The chairman of the reconciliation committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bayelsa State governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, has said the party is bigger than Senators Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja at the weekend, Governor Dickson said the only political solution to the party’s self-afflicted crisis is the exit of Sheriff-led National Working Committee and the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee, which was possible through a national convention.
He noted that the ideal thing to do is for the Makarfi’s committee to relinquish power to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in line with the recent judgment of Court of Appeal.
According to him, the party had come to the point that the right political decision must be taken to end the lingering crisis.
“All these characters blackmailing Sheriff today were the same people who went to Port Harcourt twice to elect. I take my political beliefs very serious; my political beliefs are not for sale.
“80 per cent of the population of the PDP members and I are for Makarfi, but the unfolding events have compelled us to adopt a political resolution instead of embarking on further bickering.
“As politicians and democrats, we must first obey the constitution and all other instruments of civil rule and which includes obeying the judiciary. Let me add that I believe that the national convention of a political party, as the supreme organ of the party, has capacity to dissolve everybody, to sack everybody; which was what we attempted to do at the last national convention.
“Whether anybody likes Sheriff’s face or not, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee was stripped of its authority to manage the affairs of the party the day the judgment was delivered.
“It was in the spirit to honour the court’s pronouncement that the party’s reconciliation committee that I chair submitted its report to Sheriff on how we can move forward.
“So the reconciliation committee which I chair met several times to review our position in the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
“The reality is that Makarfi no longer has the legal backing to carry on with the task of managing the party.
“We are aware of this quagmire, and therefore, the reconciliation committee went ahead to formulate a realistic, practical and strategic response to this reality because in the end it would be to the benefit of PDP,’’ he said.
“In fact, as it stands now, Sheriff has started addressing issues within the party. He is the one sending names of party members contesting elections in various states.
“If there is going to be a by-election in Kaduna today, Makarfi’s home state, INEC will not accept correspondences from Makarfi any longer because his business in the party has ended,’’ he added.
Governor Dickson also called on members and elders of the PDP to prevail on the Makarfi-led caretaker committee to cede authority to the Sheriff-led leadership in the overall interest of the party.
“My position is that we have to move forward. After losing governorship elections in Edo and Ondo as a result of the crisis, my position is that we need a fresh start, a new beginning with fresh faces. I am a politician of conviction, I am not a politician of convenience and I am not a typical Nigerian politician.
“The Makarfi-led caretaker committee should remember that it was a brain child of the majority of party members, including me, at a convention in Port Harcourt.
“When the idea of making Sheriff the national chairman of our party was hatched, I never supported it; not for any personal reasons. I also turned down all the overtures from Sheriff,” he said.
Dickson noted that the template to ensure the conduct of the party’s national convention in June is of great importance, adding that Sheriff has accepted the committee’s report.
“So if you said you are passionate about the survival of the party, then you should be willing to sacrifice your ambition.
“The crisis has caused us a lot, our elected officials, top notch members are decamping to even lesser parties.
“The party continues to fail Nigerians because the crisis has so far prevented it from being a sound credible opposition even in the face of bad governance in the country right now,” Dickson said.