THE court ruling of Thursday is the latest in the lingering leadership crisis that has threatened to cripple the former ruling party ever since it left power in May 2015, leading to the resignation of its national chairman, Dr Adamu Mu’azu.
Though his deputy, Prince Uche Secondus, took over the chairmanship post in acting capacity, agitation followed in the North-East, which posited it was the rightful zone to provide a replacement for Mu’azu to serve out his tenure which was supposed to end in February 2016.
Former Special Adviser to the president on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, approached a high court in Abuja and obtained a ruling which ordered Secondus to vacate the post to pave way for a North-East PDP member to assume the post.
Adamawa State-born Gulak subsequently attempted to seize the national chairman’s office by force before the National Executive Committee (NEC), the Board of Trustees (BoT) and national caucus of the party led a search for a another party chairman from that zone.
A lot of candidates went through elections at the zonal level, but they were all ignored on the ground that there was no consensus among the North-East politicians.
That created room for former Borno State governor, Senator Sheriff, to emerge as the favourite candidate of the state governors.
Sheriff’s appointment was ratified by the NEC of the party, which also gave him three months within which to conduct a national convention to elect new national leadership of the party.
But NEC’s decision to zone the national chairmanship post to the North-East and with Sheriff emerging as the sole candidate from the zone, riled many members of the PDP who saw him as an outsider.
The aggrieved members coalesced under the name of Concerned PDP Stakeholders and slated a parallel convention for May 21, 2016, the same day the party had scheduled its national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
However, a few days before the convention, Sheriff, working with former national secretary and former national auditor of the party, Wale Oladipo and Adewole Adeyanju, respectively, obtained an order from a Lagos court barring the conduct of election into the offices of the national chairman, national secretary and the national auditor.
Sheriff, who was present in Port Harcourt, hurriedly announced the cancellation of the convention when he was asked to step down from the contest.
In deference to the order, the convention did not conduct the elections.
But through resolutions of the delegates, the convention dissolved the National Working Committee (NWC) led by Sheriff and set up a national caretaker committee headed by former Kaduna State governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Sheriff rejected the outcome of the convention and had maintained his claim to the office of the national chairman since then, effectively creating two factions which had been in and out of different courts, obtaining conflicting rulings on their status.