Mull out-of-court settlement
PEOPLES Democratic Party, PDP, caucus in the Senate, yesterday, resolved to meet the 11 governors elected on the platform of the party and the legally recognised National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, with a view to considering out-of- court settlement. The caucus, which belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the party, disclosed that it received an invitation letter from Sheriff, but decided to meet with the governors for deliberation and possible ways for out-of-court settlement of the crisis rocking the party. Briefing journalists after their meeting over the invitation letter, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said the PDP senators felt that before honouring the invitation sent to them by Sheriff, there is need to meet governors on the platform of the party for wrong meanings not be read into it. According to him, the caucus aside considering it very necessary to get the governors informed about the invitation from Sheriff, also felt that doing so, would provide the needed opportunity for both the caucus and governors to meet on possible out-of-court settlement. He said: “We held this meeting because there was a letter from Sen. Sheriff to the caucus and so we had to meet first to know whether this is the right time, whether the meeting is right or not and what we agreed is that let the leadership of the party know first, thereafter we will meet with the Sheriff group then the
Makarfi group and after that, the BoT. We are taking these steps to avoid being seen as taking sides. “We also said if it is possible that while the judicial processes are on, that as a caucus we should also pursue the alternative platform of having out of court settlement and this can only start with us meeting with our governors and thereafter meeting with leadership of the party, the two groups and all the other strata of the party, that is the Board of Trustees, former governors, the National Assembly members and of course the National Caretaker Committee, the recently pronounced Chairman by the Court of Appeal so that we can spearhead a major political turnaround that will involve the whole stakeholders and bring holistic peace to the party.
“If we succeed in doing so, this could even be a major way out instead of continuous processes in court. We will pursue that option without prejudice to the ongoing court processes until we can arrive at a solution where we could at the end of the day use what we have with the totality of all agreeing as consent judgment”. He declared that the party still remains strong in the Senate despite recent defections of some of its senators to the APC and assured that its fortunes would turn around for better soonest. “I don’t see any “defection’’ happening to PDP on the floor of the Senate again. I only see interest playing out. PDP in the Senate is still very strong and very robust. We started with 49 senators and we are still well over 44 and we are still going to get more”.