Leadership crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took another twist yesterday as embattled factional national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff took over the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.
This development came barely one week after members of the party’s caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi took charge of the affairs of the party.
As early as 7.30am, Modu Sheriff, in company of Prof Adewale Oladipo and Alhaji Adeyanju Adewole, national secretary and national auditor, respectively, and over 150 supporters in branded T-shirts, stormed the party secretariat.
However, the police barred Sheriff and his team from gaining entrance into the premises and barricaded all the roads leading to the secretariat, but the embattled factional chairman’s convoy managed to reach the main gate before the police stopped him.
His attempt to persuade the policemen to open the gate fell on deaf ears and he had to put a telephone call to the Inspector General of Police.
Speaking to newsmen, Sheriff lamented that he was surprised by the police action more so that the court ordered the Inspector General of Police to provide him with adequate security while resuming office.
According to him, “The party belongs to Nigerians and not the Nigeria Police or the people that were handpicked at Port-Harcourt by Gov Wike and his cohorts as the man who purported to be acting as the national chairman of the party. One thing remains: there was no convention in Port-Harcourt because I cancelled it.”
Shortly after, Modu Sheriff drove out for a meeting with IGP while his supporters stayed put in front of the secretariat.
Around 12 noon he came back but was again stopped by the police from entering the premises.
Leader of the police squad, Mr. Bala Ciroma, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, told Sheriff that they could not open the gate for him because of the large crowd in branded uniform that accompanied him to the secretariat.
Thereafter, Modu Sheriff called one Uche and directed him to disperse the large number of youths.
But the crowd remained and Modu Sheriff directed his aides to enter their vehicles, and they drove off in long convey, creating impression he was going back home.
The trick worked as the crowd dispersed after the convoy drove off.
However, it was gathered that they drove to Legacy House annex of PDP and stayed for over one hour before coming back to the secretariat.
Around 1.23pm, Modu Sheriff and his aides were eventually allowed by the police to gain access into the premises.
He was also accompanied by a retinue of operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, and anti-riot policemen.
Addressing journalists after taking over the premises, Modu Sheriff said he stayed away from the premises as a result of the interim court order that barred him from parading himself as the national chairman of the party.
He said the two-week interim order expired on June 9 and he was now back to continue his leadership of the party.
“Now that the ex-parte order given in Port Harcourt has since lapsed on the 9th of June and has not been renewed or extended, it is now my pleasure and privilege to inform you that I have fully resumed as the one and only national chairman of our great party, the PDP.
“I have all the while kept away from the office in strict compliance with the ex-parte order of the Port Harcourt Federal High Court which lapsed on the 9th of June, and not because I sanction the illegalities being committed by some few members of our party.”
Modu Sheriff further added that he was never interested in becoming the PDP national chairman but “they begged me to become the chairman.”
He vowed that he would remain as the national chairman of the party till 2018.
Reacting to the takeover of the secretariat, PDP new spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye said members of the caretaker committee and other leaders of the party were meeting over the development and would make public their position today.

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