Jonathan ends political exile, meets with PDP BoT •Ignore Aug 17 national convention, Sheriff tells INEC •Don’t listen to him, Makarfi tells commission

FORMER president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has apparently ended his political hiatus to wade into the ongoing leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The former president was scheduled to meet with the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the opposition party in Abuja on Wednesday night.

Since losing power, Jonathan had refrained from associating openly with his party, after initially announcing that he would take a one year break from politics.

Nearly 14 months after his ouster from office, he had decided to meet with the “conscience of the party,” while the leadership crisis had led to emergence of two factions of the party.

It is not clear whether he had reached out to the national caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi or claimant to the office of the national chairman, Senator Ali Sheriff.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff-led faction of the PDP has urged the commission  to ignore a letter by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the party, informing it of the proposed August 17 national convention.

This came as the Makarfi-led committee pleaded with the commission not to listen to Sheriff and his cohorts.

In the letter by Sheriff, addressed to the chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, dated August 2 and made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Wednesday, he reminded the commission that the Makarfi-led caretaker committee “is illegal and has no powers under the PDP constitution to convene the party’s national convention.”

He insisted that the only body that “can call for and ratify activities culminating to a national convention of PDP is the National Executive Committee (NEC) headed by him, as enshrined in Article 31 (2)(a) of the \constitution of the PDP.”

Sheriff, therefore, urged the commission and the general public to note that “the PDP is not planning any national convention as he has not been so authorised by the National Executive Committee.”

In its own letter, entitled: “Re: Senator Sheriff’s letter to INEC: The Law and the Facts,” the Makarfi-led committee urged the commission not to listen to Sheriff and his cohorts, saying the letter “belongs to the garbage bin.”

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the committee declared that Sheriff “is merely acting the script of his pay masters,” while assuring that “ the caretaker committee will continue with its dogged determination to organise the best national convention in the history of our great party.”

When contacted, Mr Nick Dansang, Deputy Director in charge of Voters Education and Publicity in INEC, said “Senator  Sheriff wrote the commission a number of letters and  in one of them, he pleaded with the commission not to recognise the candidate forwarded by the Makarfi-led faction of the PDP.”