PDP CRISIS: MIMIKO IN SECRET TALKS WITH SHERIFF
• Governors split again
• Sheriff calls stakeholders meeting this week
Fear-stricken governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are beginning to worm back to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff after a Federal High Court on Thursday declared him the authentic chairman of the party.
Hours after the court’s ruling, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State held a secret meeting with Sheriff in Abuja, although some other PDP governors remain opposed to Sheriff leading the party.
Some members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the PDP have also made a U- turn to woo Sheriff who is said to be disposed to convening a stakeholders meeting later this week.
The Nation gathered that Governor Mimiko met with Sheriff on Thursday night in Abuja as part of the effort to “move the party forward.”
Sources said Mimiko’s action was predicated on the fact that he needed Sheriff, who has been recognized by the court as the authentic chair of the party, to push the candidature of his (Mimiko’s) choice, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) for the state governorship election later in the year.
Mimiko, sources said, pledged loyalty to Sheriff, but canvassed reconciliation in the party.
A top source said, “The meeting was a follow up to the decision of the court that Sheriff is the authentic chairman of the party.
“It was secret but fruitful. Don’t forget that Mimiko is also the outgoing chairman of the PDP Governors Forum.
“In all honesty, the governor also spoke on how to keep the party united.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “Mimiko actually said he will abide by the Rule of Law on the crisis in the party.
“You know Ondo chapter of the PDP will soon hold its governorship primaries. He does not want the crisis in the party to have spiral effect on the choice of candidate in Ondo as the case with Edo State.”
A separate source said PDP governors have broken into two camps on account of the court ruling.
Queuing behind Sheriff are the governors of Taraba, Gombe, Enugu, Cross River, and Ondo.
Those against are those of Rivers, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Delta, Abia, Akwa Ibom
The governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, has thrown himself into the job of reconciling the two factions.
A party stalwart said: “We are experiencing a division among our governors because of the ruling of the court. Some are insisting that the party should abide by the rule of law and engage Sheriff.
“Some of the governors said the party should save itself from Sheriff by going through the legal battle from the lower court to the Supreme Court.
“But Governor Dickson is preaching dialogue and reconciliation to both sides because the time element is important for PDP. We need to put our house in order before the 2019 poll.
“If Sheriff sticks to his mandate till 2018, we will be divided and shall remain unprepared for the next election. Alternatively, most of our leaders will leave the party.
“Even members of the BOT, who should resolve the crisis, have broken into camps. Some BOT members are now with Sheriff.”
There were indications last night that Sheriff might convene a stakeholders meeting this week with a view to reconciling with all those opposed to him.
Another party leader said: “Sheriff is already waving the olive branch. He will call a stakeholders meeting next (this) week to reunite the leaders of the party.”
Justice Okon Abang on Thursday declared Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of PDP.
He declared the judgment of the Port-Harcourt division which recognised the Makarfi-led caretaker committee as “unlawful, illegal and without foundation in law to stand.”
He said: “The Makarfi-led caretaker committee, as an apostle of impunity missed their way to Port Harcourt to get a judgment; that judgment cannot stand.
“The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court cannot make an order to neutralise the effectiveness and potency of orders of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.
“As at the time the Makarfi-led committed found their way to the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court, the orders of the Lagos division of the court was still subsisting.
“The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court therefore has no business to have dabbled into the issues of PDP leadership in the light of the subsisting orders issued in Lagos by a court of competent jurisdiction.”