The presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 elections is the main cause of the current crisis tearing the party apart, its embattled National Chairman Senator Ali Modu Sheriff said yesterday.
Sheriff, who bared his mind in an interview with African Independent Television (AIT), accused Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and a former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, of plotting to hand the party’s ticket to a prominent leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: “Wike and Secondus are working to give the party ticket in 2019 to a man in APC, a man that is not even bold enough to leave the APC and join us. He was in the PDP before. He was a founding father of the PDP.
“I don’t have to mention him. Secondus himself told me that he and Wike always meet this man to strategise plans on 2019. I told him that it is wrong. If the man is bold enough, let him come and join us now.
“They accused me of working for the APC. How? I have never played games like that. I had formed a party and was the BOT Chairman. I was a presidential candidate, three time senator, Minority Leader. Makarfi worked for the APC in 2015, Ben Obi was Atiku’s Vice Presidential Candidate, and Secondus and Wike are meeting an APC man regularly on how the party will be sold to him.
“Wike is full of arrogance and impunity. He is too small to pocket PDP. I will not allow him. There are people who can carry the flag within the party. PDP will not be sold.”
Sheriff is locked in a battle for the soul of the party with Senator Ahmed Makarfi whose tenure as chairman of the party’s caretaker committee was extended by one year in Port Harcourt last Wednesday.
The Police and Department of State Security (DSS) sealed the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt which was planned for the national convention convened by the Makarfi faction. The security agencies cited an order by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday which restrained the party from proceeding with the convention.
Justice Ibrahim Watila of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on the same day validated the convention while Justice Nwakama Ogbonna of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja declared Sheriff an illegal chairman of the PDP.
Some other members of the Makarfi faction, including former minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, had accused Sheriff of working for the APC.