normalcy to the former ruling party, which has now been factionalised.
Oladipo said, “We will meet former President Obasanjo. He is our leader and he is also a former president elected on the platform of our party.
“We have high respect for him as a person and the office he occupied. Don’t forget that he was also a former Chairman of our BoT.”
On why the party forced its way into the party’s national secretariat on Friday, he said the constitution of the party put his office as the custodian of the secretariat.
He said that it was wrong for the Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, to hold the keys.
Oladipo added that the national caretaker committee had a secretary, who he said ought to hold the keys before the committee was sacked by the court.
He said, “It is not right for the chairman of the BoT to claim that the keys were with him. The constitution of our party stipulates which office is the custodian of the national secretariat.
“How did the keys get to him? Assuming there was a crisis, why not keep the keys with the secretary of the illegal caretaker committee?
“But if he had reported to the police, then that is good. He should also tell the police what section of our party constitution gives him the power to keep the keys.”
It was also gathered that Sheriff was planning to reactivate the accounts of the party, which our correspondent gathered had been dormant.
Oladipo said that the party would liase with the director of finance on how to activate the party’s accounts, adding that officers of the party must show loyalty to it and not individuals.
Meanwhile, members of the PDP who are sympathetic to the factional leader, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, were stopped from staging a peaceful protest in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Saturday.
They were dispersed by the police who stormed the venue of their meeting, armed with a petition from the Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction that their assembly was illegal and should not be allowed.
The group dispersed but Ambassador Usman Ibrahim, who addressed journalists on their behalf, said, “We the grassroots stakeholders of PDP in Borno State unanimously accept the leadership of Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, the caretaker chairman of our great party.”
Also in Minna, the Niger State capital, party members foiled an attempt by the police to stop a PDP stakeholders’ meeting billed to take place at the party’s secretariat
The PDP members from the 25 local government areas of the state had arrived at the secretariat as early as 10.00am but the police were mobilised to the place to stop the assembly.
The meeting was summoned by the Tanko Beji-led state executive to affirm the position of the national working committee on the crisis that had polarised the party.
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that policemen went there to enforce an “ order from above” that the meeting should not hold but met an already filled hall and had to use one of their vehicles, marked NPF9993C to block the main entrance to the secretariat.
Beji later led some officials to the police headquarters where he briefed the Commissioner of Police, Muazu Zubairu, that the meeting was a purely party affair without any plan to cause a breach of peace as being alleged.