PDP ex-ministers meet tomorrow on party leadership crisis

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Group urges Modu Sheriff to resign
MEMBERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who served as ministers from 1999 till 2015 have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow in Abuja to discuss the crisis rocking the party.

Secretary of the PDP Ministers Forum and former Minister of State for the FCT under President Goodluck Jonathan, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, in a notice of the meeting said the meeting was to “deliberate on the concerns arising from recent developments in the PDP and to chart a way forward.”

Those invited to the meeting are members who served as ministers from 1999 till 2015 “who are still members of the party.” Meanwhile, opposition to the emergence of former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, as Chairman of the PDP gathered momentum yesterday, as a new body within the party, PDP Rescue Group, called on the former governor to step down honourably in the interest of the party and the nation.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Chairman of the group, Ambassador Wilberforce Juta, said Sherrif could not continue as chairman of the party because it was “evident that party members nationwide overwhelmingly rejected his imposition” on the party as its chairman.

The group noted that the decision of the National Executive Council of the party to appoint Sheriff as the National Chairman of the PDP is “against the will and wish of the generality of faithful members” of the party.

According to him, with what has happened to the party culminating in its loss of power after ruling for 16 years, what the party needs now is a reposition while working hard to avoid the mistakes of the past that threw the party out of power.

He said, among others: “The manner of Senator Sherrif’s emergence had unleashed unnecessary controversy within the party and beyond. We assert that there cannot be any shortcut to the truth. Part of the derailment from the values of our party over the years is the elevation of imposition over internal democracy as happened in the present appointment of the national chairman. 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.

“Given that PDP is now a major opposition party, it is the duty of every PDP member to ensure that party leaders possess high integrity and leadership skills. To raise a leader who is lacking in integrity and skills is to throw the party and the nation into inefficiency, indiscipline, disorderliness and even chaos. Sadly, the overwhelming reaction of Nigerians to Senator Sheriff’s emergence, especially PDP members and leaders, is that of disappointment.

“It is therefore critical, if PDP must come back to national reckoning, that we remodel its leadership on the platform of honesty as required by the party manifesto. To this end, we call on all party organs to rise to the challenge by insisting on the reversal of what is clearly a crude imposition of Senator Sheriff on the party. The party organs – the state and zonal chapters, Board of Trustees, National Caucus, the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee; and pressure groups such as the National Assembly Caucus, PDP ministers Forum, PDP Governors Forum, the G-84 as well as PDP leaders past and present – should commence the search for persons with high integrity, strategic insight and fear of God Almighty to lead the party.”

While calling for early congresses and national convention to elect party leaders to replace the current leadership whose tenure expires in March, the group warned that “under no guise should the tenure of the current leadership of the party be extended if we must make the needed fresh beginning.”

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