No respite yet for Plateau PDP as factions clash
The internal crisis rocking the Plateau State branch of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which of the two camps claiming control of the party machinery has escalated with the two factions burrowing further into their trenches.
Last week, security operatives comprising men of the Nigeria Police, operatives of Directorate of State Security (DSS) and members of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), prevented the warring factions from accessing the secretariat.
The Plateau crisis is direct fallout of the struggle for the soul of the PDP between Senators Ahmed Markafi’s Caretaker Committee and Ali Modu-Sheriff who has been declared by the court as the Chairman of the party.
Although several stakeholders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, have been interfering in the tussle between the duo to bring peace to the party, the gladiators have remained adamant. The two opposing camps converged at the party secretariat, a development that threaten the peace of the state.
While the supporters of the state chairman, Mr. Damishi Sango, who is sympathetic to the Makarfi faction, said that they were at the party secretariat to protect their property, those loyal to the Sheriff faction, under the leadership of Mr. Gyang Badung insisted they were there to enforce the judgment of the Port Harcourt Court of Appeal, which recognised Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of the PDP.
While addressing his supporters, Sango, a former Minister of Sports, dismissed insinuation that the security agents were acting the script of a particular interest in the crisis saying they were there to prevent outbreak of violence. He insisted that the executive committee of the party that he led was properly and legally constituted through a democratic process.
Said he, “I understand some people wanted to usurp our power. If you don’t want the executive, there is a process. You go for a congress to cast vote of no–confidence and thereafter call for another election. But what they wanted to do is tantamount to a military coup under a democratic setting, which is unacceptable.”
The former minister said he did not believe that Sheriff was the one behind the Plateau PDP rancour but that “it was the hands of some mischief makers being aided by the powers that be in the state. We know them but we won’t mention their names.”
He pleaded with his loyalists to remain calm and be law-abiding stressing that some forces in the state are afraid of local government elections. According to him, “They don’t even want to give the people the timetable for the council elections because they are afraid. Whichever way, PDP is waiting for that local government election. We are waiting for the day. The mistake that was made in 2015 will never be repeated.”
He also appealed to aggrieved members to be calm and advised them to take their cases before the judiciary adding that “the courts are there even at the national level.
He said the struggle for the political control of Plateau State has just begun and that the PDP was very alert because the party is “aware of the grand design to rig the local government elections.”
However, Badung admitted that his group had officially written to security agencies in the state to inform them of the meeting at the party secretariat scheduled for last Thursday because of information that some people loyal to the other faction were planning to invade the premises with dangerous weapons.
According to him, “We are law abiding citizens and Plateau is a peaceful state. When we wrote letters to all the security agencies in the state, we specifically specified the venue of our meeting and the time. Members of the party were invited from all the 17 local governments for the event but Sango who is not loyal to our national chairman, Sheriff deliberately instigated his supporters to disrupt our meeting.”
Badung said he was acting in accordance with the authority conferred on Sheriff as the recognized national chairman of the PDP at the national level, to administer the party in Plateau State.