PDP will not allow killing of opposition, says Makarfi
*Former Ministers Set Up Committee To Study Appeal Court Judgment
*Sheriff Announces Fresh Reconciliation, Convention
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, has alleged that there were plans to destroy opposition in the country and make it a one-party state.
He has therefore urged all patriotic elements in the country to resist the move and allow democracy to thrive.
Even though the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, gave judgment in favour of factional leader, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Friday, and quashed the existence of the party’s caretaker committee, Makarfi, however, explained that Sheriff cannot lay claim to the chairmanship of the PDP because there is an existing court judgment, which voided his earlier appointment as the party chairman, and which he said was never challenged by Sheriff himself.
Warning the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government against the danger of destroying opposition in the country, Makarfi, after a review of the judgment, yesterday, said: “What we have said, and what we have decided is that we will not allow opposition to be killed in this country,” adding that, “by whatever tricks and by whatever means, rightful and vibrant opposition must survive for the sake of the development of democracy in Nigeria. And we shall work tirelessly to make sure that opposition survives and democracy grows in Nigeria.
“We are not going to take the laws into our hands, even though we don’t accept the judgment. I am saying that we respect the judiciary and whatever may be its pronouncement. We may not agree with it, but there is a process and procedure of showing that you don’t agree with certain pronouncements of the court. But a formal decision will be taken at the meeting to be held in the next few days by our party,” he stated.
Makarfi continued: “As to what Ali Modu Sheriff and his people may do, I am not in a position to say, but I would be surprised if the security agencies would allow him to take over the secretariat. When we got the Port Harcourt judgment they didn’t allow us to take over the secretariat, now if the Court of Appeal has made a decision overturning that judgment, that is not the end of litigation, except if it is to prove that some of the suspicion that people have is true. But, they shall be known by what they do and what they do will tell in more clearer terms where they stand in all of this palaver.”
Meanwhile, the PDP Former Ministers Forum has set up a committee to study the Court of Appeal verdict.
Former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, who made the disclosure to newsmen after the forum met on Friday in Abuja, said the forum was shocked by the verdict.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Turaki said: “We the former ministers’ forum have set up a committee to obtain a copy of that judgment, study same, and advise us on what possible option that can be taken against same.
“We have also resolved that we will liase with other stakeholders within the party; discuss with the governors forum, the National Assembly Caucus of the PDP, the Board of Trustees and the National Caretaker Committee,” he said.
“We will very soon convene a wider and enhanced meeting of all PDP former ministers to consider the report of the committee that we set up to study the judgment and advise us,’’ Turaki added.
The former minister said that while the forum awaits the committee report, it believes that the judgment must be appealed at the Supreme Court,
“Moreso, our position is given for the fact that it was a split judgment, and so we believe that the party will and must appeal against it for now until we hold a larger meeting of the forum.’’
Relatedly, barely 24 hours after the Appeal Court verdict, Sheriff announced a fresh reconciliation drive to reunite party members.
But the former governor who said he had spoken to many PDP governors and National Assembly members about his peace mission was, however, quick to add that the rejection of the judgment as announced by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, was not a reflection of the mindset of other PDP governors.
Fayose, yesterday, disclosed at a press conference in Abuja that the forum was opposed to the verdict, and that the party would appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn it.
But Sheriff in his first media briefing after the judgment said: “I have no issue to join with Fayose because he spoke alone. I have spoken with many governors and I will not join issues with Fayose.”
He also said that he never made any statement against Fayose and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, since the judgment was delivered on Friday.