National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff, has vowed to stop the registration of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Party.
He said that the PDP under his watch would not allow it, insisting that there was no way the party would share its franchise with any other political party.
The former governor of Borno State, who spoke through the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr, Bernard Mikko, told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that those behind the plot were trying to use their action to negotiate.
He said it was unfortunate that some elements within the party could resort to what he described as illegality when negotiations were ongoing to resolve the crisis.
Mikko said, “There is no way we will allow that to happen. No one will be allowed to share the franchise of the party with either another political party or association. PDP is one and it will remain so. We won’t negotiate this with anyone.
“Those planning to divide the party want to use this to negotiate. It is a wrong move and it will never stand. We will resist it legally.”
Also, the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, described the plot to register the new party as a fraud.
He said there was no way the national leadership of the party would allow the registration to succeed.
The former member of the National Assembly said that the PDP, under the leadership, of Sheriff would frustrate the attempt to register the party.
He said, “You know that is 419 (plot to register APDP) in another name. We will protest to the commission and also use other legal means to frustrate it.
“We are alerting Nigerians now that those who want to duplicate PDP are nothing but 419 people. If they want to register a new party, they should put on their thinking cap and form one.
“We won’t allow them use our name for their selfish interest. There are so many names out there that they can coin and form their political party without adding PDP to it.
“If they can’t even get a name, tell me how they want to win election. If they want to attempt at allowing that, we won’t agree. We are ready for them.”
Some aggrieved members of the party had approached the Independent National Electoral Commission, seeking to register the APDP.
The commission is however keeping the identity of those behind the yet-to-be registered party secret.
The aggrieved persons were said to have the backing of some governors as well.
It was further learnt that already, the governors are sharply divided on the need to pursue a political solution to the perennial crisis in the party.
The chairman of the governors forum, who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, had said the governors would remain with the sacked National Caretaker Committee of the party headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
At a meeting with former President Goodluck Jonathan, it was gathered that some of the governors insisted that the appeal lodged by the Makarfi camp at the Supreme Court must be pursued to conclusion.
It was learnt that the two governors from the northern part of the country, Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), and Darius Ishaku(Taraba) were among the few who canvassed political solution to the crisis.
They were said to have been particularly backed by Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Seriake Dickson(Bayelsa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Ben Ayade (Cross River).
A source said that the governors were divided on the matter. While it was gathered that some were of the opinion that a plan ‘B’ in the form of a new party be hatched in case Sheriff wins at the Supreme Court, some were said to have asked that they should exercise patience.
The source said, “There were fears that elections are coming and if we don’t get prepared, we could be caught unawares.
“Some used the example of what happened in Ondo where confusion within the party made us to lose the state to the All Progressives Congress because we didn’t have a candidate until a few days to the election.
“Now, there are concerns among our colleagues that the same calamity that befell us in Ondo could be waiting for us in Ekiti, Osun and Anambra states where governorship elections are due before 2019.”
Fayose had earlier said that he could seek an alternative platform to pursue his succession bid in 2018, because of the crisis in the party.
It was, however, not clear if he has a hand in the formation of the APDP, but there were rumours that some governors were behind the plot.
“Some of our governors are behind the plot. The only thing is that they don’t want to come out in the open now. We know ourselves very well,” a member of the Board of Trustees of the party told our corespondent on condition of anonymity.
I’m not part of APDP — Makarfi
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmed Makarfi, however, dismissed a report that he is behind the registration of the new party.
Makarfi, who has been locking horns with the Ali Modu Sheriff faction over the leadership of the party, said he is still a member of the PDP and does not know anything about the APDP.
A national newspaper had reported that Makarfi had submitted an application to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the registration of the APDP.
But speaking with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, Makarfi, disassociated himself and his faction from the registration of the new party.
He said, “I am not behind the party (APDP). I don’t have any hand in it as claimed. In Nigeria, you can’t prevent people from making speculations. The country is awash with all kinds of speculations but it is a free country and anybody is free to go and register any party he or she likes but it (APDP) is not something I am interested in or driving.”
Asked if he had any plans to leave the PDP, Makarfi said, “You can’t tell what will happen tomorrow. We are in the PDP. What form the PDP would take, we can’t say.
“I am still studying the report of the Jerry Gana-led reconciliation committee. So, first things first. When we get to the river, we would know how to cross it. But specifically on APDP, I can categorically say that we never discussed such and I am not behind its registration.”
The former Kaduna State governor said former President Goodluck Jonathan had reached out to his group, adding that talks were ongoing to resolve the impasse.
He, however, did not disclose whether there are conditions for the peace talks.
“We are continuing our discussions So, we will see what comes out of it. We cannot be a problem to a meaningful and peaceful resolution. Once it is meaningful and comprehensive, we can’t hinder that,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, told one of our correspondents on Saturday that INEC had received the application for the registration of the APDP.
Don’t divide PDP, BoT warns
The Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party has warned those behind the plan to register the new party that will rival the former ruling party to desist from it.
It said that there was no time the issue of registration of a new political party was discussed as a means to settle the crisis rocking the party.
Chairman of the Board, Senator Walid Jibrin, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Saturday, said that it would be disastrous for the party and democracy in the country if another party springs out of the PDP.
Jibrin was reacting to the suspicion in some quarters that some members of the party loyal to its sacked national caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi had approached the Independent National Electoral Commission to register Advanced Peoples Democratic Party.