PDP crisis: Sheriff, Makarfi bicker over attempts to sack secretariat workers
The Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are locked in a fresh face-off, this time over the planned recruitment of staff for the party by the Sheriff faction.
The Makari camp is resisting the planned recruitment.
All the staff at the PDP national secretariat are refusing to work with Sheriff.
They have rebuffed all overtures from the faction to return to work, preferring to work for the Makarfi camp.
Consequently, the Sheriff faction recently invited applications from interested Nigerians to come and fill vacant administrative positions at the party’s national secretariat.
Makarfi has protested that the move negates the agreement brokered between the two camps on Thursday by Governor Seriake Dickson.
However, in a telephone chat with our correspondent yesterday, Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh said the said recruitment exercise has nothing to do with the peace deal.
He said: “The people employed at the secretariat staff have since left the party.
“We did not sack them. Rather they, on their own, went on AWOL (Absence Without Official Leave).
“We have asked them to resume duties but they have refused. They said they are waiting for the judgment of the Supreme Court but we cannot continue to wait for them.
“They have become a clog in the wheel of progress of the party.
“We are going ahead to replace them. Makarfi should respect himself and stay out of this because it has nothing to do with him.
“We are the ones running the party and they are supposed to be there as employees of the party. The recruitment exercise does not in any way affect the peace deal brokered by Governor Dickson.”
But in a swift reaction, the spokesman for the Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who also spoke with our correspondent on telephone, said the move constituted a breach of the peace agreement.
According to him, the staff have been working with the Caretaker Committee and will continue to do so until the Supreme Court makes a final pronouncement on the leadership of the party.
He warned Sheriff against heightening tension in the party, adding that one of the major planks of the political solution to the crisis was to maintain the status quo in respect of the secretariat staff.
Adeyeye said, “The staff are working with us in line with the deal brokered by Governor Dickson and nobody can replace them.
“We are all waiting for the outcome of the Supreme Court on the matter because they were working with us before the February 17 judgement of the Appeal Court.
“Why should they go and work with Sheriff while the case is still pending before the Supreme Court? If you are looking for political solution, then you should not heighten tension.
“The right thing to do while looking for political solution is to maintain the status quo. You don’t go out heightening tension when you are seeking political solution.
“Sheriff and his group must keep to the terms of the agreement for peace to reign because we are going to resist any attempt to victimise the workers”.
Adeyeye had, in a statement on Friday, that there is no accord in place between the Makarfi faction and the Sheriff camp.
He said the only area of agreement is that the two sides will withhold fire in the media for now.
He said reports that they have reached a ‘political solution’ is not true, stressing that they only agreed before the Governor Dickson’s reconciliation committee to “stop further media attacks on officers, elders and other stakeholders of the PDP across the internal political divide.”
He added: “For the record, the agreement was not a political solution but rather an understanding reached urging representatives of ‘the key actors’ from both groups not to dissipate energy amongst themselves but to focus on how to unite as a formidable force capable of re-gaining power from the failed All Progressive Congress (APC)-led government in the 2019.
“The agreement also implores both parties to desist from making public derogatory remarks against each other that could cause inflammatory reactions capable of dragging the party to the mud.”
Adeyeye added that the national caretaker committee and all the organs of the party are working with the reconciliation committee to reach a lasting political solution.