The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and the party’s factional National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, met in Abuja on Tuesday to resolve the lingering crisis in the party.
It was learnt that the meeting between the two PDP leaders, laying claim to the headship of the former ruling party, was aimed at seeking an end the leadership crisis in the party.
It was gathered that the meeting was aimed at agreeing on the composition of members of a committee, comprising members from the two factions, who would meet and agree on terms for resolving the crisis.
In company with some of his aides, Makarfi was said to have taken the initiative by visiting Sheriff at Sheriff’s office, located at the Maitama District area of Abuja.
The spokesperson for the Makarfi group, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, was said to be one of those who accompanied the national caretaker chairman to the meeting.
Sheriff, who received the visitors, was joined by the Deputy National Chairman of his faction, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, among other members.
The meeting, which was meant to be a secret, was a follow-up to the press conference addressed by the two leaders last week in Abuja, during which they said they had agreed to find a solution to the leadership tussle in the party.
Our correspondent gathered that both Makarfi and Sheriff asked members of their factions not to divulge the issues discussed at the Tuesday’s meeting to journalists.
“We have been asked not to speak with any journalists on the outcome of the meeting. Please, don’t quote me,” one of those who attended the meeting told our correspondent on condition of anonymity.
It was, however, gathered that the meeting, which lasted for about one hour, agreed to set up the committee that would discuss the terms of agreement between the two groups.
A source at the meeting, who spoke with The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said each faction had agreed that names of members of the committee should be made public before the end of the week.
The source added, “It was a frank meeting, which was attended by leaders from the two groups.
“We resolved our desire to find a political solution to the crisis instead of waiting for courts to impose decisions on us.
“This is because we know, as politicians, how to return to the courts to ask for one relief or the other in order to derail the party.
“We have therefore decided that each group should submit names of those who will sit to mediate in the crisis and draw up terms of agreement.”
He said it was obvious that all the governors of the party had agreed to the peace move that was meant to end the crisis.
“Only two governors, one from the South-West and another from the South-South, are against this initiative; but they will still join us,” the source added.
There were fears in some quarters that Sheriff might impose very hard conditions on the party.
The former governor of Borno State had given the reconciliation committee, set up by the party’s Board of Trustees, conditions which were said to have been difficult to meet before the botched national convention.
Apart from demanding that he should be returned and recognised as the national chairman, he also demanded that his faction should nominate the chairman and majority of the members of the convention planning committee.
But this time round, Sheriff said he was determined to find political solutions to the crisis in the party.
Spokesperson for his faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko, told our correspondent on Tuesday that the former governor believed that the party would achieve peace now.
Mikko stated, “Sheriff is inclined to political solutions to resolve the PDP crisis because economic depression can’t be handled by rookies.
“The All Progressives Congress has not really come to terms with governance and the members are rookies. They need serious apprenticeship to get things right.
“The basic objective of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is to reposition the PDP, remove impunity and give the party back to the people. In this regard, the political system will be strengthened for national development where political parties will form government and not otherwise.
“No reconciliation or political solution will be sought outside the PDP constitution and the rule of law.”