The sacked factional national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff and his major supporters are shunning the party’s non elective convention scheduled for Abuja today.
The group alleged last night that the party’s leadership under Senator Ahmed Makarfi had sidelined it in the scheme of things.
The Makarfi camp dismissed the allegation and said that many party members hitherto with Sheriff are already in town to be part of today’s proceedings.
Party spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said some prominent members of the Sheriff camp are even in the different committees set up on the convention.
Sheriff and many of his close associates have not shown up at the party’s national secretariat since the July 12 Supreme Court judgment that ousted him.
Explaining the position of the Sheriff’s camp on telephone yesterday, its former deputy national chairman, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said no member of the group was involved in today’s convention.
Another member of the Sheriff camp who did not want to be quoted, said the camp distanced itself from the exercise because of what he called the culture of impunity being foisted on the party.
The source cited the alleged removal of Chief Raymond Dokpesi as chairman of the Publicity Committee of the convention because one of the party’s governors insisted on it.
“How can one explain the decision of the PDP leadership to remove Dokpesi simply because one of the governors does not like his face.This is part of the impunity we are talking about”, the source said.
Reminded that Dokpesi fought on the side of Makarfi and opposed Sheriff during the 14-month leadership crisis, the party chieftain said it did not matter who the victim was.
Makarfi has consistently maintained that the party’s doors remain open to any aggrieved group, including Sheriff’s for reconciliation.
Adeyeye, said that one of the aggrieved groups had approached the court seeking to stop the convention, but that the court refused to grant the request.
The spokesman, who declined to disclose the identity of the particular group, said disclosure was unnecessary because the attempt failed, adding that there were no legal encumbrances in respect of the convention.
”The convention is going to hold legally and constitutionally”, Adeyeye said, but declined to confirm a report that it was one of the groups in the South West that went to court.
He said over 3,000 delegates would be attending the convention, including a large number of Sheriff’s former loyalists.
Adeyeye also reacted to the charges and allegations of corruption against a number of prominent chieftains of the party, particularly former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
He said the party had kept quiet thus far on the multiple allegations of corruption against her because they are nothing but as wild allegations.
He challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to go to court if it has any case against her.
“This is not the way to prosecute anti-corruption war. You go to court if you have any charge against her. It is only the court that can pronounce her guilty.
“If you said you recovered N150 billion, the why is Nigeria in recession? What are you doing with the recovered loot?”
He accused the All Progressives Congress led government of engaging in propaganda.