By Martins Odeh
Bayelsa governor Seriake Dickson and Chairman of the PDP Reconciliation Committee, has called on the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee to step down in the interest of the party.
Dickson told journalists on Sunday in Abuja that the stage was now set for all the chieftains and elders of the party to impress it on the caretaker committee to cede its authority to the Ali Modu Sheriff-led leadership.
“When the idea of making Sheriff the National Chairman of our party was hatched, I personally kicked against it.
“ I also turned down all the overtures from Sheriff because I did not believe in him and what he did.
“So now, my position is that we have to move forward. I am a politician of conviction, I am not a politician of convenience and I am not a typical Nigerian politician,’’ Dickson said.
He said the party had come to a threshold when the right political decision should be taken to end the prolonged crisis.
“The Makarfi – led caretaker committee should remember that it was a brain child of the majority of party members including I at a convention in Port Harcourt.
“I and up to 80 per cent of the population of the PDP members were 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,’’ he said.
He also said: “ We had expected that the Court of Appeal would give us judgment, but it rather upheld Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.
“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 on how we shall move forward to Sheriff.
“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 would not accept correspondences from Makarfi any longer because his business in the party has ended,’’ he said.
Dickson said Sheriff had always been disposed to political settlement of the crisis, adding that Makarfi had remained adamant.
“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.
Dickson said the template to ensure the conduct of the party’s National Convention in June was uppermost, adding that Sheriff was positively disposed to it.
“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,” he said.
On whether it was right to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal, Dickson said an amicable resolution of the crisis remained the best option.
“Yes, we said they can go on to appeal but without prejudice to the Supreme Court case; let us intensify and fast track the peace moves,’’ he said. (NAN)