Jonathan denies endorsing Ali Modu Sheriff
• Former ministers, Fayose back Makarfi
• APC distances party from PDP leadership crisis
Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday denied reports that he had endorsed Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Jonathan’s media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, who described the claim as false, clarified in a statement that the issue of endorsement never came up in the course of the visit, “not at the closed-door meeting with Sheriff nor during the former president’s interview with newsmen.”
According to the statement, Jonathan opened his doors to Sheriff upon his request, just as he had earlier done to the Makarfi-led caretaker committee members, adding that the former president is prepared to broker more talks until the issues in the leadership of the PDP were finally resolved.
The statement further said: “Indeed, it may interest you to know that after meeting with Sheriff, the former president also met with Senator Ahmed Makarfi, leader of the PDP Caretaker Committee and the party’s Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Walid Jubril, later in the evening of the same day.”
According to the former president’s aide, Jonathan had said: “We (PDP) are not factionalised. We are one. We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics. It is the way we resolve these differences that make us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will still meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party,” Jonathan said.
Also yesterday, the forum of former ministers led by former special duties minister, Saminu Turaki, met with the former president at his residence in Maitama District of Abuja and insisted that the forum remained resolute behind Makarfi.
Still on the PDP factional crisis, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose described Sheriff as a general without soldiers in the party challenging him to go for a popularity test with his main contender, Makarfi.
In a statement by Idowu Adelusi, his Chief Press Secretary, Fayose noted that who is who in the PDP were solidly behind Markafi.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has distanced itself from the ongoing leadership crisis within the PDP, which resulted in the police sealing the International Conference Centre, (ICC), initial venue of its stakeholders’ meeting on Monday.
Reacting to a statement credited to the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction, who held the ruling party liable for the action of the Police, the APC through its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, said it had no hand in the police action.