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PDP Chair: Resign Now, Shagari, Juta, Nwabara, Others Tell Modu Sheriff

Modu Sheriff

Some aggrieved chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by former governor of old Gongola State, Wilberforce Juta, has asked the new PDP national chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff, to resign and save the party further embarrassment.

Other aggrieved PDP chieftains seeking Sheriff’s resignation include former presidential political adviser, Dr Akilu Indabawa; Dr Umar Ardo; Dr Pogu Bitrus; former deputy national legal adviser of the party , Bashir Maidugu , Barr. Kabiru Shittu, Shehu Gabam and Esther Audu

The aggrieved party members, under the aegis of PDP Rescue Group, described Sheriff’s emergence as an imposition.

They noted that he was not nominated by any state from the North-East, adding that the Borno State chapter of the party had rejected Sheriff.

Juta, who spoke on behalf of the group at a press conference yesterday, called on the party’s organs to commence the search for “persons with high, strategic insight and fear of God Almighty” to lead the party.

The former governor, who was screened for the chairmanship position, listed the organs to include state and zonal chapters, board of trustees, national caucus, PDP Ministers’ Forum, PDP Governors’ Forum, G84 and PDP leaders – past and present.

Reeling out the grouse of the group, Juta said its members are upset by the decision of the party’s national executive council (NEC) in appointing Sheriff, adding that they are “convinced that this decision by NEC is against the will and wish of the generality of faithful members.

“We know that North-East zonal wing, having been directed by national caucus of the party to forward nominees from the zone, didn’t nominate Senator Sheriff for the position of national chairman.

“That in the interest of PDP and the country, Senator Sheriff should do the needful by stepping down honourably as it is evident that party members nationwide overwhelmingly reject his imposition.”

He added that they had resolved for an early congress and national convention to be called to elect new leaders as “the term of the current leadership is due to end in March 2016.”

He added that “under no guise should the tenure of the current leadership of the party be extended, if we must make the needed fresh beginning.”

“Most party faithful do not see in Senator Sheriff a model of impeccable integrity that the PDP badly needs to lead it at this critical moment,” Juta said, stressing that “ to raise a leader who is lacking in integrity and skills is to throw the party and nation into inefficiency, indiscipline, disorderliness and even chaos.”

Reacting to expectations that Sheriff would leave in March as he was meant to serve out the tenure of the North-East, Juta said: “It is not the question of time but precedence. If we allow it, we would have laid a bad precedence. What is wrong is wrong. It is inappropriate.”

Former Senate president, Adolphus Wabara, is the deputy chairman of the group, while former deputy governor of Sokoto State, Murtar Shagari, is its secretary. Former ministers, Mohammed Wakil and John Odeh, are also members of the group.

On his part, Sen. Wabara said: “We are here to rescue the party from imposition and impunity,” stressing that Sheriff’s emergence was “embarrassing” as he was smuggled into the contest.

He disagreed with Sheriff’s statement that PDP would return to power in 2019 and rule forever, stressing that “we must impress Nigerians first. The agenda is that the person who made that statement might be there to carry out that mission.”

He recalled that the boast by some PDP leaders that the party would rule for 60 years never came to pass.

Speaking in similar vein, Shagari noted that the group is not out to “fight anybody but put things in perspective.”

He, however, lamented that “key members had started leaving, saying: “We can’t sit back and allow the party to die. PDP is the strongest opposition in the country.”

Stressing that no state from the North-East submitted his (Sheriff) name, he said: “We don’t know how he came into the picture. It is not right for him to impose himself the way he was imposed. It is honourable for him to step down.”

Shagari noted that while he would not call Sheriff’s emergence illegal since he was approved by NEC, he, however, lamented: “What we all know is that it was not properly done. The entire PDP family is not happy with what has happened. He has to resign.”

The former Sokoto deputy governor, however, added that “PDP has always gone into crisis and come out stronger.”

Former ministers meet in Abuja tomorrow

PDP Ministers’ Forum will meet tomorrow to deliberate on the recent emergence of Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman of the party as well as other developments within the party.

The forum is led by the former minister of special duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN).

Chairman, Committee on Strategy, PDP Ministers’ Forum, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who disclosed this yesterday in a statement, said the meeting will hold in Abuja.

They are also expected to deliberate on the tenure of the current leadership of the party.

The former ministers have been in the forefront of the opposition to the emergence of Modu Sheriff as the party’s top man.

According to Fani-Kayode’s statement, the meeting is not restricted to only ministers that served between 2011 and 2015 in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.

The statement reads in part: “The PDP Ministers’ Forum, under the able leadership of Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), the former Minister of Special Duties, will meet at 11am on Tuesday at Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, to deliberate on how to move our great party forward in view of recent developments.

“Contrary to some media reports, membership of the PDP Ministers’ Forum is not restricted to only ministers that served between 2011 and 2015, and the meeting that will hold on Tuesday is not just for the ministers that served under President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The meeting is for all PDP ministers that are still in the party and that served between 1999 and 2015. If you are in that category of people, then you are more than welcome to attend the meeting and we would be delighted to see you.

“This is especially so because crucial decisions which will undoubtedly affect and shape the future of our great party will be taken at the said meeting.”

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