National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, yesterday in Abuja, declared that his emergence as the new leader of the party was by divine intervention.
Speaking at the party’s national secretariat when Forum of Former Members of the House of Representatives paid him solidarity visit, Modu Sheriff said he did not lobby for the position when party statutory organs were searching for Adamu Muazu’s successor.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you will all agree with me that at no time did I solicit to be the chairman of the party but destiny has brought that upon me and l am not shying away from that responsibility.
“I will do my best within the period left and as it is humanly possible to complete the convention and hand over to an elected chairman.”
Modu Sheriff said he has set machinery in motion to consult with the statutory organs of the party for the conduct of hitch-free and credible congresses and national convention.
He noted that the events of the past few weeks has reawakened PDP members and made them to take greater interest in what is happening in the party.
“The events of the last one month in our great party have been very interesting and revealing, particularly as it has awakened the consciousness of the generality of members of the Peoples Democratic Party, Nigerians and the international community after our last general election.
“My joy today is that PDP is active once again as a result of my emergence as the Chairman of our great party to the glory of God.”
While assuring PDP members that he will not betray the confidence reposed on him by the leaders and members of the party, the national chairman reassured them that he will not stay in office one day beyond what the constitution of the party provides.
“I, Ali Modu Sheriff, a man of character and integrity, one who would live up to expectation and his promises, hereby announce to the world that under no circumstances would I stay in office beyond the period prescribed by the Constitution of our party, the PDP.
“In the light of the above therefore, I will announce the Convention Congress Planning Committee after due consultation with all organs of the party within few days from today and I assure all faithful members of the party that I would do everything within my powers to ensure that I complete the processes of congress before the expiration of my time in office,” he said.
In his response, the leader of the delegation of the Former House of Representatives members and former Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, said they were elated that an off-shoot of the National Assembly is presiding over the affairs of the party.
He declared that they are very conscious of the fact that this is a very trying period for PDP members as they never expected what is happening to their members in recent times.
“A number of our leaders are being witch-hunted and going through persecution.”
They expressed confidence in the ability of Modu Sheriff to reposition the party and conduct credible congresses and convention.
Vows to stop intimidation of members
Meanwhile, Senator Modu Sheriff has vowed to stop the intimidation of members of the party, allegedly by the ruling All Progressives Party, APC.
Modu Sheriff made the declaration yesterday when the Benue State chapter of the party, led by its chairman, Dr Emmanuel Agbo, paid him a courtesy visit, an occasion which they used to protest the killing of hundreds of defenceless indigenes of four communities in Agatu, Benue State.
The state chapter of the party alleged that the killings were politically motivated over former Senate President, David Mark’s victory in the re-run election.
Initial reports had attributed the killings to clashes between Fulani herdsmen and indigenes of communities who are mainly farmers.
Speaking during the courtesy call, the chairman of Benue PDP, Dr Agbo, said the Agatu massacre was carried out shortly after Senator David Mark of PDP was declared winner of the re-run election.
He said the people of the affected communities and victims of the massacre are strong supporters of the PDP.
According to him, prior to the re-run election, senior members of the APC (names withheld) “led expeditions of violence, intimidation, harassment and electoral malpractice against the people of the Zone.”
While citing several instances of the violence unleashed on PDP members, Dr Agbo said “several members of our party were beaten, severely injured and maimed while also having their properties worth millions of naira destroyed. It is noteworthy that in spite of these acts of brigandage, the people of Benue South stood their ground and voted massively to elect Senator David Mark as their Senator.
“Mr. Chairman, we have also witnessed massive attacks on several communities in Agatu LGA of state that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and property worth billions of naira. We are informed that during these attacks, which have been ongoing for the past three days, an helicopter flew over the area providing supplies to the attackers.
“We are surprised that such high level support was available to people who attack and kill members of these communities in such a brazen manner.
“While we are unable to confirm, we have reason to believe that this recent attack on the Agatu people was punishment for their resolve to vote overwhelmingly tor Senator Mark.
“Whatever the case, we are disturbed at the silence at the APC led Federal and State governments to the suffering and plights of the Agatu people.
“We are concerned that these killings have gone on unabated for several months resulting in thousands of deaths and destruction of property worth billions of naira without any attempt at a solution from the Federal or State governments,” he said.
Responding, Senator Modu Sheriff vowed that he will explore every legal and constitutional means to ensure PDP members and their supporters are no longer intimidated or threatened by their opponents.
He promised to quickly take up the report of the violence in Benue state with all the appropriate authorities in Abuja, including the Inspector General of Police.
Senator Sheriff also lampooned the APC for holding rallies after the PDP candidate, Senator David Mark, was declared winner of the election with over 10, 000 votes.

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