Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Muhammad Ahmed Makarfi said yesterday in Abuja that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recognised the committee put in place after the aborted national convention of the party in Port Harcourt recently.
Markafi stated this in a veiled reference to declaration by the former chairman of PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, that the caretaker committee was illegal when he led the committee members on a courtesy visit to the caucus of the party at the National Assembly.
He informed the law makers during the courtesy visit that the fact that INEC could invite the committee to a meeting meant that it had gained the recognition of the commission.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), we attended our first official engagement after taking over. It was a meeting convened by INEC. And for us to attend a meeting convened by INEC and make useful contributions, that should tell everybody what that means”, Makarfi said.
Sheriff had in a statement signed by his media adviser, Inwa Bwala described the handing over of the affairs of the party to the caretaker committee as illegal, null and void, claiming to have remained the party’s national chairman.
He stated: “Our attention has been drawn to the activities at the National secretariat of the PDP to the effect that some individuals masquerading as leaders have handed over to Ahmed Mohammed Makarki under a contraption called “caretaker committee.
“We state as a matter of fact that going by proceedings still pending in the courts to the effect that Senator Ali Sheriff remains the National Chairman, whatever transpired was null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
“Sheriff has not mandated anybody, nor was his authority obtained by Uche Secondus, who has been parading himself as acting on behalf of the national chairman”.
Makarfi, however, told the lawmakers that his committee would not do the bidding of any bloc interests within the party, pointing out that the committee’s assignment was to reconcile all aggrieved forces and eventually conduct the national convention.
“I said it yesterday that we are not representing any block of interest, we are representing PDP interest and our doors are open, nobody should sit back thinking that we are likely to do this or not do that we are here for all of you, we are here for all PDP men and women, we are here for Nigerians”, he said.
In a remark during the courtesy visit, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said: “We appeal to you to carry everybody along, let all the Stakeholders be involved to ensure that we are really democratic. Nigeria expects so much from us and we should not disappoint them. We want to assure you of our support, our solidarity.”
According to him, “The task ahead is tough and you have limited time but be rest assured that we will be there for you to make sure you succeed because the foundation you are going to lay now, will determine the future of our party.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio commended members of the committee for not demonstrating the attitude of selfish politicians.
He said: “You told Nigerians unequivocally that you were not elected national chairman but a commiittee set up in line with the constitution of the party. That showed clearly that PDP is a party that believes in the rule of law. The party has the power to set up any committee including the National Working Committee; it can even assign the functions of the National Convention to that committee, which was the case with your committee”.
Earlier, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu had appealed to the caretaker committee to carry every key member of the party along in its assignment, saying, “let all the stakeholders be involved to ensure that we are really democratic”.
“Nigeria expects so much from us and we should not disappoint them. We want to assure you of our support, our solidarity. We know the task ahead is tough and you have limited time but be rest assured that we will be there for you to make sure you succeed because the foundation you are going to lay now, will determine the future of our party”, he said.


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