Makarfi, Sheriff’s joint peace committee emerges this week

FOLLOWING the recent truce reached by the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi and claimant to the office of the national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, both camps are working towards raising a joint reconciliation committee by the end of this week to fashion out modalities to lay the long-running leadership crisis to rest.

Makarfi confirmed this in a phone interview  with the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja on Monday, saying that his consultation among party stakeholders was expected to end soon to enable him to submit names from his camp for the committee.

He said his consultation task was not straight forward as he had to seek input from all the organs of the party including the Board of Trustees (BoT), PDP state governors and other stakeholders unlike Sheriff who he observed does not need to hold extensive consultations before forwarding his names.

The former Kaduna State governor said he was committed to the reconciliation to restore the party to vibrancy as he noted that he had nothing personal concerning the office of the national chairman.

He said: “Our consultations should end this week. We hope to set up the reconciliation committee by the end of this week.

“You know, I have to consult with party stakeholders, BoT, state governors and others. He (Sheriff) doesn’t have to do that to send the names of his members.

“But we are hopeful that by the end of this week, we will have the committee.”

Hopes were raised last Tuesday when both factions of the party agreed to bury the hatchet and work together.

The two factional leaders had resolved to reunite the party to enable it to perform its role as a viable opposition platform.

Both factions appeared at a joint news briefing in Abuja where they disclosed the new understanding.

They had promised to embark on extensive consultations with their respective loyalists to fashion out a way to cement the new unity after about four months of bitter rivalry.

The secretary of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi and the acting Deputy National Chairman of the Sheriff faction, Cairo Ojougboh, jointly addressed the press conference where they announced the new peace initiative.

Ojougboh, who read the resolutions of the two factions, had said that they met and took “a holistic review of the state of affairs” of PDP.

The statement, which was jointly signed by Makarfi and Sheriff, said the resolution was without prejudice to the outstanding matters in court.

It said: “This is without prejudice to all outstanding matters in court. At a meeting held this morning between the two of us, a holistic review of the state of affairs of our great party, PDP, was deliberated upon.”

In reviewing the crisis that has engulfed our party since the loss of the 2015 general election after 15years of uninterrupted leadership at the centre, it became obvious to both of us as principal actors that it is time to heal the wounds and bring about a united, focused and constructive opposition party that can bring sanity to our democratic process, bringing relief to the teeming supporters of our great party and to the benefit of our great country.”

Based on these, it said the parties had agreed consult widely with all relevant organs of the party.

They have therefore set up a joint committee that will carry out a holistic reconciliation of all aggrieved segments of our party across the country and in Diaspora and also pursue the vision of the founding fathers of our great party.

While noting that details of all the agreement will be made public soonest, the factions called on all party members to remain calm and refrain from any actions and utterances that could further bring about divisions or dispute the party.