A former commissioner in Delta state, Ken Okolugbo, has said that governors of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) led by Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state have been exhibiting characters that are unbecoming of leaders and as such, having negative effects on ordinary members of the party.
He stated this when he addressed the media in Lagos over the leadership imbroglio rocking the party as a result of the Appeal Court judgement that affirmed Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman.
Okolugbo said that members of the party have had enough of the PDP governors manipulating the people in line with their personal whims and caprices, stressing that their actions following the ruling of the appellate court impugned the integrity of the judiciary.
He wondered why the PDP governors will turn around and want to kick out Sheriff from the PDP, after they forcefully foisted him on party members – a majority of whom initially rejected Sheriff’s candidacy for the office of national chairman of the party.
The erstwhile commissioner vowed that the Delta state chapter of the PDP will fight to finish in ensuring that internal democracy and respect for the rule of law is entrenched in the party at all levels.
Okolugbo described the Ahmed Makarfi stakeholders’ meeting that was hosted by governor Fayose as an illegality and a meeting of egos that ought not to have occurred, because the Makarfi faction has not obtained the necessary court injunction that will authorize it to continue acting as national caretaker committee despite the Appeal Court ruling.
He further said that the only way out of the leadership mess in the PDP is to organize a national convention of the party so that national officers who will run the party will be democratically elected.
Okolugbo said: “Governors Fayose and Wike, whom we do have a lot of respect for are going to start making us disrespect them very soon. I won’t start from now because governor Fayose has been a strong voice for the party but I am quite disappointed.
“Governor Fayose had told the media that Bode George approached him for the national chairmanship position of the party but he turned him down, and insisted it had to be Sheriff. He even gave us reason why it must be Sheriff.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel was the one that zoned the chairmanship of the party to the North-East even when we were crying that since the 2019 presidential candidate was going to come from the North, we wanted the Chairmanship to come from the South-South.
“Then it was convenient for governors Fayose and Mimiko to take the chairmanship away from the South-West even when Buruji Kashamu was crying out loud that this chairmanship should come to the South-West.
“What are my sayings? We have had enough of these governors pushing us to the left; when they want, and pushing us to the right; when they want.
“It is a pity I am from Delta state and it is going to be fight to finish in Delta state for some of us because we must position the PDP back. We are not interested in removing our governor. No! What we are interested in is ensuring that the party is democratized and having the party back to where it was in 1999.
“The governors are our leaders, I am not going to dispute that but Fayose is the chairman of the governors’ forum, and when he takes the microphone and impugns on the integrity of the judiciary when he says ‘There is no Sheriff! There is no Sheriff!!’
“Why will some members of the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party brand Sheriff a mole in the PDP? Was it not governors Wike and Fayose that brought him into the race? So how will both governors be used by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make Sheriff a mole? We kicked against it initially, but we have seen that Senator Sheriff is genuine in trying to entrench internal democracy in the PDP.
“If you find a situation where you cannot dictate to a man, the best you can do is to join him, if you can’t beat him.
“You call for a stakeholders meeting at the International Conference Centre without an injunction yet what that means is that Sheriff is still the national chairman of the party. Why will you go and call a meeting of the organs of the party. The only person that can call a meeting of the PDP is Ali Modu Sheriff.
“The meeting Monday is a meeting of egos. There was no point having that meeting. First, the meeting was very provocative. After the Appeal Court judgement, you cannot start calling a meeting of all the organs of the party at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. That is clearly illegal.
“The only way we can resolve this matter is what Sheriff has said. Let us all come together, go into a convention, and elect a national chairman and officers of the party that will run the party. Why are they afraid of doing that?
“The other time, people were nominated from both factions and they thwarted it. We cannot continue like this. We are not going to leave the PDP. We will remain in the party and take back the party.
“Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has actually given an olive branch to Makarfi faction. He has waved it to the other group and said; ‘I am not ready to continue as the chairman of this party. I want to organize a convention that will produce party national executives that would be democratically
“Ali Modu Sheriff stands as a hope for Nigerians who are just ordinary members of the party. He stands as a hope for those who have been circumvented, who have been excluded by the Makarfi group. Those who have been made to be like on-lookers, because they think that you cannot pander to their wishes. That is what Ali Modu Sheriff represents. It goes beyond him as a person.
“If Sheriff loses in the Supreme Court, we will still all go into a convention because Makarfi is a contraption. Nobody is saying we cannot work with Makarfi. Makarfi is a great man. He is a gentleman but we want the truth which is exactly what these governors do not want accept. How many of them now? They are in the minority now because a lot of them are speaking to Sheriff now.”