Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yobe State loyal to a former national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, have threatened to pull out of the PDP over alleged imposition of the state executive committee by its national working committee.
The members also said Mr Sheriff remains their leader and would decide their next political direction.
They made this declaration on Sunday at a press conference in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, after their faction led by Lawan Karasuwa and a former minister of finance, Yerima Ngama, held a closed door meeting that lasted several hours.
The meeting was in reaction to a federal high court judgment in Abuja on Thursday dismissing their challenge of the legitimacy of the state executive committee.
The Karasuwa-led committee came into force during the reign of Mr Sheriff. But when the former Borno State governor was removed from office as national chairman by the Supreme Court, his successor, Mr Makarfi, ordered composition of fresh state working committees.
But the Karasuwa-led committee contended that it was not duly dissolved before a new state working committee was “imposed” on the state.
The current executive committee led by Sani Nguru, a former chairman of APC in Yobe State, is believed to be loyal to a former minister of police affairs, Adamu Waziri, a serial governorship candidate of the party in Yobe.
Following the court ruling in favoru of Mr. Waziri’s faction, the aggrieved members vowed never again to be in the same party with the former minister whom they blamed for the 20 years woes of the PDP in Yobe State.
They also foreclosed any dialogue or truce with Mr. Waziri.
Though the group did not clearly state its next direction, it was learnt from multiple sources at the meeting that it was concluded they will be joining the ruling APC.
Yermima Ngama, a former Managing Director of First Bank, read the resolution of the meeting during the press conference.
“Since its inception in 1998, the PDP was well received in Yobe state”, he said. “In 1999 when the local government elections were conducted, PDP won in ten local government areas in Yobe state out of the 17 local governments.
“Unfortunately since that time our fortune continued to dwindle and we were unable to clinch the leadership in Yobe State, because the party has been in one crisis or the other up till today. And this is basically because of selfishness of some certain persons, and also the selfishness of some national party leaders who decided to pitch camp with those individuals.
“The history of crisis, rancour, anti-party activities, failures has been our plight. With all this, fingers have been pointing towards one direction of people who believe that things must always be their way. They would never follow anybody and everybody has to follow them. And that crisis has continued till this day.
“During my leadership as minister of finance from Yobe state, I did everything within my reach to bring together the three factions that I inherited – the Adamu Waziri faction, Senator Albishir faction and the neutral group; and we were able to conduct a well accepted congress in 2012.
“However, immediately the national leadership crisis set in in 2014, the then national chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, who is well known for his impunity, unilaterally dissolved our Exco in Yobe State, and set up a so-called caretaker committee, and we lost the general election.
“After that, the party went into several crisis and Ali Modu Sheriff came in to salvage this party. Under the leadership of Senator Sheriff, because all the tenure of excos had expired, a new round of congress was conducted and the one in Yobe state was held successfully, but towards the end, some group withdrew because they don’t like the result that came out of the Yobe congress. Since then, the party was divided.
“The coming in of Senator Ahmed Makarfi also saw a further division within the party where by some 90 percent of PDP members in Yobe State who were loyal to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff were disenfranchised. It was interesting to note that in other states, Makarfi dissolved their Excos before he ordered for fresh elections, but in our own, we didn’t even have that recognition. He unilaterally asked Adamu Waziri to form his own Exco.
“Given that crisis the entire membership of PDP met in Karasuwa town of Yobe state where we reviewed everything about the party from 1999 to that time and resolved that there is only one way for PDP as a party to succeed and to even attracting other people to join it, before thinking of forming state government.
“An and to do that we have to take a far-reaching decision which we now call the Karasuwa declaration – which is, we as party members will never, ever have anything to do with Alhaji Adamu Maziri and his group. With that Karasuwa declaration, our leader, Senator Muhammed Dambu, advised us to go to court to challenge the existence of two excos in one state.
“And last Thursday the court gave its own judgment. Though the judgment came to us as very funny and surprising, after a careful examination of the ruling, we found out that what the judge told us was true because any political crisis can only be judged in accordance to what is contained in the constitution of the party.
“So if the party has a defective constitution, the judge can only judge on the basis of that defective constitution. So the presiding judge ruled that the state executive council under the leadership of Lawan Gana karasuwa was properly constituted and were properly sworn in and they were properly given certificate of return. With that, the PDP in Yobe state has been handed over to Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri who controlled less than ten percent of the membership of the party.
“So what we did here today is to review all that happened to the party, and in doing that we have all the members of the state Exco under Lawan Gana Karasuwa, we have party chairmen from the 17 local government areas of Yobe state and their Exco, we other stake holders and we have communicated with other stakeholders who have not been able to make it here to tell them about our resolution which they endorsed and have given us permission to speak on their behalf.
“And the resolution we reached is as follows:-
That all the stakeholders have agreed to stand by the earlier Karasuwa declaration that we will no work with Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri and his faction; also we will never get involved in anything that has to do with Adamu Maina Waziri; that is to say even if by tomorrow, the exco calls for a reconciliation with Adamu Maina Waziri, we will not go.
“We also resolved to support our leader, Senator Muhammed Danbu, to pursue further legal action to appeal on the decision of the federal high court and we have asked him to pursue it until we reach the Supreme court.
“However, we have also resolved that we have unanimously and without any reservation handed over our political future to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, we will, without any hesitation, automatically abide by any directive given to us by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff concerning our political future. Whatever he says, that is what we are going to do”.
The chairman of the PDP in the state, Mr Nguru, did not immediately respond to several calls to his mobile phone. But when he eventually picked, he said he would only speak at a later time as he was busy.