The embattled Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff, has apologised to aggrieved leaders of the party over statements credited to him by his aides.
Mr. Sheriff offered the apology at a media briefing in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital on Sunday.
“As a well cultured and astute politician, I would never make any comment that would ridicule the party,” he said.
A former Minister of Information and a founding member of the PDD, Jerry Gana, had last week led a group of other leading members to announce the takeover of the party from Mr. Sheriff.
Mr. Gana, who appeared to head a group within the PDP called “Concerned Stakeholders,” met on Thursday at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja.
After the meeting, which was co-chaired by a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu, a former Minister of Education, Tunde Adeniran, and media mogul, Raymond Dokpesi, a communiqué was released rejecting the decision of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, to extend the tenure of Mr. Sheriff to May 21, 2016.
The group said as far they were concerned, the tenure of the National Working Committee, NWC, expired on March 24, 2016.
The group said a national convention should have been held to either elect a new NWC or approve the composition of a caretaker committee.
In a swift reaction, Mr. Sheriff’s aide, Inuwa Bwala, told journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja that the Jerry Gana group was out “to cause mischief”.
He also accused the group of coming up with gimmicks to divert attention from the effects of what they did in the past leading to the squandering of the fortunes of the party.
“Unfortunately, among such groups are self-styled elders and stakeholders led by Professor Jerry Gana. I have seen him sweating on television, playing with language but at the end of the day saying nothing.
“I want to specifically say we kept sealed lips about some of the activities of this man believing that we could still find a rendezvous at which we could work together for the progress of the PDP. I must say, and there are witnesses that this is one character that attempts to play a role in every government since the time of the military,” Mr. Bwala said.
He also accused Mr. Gana of collecting a loan of N500 million on behalf of the party but which was not accounted for, threatening to drag the former minister before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
But while addressing journalists in Jalingo, Mr. Sheriff said it was not in his character to join issues with highly respected elders of the party.
He denied ever authorising his aides or political associates to react to issues raised by aggrieved elders of the party.
Mr. Sheriff said that the aggrieved members of the party reserved the right to complain about issues affecting the party which they considered inimical to the progress of the PDP.
He, therefore, urged any aggrieved members to bury the hatchet and join hands with the present leadership to rebuild the party and restore the confidence of Nigerians in it.
He also noted that the PDP as the main opposition party in the country could not afford to have a divided house and appealed to members to work for the unity of the party at all times.
He explained that the present leadership of the party was poised to lend a listening ear to all shades of opinions with a view to strengthening it to face the challenges ahead.
He maintained that the battle for 2019 general elections had started in earnest, adding that the party could not afford to remain divided if the desired goal was to be achieved.
“Under our leadership and the support and encouragement of stakeholders and supporters, PDP will definitely bounce back in 2019,” Mr. Sheriff said.
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