As the leadership tussle in the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) continues to brew, the embattled national chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, has said that he will not heed the call by governors Nyesom Wike, Ayo Fayose, and a group of ex-ministers from the party that he should resign his position.
He made this position clear while addressing the media in Abuja on Sunday night.
Sheriff said that those calling for his resignation were the same people who came to him pleading that he should steer the affairs of the party as national chairman, adding that in the constitution of the party, there is nothing like ex-ministers’ forum.
He said that he emerged the national chairman of the party through due process, which involved a transparent election, hence, there was no point joining issues with those calling for his resignation.
The national chairman of the PDP said in as much as he no longer wished to complete the tenure prescribed for him in the party’s constitution due the arguments over the leadership of the party, he must ensure that he organizes a national convention for the party in which a fresh set of leaders acceptable to all members of the party will emerge before bowing out of office.
He said that he has spoken with a lot of PDP governors after the Appeal Court judgement, and they were all in consonance with him on how best to move the opposition party forward and ensure that the PDP reclaims the dominant position it occupied in the country’s political space in 1999.
Sheriff said: “I want to assure you that I am not resigning for anybody. The truth remains that I did not seek the job of PDP national chairman.
“Governor Nyesom Wike was among the people that approached me to lead the Party. Therefore, whatever circumstances that made him to turn around and make all the statements he has made to the media about me, I will not join issues with him, because my records can speak for itself.
“I have a lot of respect for Governor Wike. For the fact that he came with others to approach me to lead the party to this level; I will not join issues with him. We will wait for the Supreme Court judgement. The Supreme Court is for everybody not just for Wike.
“The fact that at one time or the other Wike (himself) said that I am the most competent person to lead this party that alone is enough for me not to join issues with him on some of the issues that he has raised in the media against me.
“In the organs of the PDP, there is nothing like former ministers’ forum. In the first place, it was not the former ministers that brought me to the level of becoming a national chairman. I became a national chairman through a due process, when the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party met.
“There were four other people who wanted to be the chairman at that time; so the issue of the party chairmanship was put into vote. I got 69 votes and the second in that election got only nine votes.
“If somebody just wakes up and makes a statement, like the case of Governor Ayo Fayose who said that he is speaking on behalf of PDP Governor’s Forum (PDPGF), it makes me start to wonder.
“For sure, I have spoken to a lot of governors in the party after the appeal court judgement, and all of them are thinking of how we can reposition the party and build the party so that we can go and have a credible national convention.
“So, I also do not want to join issues with governor Fayose and his statements. But what I want to say is that the PDP will come back. The PDP will be in the position of 1999 again. So, we are going on and making consultations all over Nigeria; putting everybody together so that we can go and do a convention and elect leaders who will run the party.
“In party leadership, you have to conduct a congress and go. But I don’t intend to run the tenure that was prescribed for me. Since there are arguments here and there, the best way is to settle the argument amicably.”