Embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, has described the public conduct of Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose as shameful.
Sheriff was responding to statements by Fayose to the effect that he was removed as chairman because he was scheming for the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP and was also baiting some party chieftains with the vice presidential ticket.
But at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, Sheriff said, “I am ashamed at the way and manner Fayose is conducting himself in the country. I was once a governor so I know that the position of governor is a very serious one that demands responsible behaviour”.
He denied scheming for the party’s presidential ticket, saying “I never told anybody I wanted to run for president and I did not promise anybody the vice presidential ticket. I have decided not to join issues with Fayose”.
To buttress his claim to the chairmanship of the party, Sheriff said the National Working Committee (NWC) under him is in charge of the bank accounts of the PDP, to the exclusion of the Makarfi led caretaker committee.
“Myself and the Treasurer who is also a member of the NWC are signatories to the bank accounts of the PDP. Makarfi may also open another account in the name of his caretaker committee if he wished”, Sheriff said.
The former Borno state Governor said he had forgiven Makarfi and his committee members for their failed attempt to take over the party and invited them to rejoin the PDP under his leadership.
Said he, “There is only one PDP, which is the one under my leadership. Anyone who thinks that the Makarfi contraption can work is deceiving himself. I am the only chairman of the PDP recognised by the courts, the constitution and the Electoral Act.
“I became chairman because the PDP chose me to lead the party. So I won’t sit by and watch some people mess up the party. I am here to correct what had gone wrong with state congresses conducted by the party”.
Sheriff then went ahead to inaugurate a separate committee to conduct fresh primaries to pick a candidate for the party in the upcoming Edo state governorship election.
He named a serving senator, Hope Uzodinma as chairman of the committee and a former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak as secretary.
According to him, three aspirants had already obtained nomination forms for a fee of N10 million each, saying that the money had been deposited in the party’s bank account.
Sheriff announced that he would soon convene the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to ratify the candidature of the winner of the Edo primary election to be conducted by the Uzodinma committee.
“After that, we will forward the name of our governorship candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the July 10 deadline set by the commission for the submission of candidates”, he said.
He declared as “null and void” the primary election conducted by the Makarfi committee, and which produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the governorship candidate of the party for Edo state.
Sheriff dismissed as false, claims by the Makarfi committee that INEC monitored the Edo governorship primary election it conducted, saying the commission had debunked the claim.
Party chieftains that identified with Sheriff as chairman and who were present at the event were Uzodinma, Gulak, Senator Buruji Kashamu and Mrs. Mariam Ali.
Others are former Imo state Governor, Ikedi Ohakim; former PDP vice chairman (South-South), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; PDP Southwest zonal chairman, Makanjuola Ogundipe; a former Deputy Governor of Oyo state, Kasim Gbolarunmi; Senator Saidu Kumo; Mrs. Esther Audu.
Also at the event were Prof. Wale Oladipo and Fatai Adeyanju who are still laying claim to the positions of National Secretary and National Auditor respectively.