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PDP may hold convention in Abuja, Ondo crisis rages


Secretary of Ondo State PDP Electoral Committee, Bernard Mikko; factional party governorship candidate for the state, Jimoh Ibrahim and leader of the Makarfi-led state party Governorship Primary Committee, Ali Gulak, at the Ondo PDP primaries held in Ibadan …yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Secretary of Ondo State PDP Electoral Committee, Bernard Mikko; factional party governorship candidate for the state, Jimoh Ibrahim and leader of the Makarfi-led state party Governorship Primary Committee, Ali Gulak, at the Ondo PDP primaries held in Ibadan …yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

• Akure court bars Sheriff’s faction from primaries
• Group defies order, picks Jimoh Ibrahim in Ibadan
• FCT court cancels exercise by Makarfi’s camp

The prospect of an early end to the leadership crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) further receded yesterday.Two courts gave conflicting orders on the factional primaries to pick the party’s candidate for the November governorship election in Ondo State. Besides, the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) yesterday advised the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee to hold the next national convention of the party in Abuja

There is confusion in the factions of Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff as the two conflicting court orders barred both camps from asserting themselves.While a court in Akure, Ondo barred the Modu Sheriff’s faction led by Jimoh Ibrahim in the state from conducting its planned primary election in Ibadan, Oyo State yesterday, another court in Abuja cancelled the exercise conducted last week Monday by the Markarfi’s faction.

Justice Omolara Adejumo of the Ondo State High Court, Akure, at exactly 9:10a.m. yesterday issued an order restraining the Sheriff’s group, which had moved its primary election to Ibadan for fear of being attacked, from undertaking any other exercise outside the one already conducted by the Clement Faboyede-led state congress which produced Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as candidate.

She also ordered the aspirants, Jimoh Ibrahim, Chief Sola Ebiseni, Bamiduro Dada, Niran Sule-Akinsuyi and Mrs. Abiye Ademuyegun from presenting themselves for any such parallel primary election.

At the primary election of the Sheriff’s faction conducted yesterday in Ibadan, Jimoh Ibrahim emerged the governorship candidate of the group. The exercise which began on Sunday evening at the Banquet Hall of Premier Hotel, Ibadan, had 560 accredited voters. Ibrahim polled 502 votes, his sole contender, Mr. Olusola Ebiseni polled 41 votes while 17 votes were declared invalid.

The chairman of the primary election committee and former Political Adviser to erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Ahmed Gulak who announced Ibrahim as the winner said that the party had displayed that democracy is about the people.Three candidates withdrew from the primaries to support Ibrahim to emerge as the winner.

In his address, Ibrahim said: “We must all come together to rescue our state from total destruction. Governor Olusegun Mimiko has collected over N1trillion and has destroyed the state “I have managed over 8,000 workers, 16 companies and have earned two national honours . I promise job creation, peace and economic emancipation.”Ibrahim lauded the delegates for their support and assured them that he would deliver on his promises to the people.

In attendance were the National Vice Chairman of the Sheriff-led faction, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe and the South West Chairman, Otemolu Adepegba, among others.Reacting to the development in Ondo State, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said that the electoral body did not monitor the primaries of the Sheriff’s faction.

Oyekanmi said that the INEC monitored the primaries by the Makarfi’s faction because there was a superior court order recognising the Makarfi’s faction at the time. In a communique read by its National Chairman, Sen. Walid Jubrin, shortly after its meeting that lasted for about four hours in Abuja, the BoT also advised that a new convention planning committee should be constituted by the caretaker committee. The Planning Committee, the BoT said, should be approved by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

The planning committee of the last convention of the party in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was headed by Nyesom Wike. Sheriff has given, as part of the conditions for resolving the crisis in the party, the removal of Wike as head of the convention planning committee. Sheriff had also demanded that the convention should be shifted from Port Harcourt to Abuja.

The BoT communique read in part:
“* That the next convention should be held in Abuja.“To ensure a credible, transparent, free and fair convention, a new Convention Planning Committee should be constituted by the National Caretaker Committee and approved by NEC.”

Walid added that the BoT should facilitate the raising of adequate funds for the party, even as he urged the board reconciliation committee, headed by Prof. Jerry Gana, to continue with all good efforts for reconciliation. Passing a vote of confidence on the National Caretaker Committee, the BoT charged the committee to as soon as possible convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee to accordingly approve proposals for moving the party forward.

Meanwhile, former Special Adviser to erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kinsley Kuku, has denied supporting the Sheriff’s faction of the PDP.Kuku declared this yesterday, in a telephone interview with journalists from the United States (U.S.).

He denied being part of the crisis tearing the party apart both at the state and national levels, especially the internal crises rocking the PDP in the state ahead of the November 26 governorship election. Kuku, who was reacting to a report that he had dumped Governor Mimiko’s camp for Sheriff, described it as unfounded.

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